The tools and technology required to launch a new RIA firm can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned financial advisors. With so many options covering different aspects of the business, understanding exactly which tools you need is the first step in any successful launch.


Let’s take a look at nine of the most common tools that a new RIA should seriously consider.

Custodian

So why focus on scaling? For one, it helps you serve more clients while maintaining a reasonable work schedule.

One of the essential tools for any financial advisor is a custodian to take care of your client assets and execute and settle your trades. This is an absolute requirement for any new firm.

The primary differentiators to consider here are the commissions charged versus the limitations placed on your operations in exchange for those fees. To learn more about RIA custodians and what to look for when choosing a custodian, check out this article from our CCO, Mazi Bahadori.


Performance Reporting

The next tool that a new financial advisor needs is RIA performance reporting software. Your clients won’t understand what a fantastic job you’ve done if you can’t show them, making RIA performance reporting a vital component of any successful RIA launch.


Fee Billing

Regardless of how well your investments perform, your firm won’t be financially successful if you cannot bill your clients correctly. You will need to acquire software that can calculate and collect fees from your clients while following all of the SEC rules and regulations.


Client Portal

Having a portal set up for clients to access their accounts, transfer funds, and view their holdings used to be a luxury offering, but features like this are expected across the board today, so you will need to put together some version of a portal for your clients.


Trading Portal

If you do not have an integrated solution, you will need a way to identify client holdings, reconcile them with your portfolio strategies, and rebalance them accordingly. You might initially think this could be done without additional tools, but anyone with experience advising clients will understand that having the technology in place to automate will make this much simpler.


Risk Analysis

Every financial analyst knows that the first rule of investing is to avoid losing money at all costs. New financial advisors should employ some level of technology to analyze the amount of risk they take on in client portfolios. In many cases, this software will point out ways to achieve similar returns with much lower risk.

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Like any service operation, your RIA firm will depend on developing deep relationships with clients. Maintaining a CRM database will be essential to keeping track of those relationships over the years, so start your firm off on the right foot by investing in a reputable option.

There are many choices here, but software like Wealthbox built specifically for financial advisors might offer more upside than a standard CRM product like Salesforce.


Document Retention / Archiving

Every financial advisor firm needs to be concerned with compliance and having all the correct documents in place is a critical component of managing your compliance issues. In many cases, your compliance consultant will suggest an archiving service like Smarsh, Global Relay, or Box.


Financial Planning Tool

Having a basic financial planning tool is also required technology for any new RIA. Simple tools like Google Sheets or Excel can work fine if you are proficient in using them, but there are also many software vendors to choose from here.


No matter how much experience you have in the financial advising space, forming an RIA from the ground up is daunting. Locking in these 9 categories of tools for financial advisors will drastically increase your odds of success. It’s crucial that you make sure each of these bases are covered before you launch.