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Assessing Custodians: My Way Along the Road

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It seems as though there’s a lot of interest in custodians, so I thought I’d write a little more about my decision to join Trade PMR. First, I’d like to say that my former custodian, Fidelity, is a fine company. I have nothing bad to say about Fidelity. Even though I was leaving, its service never faltered. Whenever I’ve spoken to them on the phone, they are extremely courteous and helpful. Again, my decision to change was solely due to their corporate decision to raise their minimum AUM requirement. In general, they did this because they determined that advisors under this level of assets were unprofitable. To further explain, it was many of these advisors who called in by phone instead of utilizing Fidelity’s technology to get service. The result was that it took more man hours which increased expenses. In any event, that’s water under the bridge now. Let’s move on to TradePMR, my new custodian.

What made the difference in my decision? I like a great deal about what TradePMR offers. Its technology is excellent on a number of fronts. Seems the firm has an ex-Microsoft whiz at the helm of its development, and I have been very impressed with his ability.

TradePMR just launched a new platform called E-Custody. It is an integrated Web-based system for advisors. Like any new system, though, there were a few small issues, such as pop-up windows that were too small. However, whenever I found a bug of some sort, TradePMR corrected it immediately.

The firm’s service people are very responsive. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that TradePMR is clearly interested in what its advisors have to say. Unlike many large firms, this company listens to its advisors and that’s one trait that makes a good company. It’s very refreshing.

I also looked at TD Ameritrade, Scottrade, and Shareholders Service Group. TD was a bit more impersonal and had an AUM minimum. Scottrade had a much smaller number of mutual funds available, though its transaction fees were the lowest. Shareholders Service Group ran a close second to TradePMR (at least in my view). I have the utmost respect for the people I spoke with at Shareholders. They were very accommodating, but in the end, TradePMR was my choice. Neither Scottrade, Shareholders Service Group, nor TradePMR had an AUM minimum.

If you are looking for a new custodian, I suggest you speak to several to find the one best suited to your business. If you need additional information, just ask. I would be glad to help.


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