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No initial minimum AUM Custodians

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Feb 3, 2010 11:18 pm

I thought this would have been covered before, but my searches related to this don't seem to have much related results, so here goes the question.

I'm looking for an RIA asset custodian with lower costs (maintenance and trading), but as a Startup practice I won't meet the first year minimums. I do have a well laid out practice plan, however, with a well capitalized practice ready to hit the ground running soon.   Other than BrokersXpress (low costs, but no NTF trades and missing some features) and TradePMR (good setup, however higher trading costs and the maintenance fees I think will bother my clients), do I have any other options?
Feb 4, 2010 12:53 am

I should add too, as I know Fred reads this board that TradePMR has a bunch of other things going for it, particularly its stellar service and quality platform. TradePMR was almost automatic as a choice fee for me otherwise.

But the maintenance fees and the huge exit fee don’t have the “friendly for new clients” setup I’m looking for.

Feb 4, 2010 1:50 am


  Can you elaborate on TradePMR's "exit fee" and maintenance fees.  I didn't think their trading costs seemed out of line.
Feb 4, 2010 1:57 am

Sure thing. I’ll provide some examples:

- Trade Confirmation Fee - $2.50
- Annual IRA Maintenance Fee - $25
- IRA Closing / Transfer Out Fee - $150
- Transfer on Death Setup Fee - $50
- Equity/ETF Trade - $19.95
- Non-NTF Mutual Fund Trade - $19.95

- Trade Confirmation Fee - $0

Annual IRA Maintenance Fee - $0
IRA Closing / Transfer Out Fee - $50
Transfer on Death Setup Fee - $0
Equity/ETF Trade - $12.95
Non-NTF Mutual Fund Trade - $14.95

Feb 4, 2010 2:15 am

Got it.  I never saw the trade confirm fee.  That’s unusual.  The other fees are in the ballpark compared to many firms.  I think TradePMR is still far better (from what I’ve seen).

Feb 4, 2010 2:20 am

To an extent. The trade confirm fee, but also the TOD setup fee (??) is very rare and the IRA annual fee is definitely becoming much less common, and people are reminded multiple times a day in media that their are annual-fee free options available.

I’m obviously aware the annual management fees assessed by the Advisor exceed these, but there is something significant to be said for people having a feeling of the “nickel and dimed” effect.

Feb 4, 2010 2:47 am


  I totally agree with you.  I can't STAND the littel fees we charge.  I work at EDJ, and we have all the same stupid fees that the rest of the big firms have.  To me it's just an annoyance.  Yes, we don't charge some fees for larger clients in fee accounts (IRA, ticket charges, TOD, debit card, etc.), but all the transaction clients and smaller clients pay all that crap.  It's tough for the small custodians, though.  They don't collect any AUM fees (they don't really collect ANYTHING other than fees), so it's their lifeblood.  I think there is no excuse for captive B/D's (wires, etc.) to charge all those ridiculous fees. If I ever went RIA, and could manage to have a relatively small client base (say 150 clients or less), I would consider paying ALL fees and the client just pays ONE asset fee.  I could net it up to what I need, but there would be NO other charges.  It's maybe 5 Bips per client.  So maybe you average 110 Bips instead of 100 or 105 on your assets.  But you would feel better knowing that you don't have to have fee conversations.
Feb 4, 2010 6:09 am


Feb 4, 2010 1:55 pm

Check out Think Or Swim - no idea their fee breakdown though.

Feb 4, 2010 2:01 pm

I just have to ask…the name “TradePMR” is bad enough (IMHO), but WHY would you name your firm “Think or Swim”???  I just can’t imagine telling a client "Hey, I’m moving your stuff to “Think or Swim” ".

Feb 4, 2010 3:34 pm

That I have no idea.

  I think they are a subsidiary of TD Ameritrade - but that is just speculation.  I think your clients would be fine with the name after they receive their complimentary Think or Swim monkey for opening an account.
Feb 4, 2010 6:01 pm

Yup. Ameritrade bought Think or Swim.

Rydex (now Ceros Financial) used to take smaller RIA’s not sure about now. They clear through NFS so it is an easy move if you are at a b/d.

Feb 4, 2010 6:59 pm

Hi Everybody!  Is Trade-PMR the lowest in terms of ticket-charges around...nope.  if ticket-charges were the only thing concerning a client; no one would be at wirehouse firms anymore (imagine buying a 100 shares of IBM at a wirefirm!).  I'd factor in the cost of software like performance reporting, CRM, account aggregation and others too since we have developed these in-house at a much lower cost than buying from outside vendors -- OK, enough of the sales pitch!

And for those of you wondering, what does PMR stand for anyway...!!!  Portfolio Management Research.

Have a GREAT Day everybody!

Feb 4, 2010 7:20 pm

Thanks Fred.  I always wondered that!  Maybe they should just call the company…Portfolio Management Research!

  Still much better than "Think or Swim".  That just sounds like some kind of Tony Robbins seminar.   And I agree with the costs...your costs seem comparable to many firms, and there are some things you offer for free that cost money elsewhere.
May 3, 2010 4:06 pm

Is Trade PMR only available to US residents and advisors?

What about international clients/advisors?


May 21, 2010 4:06 am

Jay L -

In some instances we have been able to accomodate international clients and advisors.  Patriot Act rules as you know are quite stringent in this area and working with foreign citizens in far away lands is not our primary focus.  We're a U.S. Based firm and we'll continue to focus on the domestic market first (we still have a ways to go in terms of growth here in the U.S.) before we open up a custodian office in London (wouldn't that be nice!)