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Custodians Offer More Trust Services to BDs and RIAs

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In an earlier version of this story, we reported that National Advisors Trust was making its services available on Schwab Advisor Services’ platform. Schwab informed us that was not the case-Ed.

In separate announcements this week, National Advisors Trust and Pershing announced that they were enhancing their trust platforms to help advisors better retain and manage client assets.

At its 2012 National Advisors Trust annual conference in Washington, the RIA-owned trust company announced that trust administration services will now be available on the large custody platforms at Fidelity and TD Ameritrade, in addition to the services offered on National Advisors’ proprietary custody platform, AdvisorDesk.

Pershing, a BNY Mellon company, announced that it has further enhanced its Trust Network with the additions of BOK Financial and Independent Trust Co. of America. Trust Network is Pershing’s open-architecture platform that allows broker-dealers and independent RIAs to offer their clients a range of personal trust services and solutions from trust companies.

Earlier in August, Genworth Financial Trust Co. 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.

Custodian Trend

These platform enhancements from National Advisors, Pershing and Genworth all highlight a new custodian trend: helping advisors retain trust assets by offering them easy access to powerful custody platforms.

“The RIA business model typically involves utilization of multiple custodian platforms in the management of their clients’ portfolios,” said Ron Ferguson, CEO of National Advisors Trust, in a statement. “Providing ‘custody platform of choice’ trust administration services on Fidelity and TD Ameritrade or National Advisors Trust makes it easy for our advisor firms to manage their trust accounts on any of those platforms.”

Ferguson noted that this is a departure from the practice held by National Advisors Trust for most of its 11-year history of requiring custody of trust accounts on its proprietary platform. National Advisors is a federally chartered trust company with more than $7.5 billion of assets under administration referred by more than 135 RIA firms around the country. 

‘A Clear Advantage’

“The ability for the RIA to choose the trust custody platform that is most convenient for the RIA has been a desire held by many of our firms for a long time,” Ferguson said of National Advisors Trust. “Clearly, this is a bit more work for the trust company, but it provides a clear advantage and flexibility to the RIA firm.”

Launched in 2008, Pershing’s Trust Network capabilities include full trustee services and administrative trustee services. The platform lets Pershing’s customers perform investment management activities for clients’ trust accounts with all related assets held in custody at Pershing. Trust Network is available to Pershing’s introducing broker-dealer customers through Pershing and RIAs via Pershing’s affiliate, Pershing Advisor Solutions.

“Because trusts are among the most important wealth management tools, it remains crucial that advisors continue to have the flexibility to offer the trust administration that is specific to client requirements,” said Tom Sholes, head of product management and development for Pershing, in a statement. “The additions of BOK Financial and Independent Trust Co. of America not only further enhance our platform of solutions, but also demonstrate our continued commitment to providing our customers with the widest array of choices to serve their clients and grow their businesses.”

BOK Financial is a $26 billion regional financial services company based in Tulsa, Okla. Advisor trust services are offered through its national bank affiliate, BOKF NA, which works nationwide with more than 125 trust officers and provides personalized trust services. Independent Trust Co. of America, which has a South Dakota charter, was founded by Santa Fe Trust, one of the first trust companies to work with financial advisors.

Read BOK Financial Acquires The Milestone Group at AdvisorOne.