SMArtX Advisory Solutions announced a partnership with TradePMR on Wednesday that will enable advisors using the custodial services platform to access SMArtX’s unified managed account technology.
That includes use of its model marketplace, automated rebalancing, tax harvester, cash management, billing and advisor-as-portfolio-manager tools.
“The bigger picture here is that it is opening and expanding the choices that advisors have at TradePMR,” said Scott Victoria, TradePMR’s chief operating officer.
He noted the firm already had a similar partnership with UMA technology provider Adhesion Wealth.
“We onboarded them [Adhesion] about a year ago and it has been great but advisors like to have choice, and now they have one,” he said.
SMArtX has built its own turnkey asset management platform and provides other firms access to its unified managed accounts.
Victoria also said because SMArtX is a subadvisory technology firm, TradePMR advisors will not have to repaper any accounts to use the platform or any of its automated processes.
This provides advisors access to sleeve-level accounting and SMArtX’s billing technology, called BillFiX.
“By no means are we trying to add every single provider or TAMP,” said Victoria.
While the move might generate more loyalty among the custodian’s approximately 400 advisory firms (TradePMR does not publish its AUM or exact number of advisory firms), it is unlikely to get them far in terms of new custody clients, according to Will Trout, director of wealth management at Javelin Strategy & Research.
“Custodial changes are not simple for RIAs—contracts have multi-year tie-ups—it’s easier to switch technology platforms and components than it is to switch custodians,” Trout said.
He said TradePMR might also expect to gain some advantages from SMArtX’s recent successes with Morningstar, including an investment of $30 million in a series D financing in May 2022. Morningstar had already partnered with SMArtX in November 2021 for use of its UMA technology.
“Most of the benefits here are probably really going to accrue to SMArtX,” said Trout, who added the move might lead to increased adoption of SMAs in the RIA space, particularly in regard to the use of direct indexing, which a lot of RIAs are still resistant to, often citing lack of client demand.
Asked about the possibilities of access to direct indexing, Victoria said there were no specific plans along those lines and that his firm had seen only a handful of inquiries about the technology.
“We are keeping an open mind, we’re open architecture and we already have a relationship with Morningstar for Office, and for providing data,” Victoria said.
SMArtX announced in April it had added 54 strategies to its unified managed accounts platform, bringing the total available to 1,181 from 290 asset management firms.