Meet the “Sturdy 30” Advisor-Friendly Trust Companies for 2014

Administrators who can work with with the advisors who control account referrals are bigger and stronger than those who don’t. Our new guide reveals who they are and how to find them.

[caption id="attachment_12671" align="alignright" width="281"] Click cover to download the free 2014 guide.[/caption]

Most people outside the captive world of bank trust departments have an intuitive sense that cooperation is good for business. It’s why we talk about things like partnerships, teamwork and synergies.

But until now, there wasn’t much hard evidence to back up the feeling.

Thanks to the numbers in the just-released 2014 America’s Most Advisor-Friendly Trust Companies guide (free download HERE), we now have that evidence.

Trust companies that go out of their way to work with advisors instead of trying to squeeze them out of their own relationships tend to be bigger than companies that don’t.

As a result, we’re calling the 2014 guide the “Sturdy 30” to reflect the relative heft their balance sheets reveal.

“Advisor-friendly” isn’t just a fringe business any more. If these companies are any benchmark, working with you is becoming the new mainstream.

Bigger than average, good to go

This year, we had to limit the pool of contenders for advisor-friendly status to the 30 companies that made the strongest effort to cater to outside advisors.

That often means giving up all in-house wealth management in order to ensure that they’re not fighting you for oversight of client assets that pass into trusts.

If they do have their own wealth managers, there’s a firm understanding that accounts you bring them remain in your domain.

You and your clients decide who manages the money, how to invest it and where the associated fees go.

Nobody will call your clients trying to pull their non-trust assets away from you. Instead, their people are busy working with you to build your business – and, in theory, help you both attract more accounts.

Either way, the business model has taken root and now the average trust company that makes the grade claims a hefty $14 billion under administration.

To put that number in context, very few of the trust companies that Bernard Garbo over at Trust Updates tracks can report even $10 billion in fiduciary assets.

Barely 60 entities across the industry have as much money flowing through their platforms as the average advisor-friendly firm we profiled for this report.

This is not to say we only looked at giants. Our universe still contains plenty of up-and-coming start-ups with innovative technology and lean service models, and we definitely didn’t want to waste your time talking about the trillion-dollar heavyweights.

Besides, many of the biggest firms out there are notorious for trying to steal advisor assets once they get a trust account in their system. Think of the reputation Glenmede and Bessemer have in the industry.

But for the advisor-friendly underdogs to add up to $14 billion apiece -- $445 billion all together, or half a trillion dollars – proves that the “innovative” wisdom of sharing and teamwork is actually getting some traction.

In all, the Sturdy 30 work with nearly 17,000 advisors, so this is a broad-based trend we’re looking at here.

Your real competitors – other advisors – are already working with these companies. And the amount of assets they’re referring is impressive.

If each of those 17,000 advisors has identified $26 million in client assets that need to move into trust, we’re looking at some deep relationships here.

To give you the widest range of choices available, we’ve made sure to include companies in the Sturdy 30 that can take ultra-high-net-worth accounts north of $7.5 million as well as those that cater to more mass-market $100,000 households.

As always, the key players are distributed in all the most attractive trust jurisdictions: Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and South Dakota as well as many other states, each of which provides its own set of unique advantages and frills.

Likewise, each of the companies we profile brings its own proposition to the table. Some have been working with innovative technology to streamline their own operations and offer your clients access to whatever exotic investments you care to work with.

Others have invested in in-house experts to work with real estate, intellectual property and other assets you might not be set up to manage directly on anything like a cost-effective basis.

Culture is always intangible, but we’ve worked hard to present a mix of operating environments in the hope that at least one or two will resonate with you and your clients.

We have relative giants running hundreds of billions of dollars under the advisor-friendly banner. And we have true boutiques where your client will feel privileged as part of an elite 50-60 accounts on the platform.

What else is new?

We’ve also expanded the background material in this year’s report to focus on the difference between delegated and directed trusts and provide some guidance on how to sell either or both types of account to your clients.

Technology is a huge differentiator for a lot of these companies as they fight the giants in their space, so we’ve also provided a few notes on that front.

But once again, all of this is background designed to give you the tools you need to identify the right fit for your clients and make the right calls.

The profiles are the meat of the 2014 guide and should justify the book’s presence on your desktop for the next 12 months.

And if you want help making the calls, the Trust Concierge can provide live and complimentary guidance at 800.781.6670.

As a group, these companies are more successful than any of us dreamed three years ago.

The process of letting them share that success starts when you download the guide HERE.


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