RIA Custodians Section Sponsored by:  

RIA Custodians

Asset custodians are the central players in the RIA business and choosing one is the biggest decision most financial advisors will make to build their business. As the place where RIAs park their assets (the same way a captive broker would park assets at Merrill Lynch or UBS), custodians serve hundreds or thousands of these registered investment advisors and make big investments in technology and service on their clients' behalf.

This section features a series of articles under the “Asset Custody Project” label that cover these companies in a way that keeps advisors abreast of their progress – both with journalistic commentary and a common set of data so that advisors can easily compare them. The articles look at the strengths, weaknesses and niche capabilities of these companies.

— Brooke Southall

Here are links to the profiles of custodians:

  • Equity Advisor Solutions
  • Apex Clearing
  • Raymond James
  • State Street
  • Ceros Financial
  • Fidelity
  • Pershing
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Scottrade
  • Schwab
  • TD Ameritrade
  • Trade-PMR
  • Trust Company of America
  • BNY Mellon
  • Folio Institutional
  • Shareholders Service Group
  • National Advisors Trust
  • US Bank
  • If you want a more chronological look at news about the custodians, just scroll down.


    Fidelity can only offer so much to a Gen X talent like Bob Oros

    Fidelity begins search for new RIA national sales manager as Bob Oros goes millennial, vacating a prized position

    The kids pioneered the mindset but now the Oroses of the world grab quality-of-work, make-a-difference opportunities that their experience allows them to command

    January 14, 2017 — 1:51 AM UTC by Brooke Southall

    Bob Oros occupies a sweet spot in the RIA ecosystem.

    For a few more days, anyway.

    He's the national sales and relationship manager for Fidelity's RIA custody business. He is also the designated head of the RIA portion of the $1.7-trillion Fidelity Clearing & ...

    5 Comments
    Peter Mallouk owns a $21-billion RIA already growing with organic ferocity. Then Tony Robbins shows up and whoosh.

    The 10 RIABiz stories advisors connected with most deeply in 2016 and how hubris and humility ran amok in this didn't-see-it-coming year

    How did Aequitas swamp CONCERT? Power outages at LPL, Cetera and Wealthfront? Adolescent robo problems? And was that Tony Robbins hawking his money book ... again?

    December 28, 2016 — 5:54 PM UTC by Dina Hampton

    Brooke's Note: Choosing which articles were of greatest interest to RIABiz readers in 2016 was easy because a Google robot  measures the final results of your reading output.  We then refresh your human memory about why the story was so irrestistible at the time. Big ...

    2 Comments
    Mike Durbin didn't know he'd end up as the eMoney CEO when he agreed to oversee its onboarding.

    Mike Durbin takes new RIA+ job at Fidelity after an unlooked-for two-year eMoney mission concludes

    After Abby Johnson had former RIA chief troubleshoot $250-million purchase, he comes back to stock shelves with robo and alt goodies

    December 8, 2016 — 12:08 AM UTC by Brooke Southall

    Brooke's Note: "Product" is almost a dirty word in the RIA business. It connotes something inert and laden with fees. Not a pretty picture. But products in the financial services realm are evolving and Fidelity suggests that is a reason why Mike Durbin ended up ...

    0 Comments
    Craig Gordon: I have seen significant advancements and a huge commitment by RBC.

    Once RBC's RIA face, Craig Gordon returns to the Minneapolis-based custodian psyched about City National purchase and NextCapital deal

    Gordon is betting his career on the premise that RBC has gotten its act together in the two years he was away

    November 28, 2016 — 8:58 PM UTC by Sarah O’Brien

    Brooke's Note: RBC has gone hot and cold on RIA custody business. Its interest seemed to reach a zenith in 2010 when it bought the old RIA custody unit of Bear Stearns from J.P. Morgan. Royal Bank of Canada is hustling to become an ...

    0 Comments
    If Ron Carson were to leave LPL, it would be in keeping with his talk about being the disrupter rather than the disruptee.

    Almost-confirmed reports had Ron Carson bolting LPL for Cetera as part of a $35-million shake-up of his RIA; 92 hours later the silence is deafening

    The $2.6-billion AUM defection by the LPL rep icon was widely reported, tacitly confirmed, then unconfirmed and remains in a cone of silence

    November 21, 2016 — 11:56 PM UTC by Janice Kirkel

    Brooke's Note: It is not unusual for stories to be leaked to those of us who cover the RIA and IBD beats. Typically, however, the tipster chooses one publication to bestow his or her inside information upon. In this case, however, the leaking was widespread. A whole ...

    0 Comments
    Citi's Bill Katz spoke out Thursday to quell rumors about Schwab buying LPL, but only with soft logic.

    Why the LPL-Schwab merger rumor making the rounds makes more sense the harder you look

    The Boston- and San Francisco-based companies each lead independent channels and redundancies are scarce

    November 18, 2016 — 1:15 AM UTC by Brooke Southall

    LPL Financial's shares leapt higher yet again Thursday to finish above $40, up from about $31 as recently as Nov. 3.

    This time, it had Chuck to thank.

    The Charles Schwab Corp. is the latest company rumored to be in the mix as a buyer ...

    1 Comment
    Walt Bettinger (with Bernie Clark): It’s fairly safe to say that most of the rest are available for the right check.

    As Bernie Clark and Walt Bettinger go on offense, LPL and Wells Fargo names get named and a B2C robo dry-up gets foretold at Schwab IMPACT in San Diego

    The Schwab CEO, buoyed by his robo, robust quarterly results and DOL fallout at competitors is on offense -- a state of being RIAs can relate to

    October 28, 2016 — 6:41 PM UTC by Guest Columnist Tim Welsh

    Brooke's Note: If you are Schwab Advisor Services, you are a giant e-commerce website backed by good call centers. In good years, your website brings in about half the bottom-line profits for The Charles Schwab Corp. But once a year you are zapped out of virtual ...

    2 Comments
    Brian Hamburger: None of the new rules, even the proposed ones, will be crippling to your business.

    Brian Hamburger plays the heavy on DOL rules at Ray Jay's national RIA event in St. Petersburg and goes light on fear-mongering

    The MarketCounsel CEO had good news as RJ's Bill Van Law let RIAs know that the Alex. Brown deal brings alternative investment choices, services for the UHNW market, new lending offerings and multicurrency capabilities

    October 10, 2016 — 6:41 PM UTC by Guest Columnist Anthea Penrose

    Brooke's Note: I have never hidden my hopes that a broker-dealer would go all-in on building an RIA custody unit. Good things might happen. We have seen more than a few mega-institutions that flirted with doing just, that including Merrill Lynch and RBC. Both firms are quiet as ...

    1 Comment
    Tom Kimberly: We heard consistent feedback about the need for greater portfolio flexibility.

    Betterment makes Goldman Sachs and Vanguard partners as it shifts into higher RIA gear

    With advisors demanding to get back in the driver's seat, the robo's RIA chief, Tom Kimberly goes for two big-name model portfolio strategists under the 'Betterment for Advisors' brand

    September 14, 2016 — 1:29 PM UTC by Brooke Southall

    Brooke's Note: We have been talking about 'convergence' in the financial advice business from the days when people first realized that Schwab was trying to become Merrill Lynch and vice-versa. Schwab is winning that war for the middle by mostly every measure. Now it looks like ...

    0 Comments
    Greg Vigrass: We're not incumbent on any system. That means we've got the ability to be far more flexible. We're like the plumbers.

    How custodians Folio Institutional and Equity Advisor Solutions keep on ticking -- Part 3 of 3

    Both custodians counter their peewee size by offering that something extra

    July 14, 2016 — 8:11 PM UTC by Lisa Shidler

    Brooke’s Note: Last but not least, we have Equity Advisor Solutions and Folio Institutional as micro-custodians that you might want to know about as your RIA custodian. See: The non-Big Four RIA custodians, no longer runts but stunted in growth, are applying tougher love ...

    1 Comment