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Practice Management > Compensation and Fees

There Is No Perfect Custodian, but . . .

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This past week I received a couple of phone calls from advisors who were seeking an unbiased opinion about my custodian, TradePMR. Although I’ve written about this in past blogs, I thought it might be good to consolidate a few of my thoughts in a single posting. From fees to product offerings to service, I hope this information will help answer any questions you may have.

First, there is no such thing as the perfect custodian.

For a custodian to be perfect, it would have to satisfy every need of every advisor. Since advisors’ needs vary, this is both impractical as well as impossible. Although some custodians may be a better fit for some advisors there is no “perfect” fit. Finally, my comments will obviously stem from my own point of view.

One of the questions I fielded this week was, “If you had to do it all over again would you have chosen TradePMR?” My answer is “Yes.” Sure I’ve had a few frustrations, but I’m very satisfied with my choice.


TradePMR doesn’t “nickel and dime you to death.” In fact, its fees are reasonable (actually some of the fees charged are assessed by their clearing firm). Its trading fees are in the middle of the pack and its annual IRA fee is not excessive. Outside of those fees, every other fee is for something to which I choose to subscribe such as performance reporting, account aggregation, or streaming quotes.


High-quality service is critical. If a custodian drops the ball, it can reflect poorly on you. How well does it handle requests? How long does it take to resolve issues? In my experience, Trade has provided consistent, high-quality service. The firm’s desire to help is without question.

Fee Deduction

There is one glitch here. For example, I have a client with three separate accounts. Trade’s system will calculate the fee for each individual account and add them together. Instead, it should add the value of each individual account and calculate the fee on aggregate balance (at the lower percentage). I’m sure this will be resolved in time. Submitted fees are credited to our sundry account the following day.


TradePMR have over 12,000 mutual funds, paperless applications, a modern technological platform for advisors and, of course, client online viewing.

If you’d like to hear more, please let me know and I’ll go into more detail next week. And let me know about your experiences with your custodian(s).

Thanks for reading!


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