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Genworth Launches Trust Business for Indie Advisors

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Genworth Financial Trust Co. on Tuesday announced the launch of Trust Connections, a program designed to help independent advisors grow their businesses by giving them access to three trust companies that specialize in serving clients of independent advisors.

The three companies available through Genworth Financial Trust are Advisory Trust Co. of Delaware, Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware and Wealth Advisory Trust Co. of South Dakota. These services providers provide trust administration and can serve as a corporate trustee while allowing the advisor to manage investments and retain the primary relationship with clients.

Brad Wheeler, president of Genworth Financial Trust Company“We evaluated about 20 different trust companies, and these are the three that we felt really understand the activities performed by advisors and their clients,” said Brad Wheeler (left), president of Genworth Financial Trust Co., in a phone interview with AdvisorOne. “Traditionally, banks serve trust clients by acting as the trustee, but bank trust departments are not always the best financial advisors.”

Advisors often are concerned about losing their clients’ assets to corporate trustees. As a result, they seek relationships with corporate trustees who will support their primary relationship with clients. By capturing those trust assets when a corporate trustee is required, advisors can add value to their practice.

Genworth’s research on trends in household wealth show that trusts, which often exceed $1 million in assets, are an attractive source of growth for financial advisors. As for the three service providers joining Trust Connections, the program’s attraction is greater distribution and exposure to affluent clients.

“Advisors working with Genworth are a great fit with our approach,” said Michael Roberts, president of Reliance Trust Co. of Delaware, in a statement. “Our business is built on serving the clients of independent advisors with corporate trustee services and trust administration, all delivered in a way that enables the financial advisor to focus on the relationship and on investment management.” 

Assets are stickier over the life of a trust account, Wheeler said, estimating such an account’s life at 14 years versus only five years for the average lifespan of an individual asset account.

“This is a growth and a retention opportunity for advisors,” he said, noting that corporate trustees also may continue a working relationship with an advisor after a generational wealth transfer has occurred. Wheeler added that Trust Connections also is designed for high net worth clients, who continue to move toward independent financial advisors and away from bank trust departments because they’re unhappy with banks’ fees, service or investment performance.

Based in Pleasant Hill, Calif., Genworth Financial Trust is a subsidiary of Genworth Financial Inc. (GNW) and an affiliate of Genworth Financial Wealth Management. It is a custodian with more than $13 billion in assets, serving independent advisors using the Genworth Financial Wealth Management platform.