Considering a switch from TD Ameritrade to Betterment for Advisors? Here's what you need to know.

The custodial landscape is changing. We’ve compiled answers to the most common questions we get from RIAs who are considering making the switch to Betterment for Advisors.

We've supported many RIAs considering moving their client accounts to Betterment for Advisors. Here are the most common questions we receive about making the transition.

How do I know if making a move is worth it?

The decision to migrate your practice and client accounts to a new custodian can be challenging. Evaluating if, and when, a switch is worthwhile often comes down to assessing a potential partner’s technology and service.

Betterment for Advisors’ custodial technology can make a big difference for small firms trying to scale efficiently. It can not only help you craft a better client experience, but it can free you up from routine, administrative tasks to focus on more high-value work.

Getting a feel for technology is relatively simple—advisors can request a demo to see most platforms' features in action. A custodial partner's approach to service, though, can be more challenging to nail down.

How can small RIAs evaluate a custodian's service model?

When considering different service models, think about who your support team will be and how easy it is to reach them. 

The support channels available to you should be aligned with your preferred way of doing business—whether it's for typical day-to-day inquiries, urgent requests, or more strategic discussions about how to grow your practice.

For many custodians, the definition of a "small RIA" seems to be getting bigger.* Our dedication to service for firms of all sizes sets us apart. We know that quality service makes all the difference for an independent advisor, regardless of their AUM or number of clients, so we intentionally built a support team that’s accessible for all. And because some questions are best addressed on the phone, you can reach a live person fast—our advisor servicing team aims to answer calls in under two minutes.**

Betterment for Advisors also prioritizes offering comprehensive support for firms, beyond transactional questions. Every firm on the Betterment for Advisors platform will partner with a dedicated relationship manager who serves as their go-to resource for training, 1-1 consulting, practice management questions, transition support, and more.

What does a transition to Betterment for Advisors look like?

Our vertically integrated technology aims to make the repapering process as seamless as possible via intelligent automation. You'll also have an experienced team on your side to help make the move easy. 

For each transition, we start by discussing your firm's current set-up, including client service model, current custodian(s), portfolios used, and your existing tech stack. This helps us understand the key pieces of the transition and any pain points or limitations we can help address.

From there, we'll work together to create an implementation plan that’s tailored to your firm. It will combine your unique situation with best practices gleaned from other transitions we’ve managed and tips about how to make the most of the Betterment for Advisors platform (so you can take full advantage of our billing tools, portfolio options, integrations, and more). The plan will also include an account migration strategy that considers your clients' current models and holdings (so they can benefit from features like our tax smart transition technology if needed).

Once the plan is in place and you know exactly what to expect, we'll hit the ground running.

How does Betterment for Advisors support RIAs through a transition?

Betterment for Advisors is dedicated to providing hands-on support. Your relationship manager will work with you on the entire process and be your go-to liasion for our in-house team. Throughout the transition you’ll have regular check-ins to monitor progress and address any questions.

White-glove transition support reduces the operational burden that typically comes with repapering, while reducing disruption to client service. Our team can help manage transitions for you from start to finish, from assistance in drafting client communications, to sending out client invites and ACATS requests on your behalf. 

Excellent support doesn't end with the transition. You will always have a dedicated relationship manager for practice management support and growth initiatives, as well as access to a fast, knowledgeable advisor support team for the day-to-day questions.

What type of firm is a good fit for Betterment for Advisors?

Betterment for Advisors works with independent RIAs of all sizes—especially those just breaking away or focused on scaling an already established practice. Because we have no AUM minimums, an efficient, scalable pricing model, and dedicated support for all firms, we are uniquely suited to partner with small-and-medium sized RIAs that are often overlooked by legacy custodians. 

What do all of our advisor partners have in common? They recognize the opportunity that automation can unlock for their business. Our cutting-edge technology helps planning-focused advisors create more operational efficiency, so they can cultivate stronger client relationships and take their businesses to the next level.

The efficiencies unlocked with Betterment for Advisors' technology enable our advisors to serve significantly more clients than at legacy custodians.

What is the experience like for my clients?

Simple. An easy, paperless client onboarding workflow differentiates Betterment for Advisors from legacy custodians and helps advisors impress clients from day one

With digital client onboarding, advisors can collect household signatures from clients on all new accounts in one simple, paperless package. From there, clients need only approve ACATS requests to transfer their assets to Betterment for Advisors. 

Your clients will have access to Betterment for Advisors' intuitive goals-based portal, which is  white-labeled for your firm. The platform is designed to be flexible for advisors, so you have the tools to manage tasks on behalf of your clients, but your clients will also have a variety of easy, self-directed tools within the portal. Tasks like updating their address or setting up an auto-deposit can be done with a few simple clicks.

How long has Betterment been around and what does the future look like?

Betterment launched in 2010 as a pioneer in the digital investing space. 13 years later, we are the largest independent digital advisor with over $38 billion in AUM. All client assets are protected with industry-standard insurance and rigorous account security.

Like many financial services companies, we've achieved scale and sustained growth by diversifying across three complementary lines of business: direct-to-consumer, Betterment for Advisors, and Betterment at Work

Betterment for Advisors has been doing things differently from the very beginning. How? By building an RIA custodian from the ground up.

Our status as an independent, vertically-integrated solution is vital. It has allowed us to create bleeding-edge automation and to own the user experience for advisors and investors from end to end. We remain committed to that independence.

The desire to do things differently also underpins Betterment's pricing. Instead of the traditional custodial model, we charge a transparent platform fee based on client assets that scales as your firm grows on the platform. This model is intentional—it allows us to work with RIAs of any size and offer every firm the quality, sustained support they need for the long term.

With recent consolidation in the RIA custody industry, advisors may feel their options are more limited today than in the past. We believe that there is a gap for small-and-medium sized RIAs when it comes to technology and service at legacy providers. And we're here to solve that.

What's next for the Betterment for Advisors platform?

Betterment for Advisors is the custodian of the future for planning-focused independent advisors. We have a culture of continuous iteration and are always looking to build tools that can make advisors’ lives easier—and help them deliver more value to clients.

Your feedback matters to us. As we're building an all-in-one solution where advisors can run their whole practice, we'll keep adding products and features that enable advisors to build the business they've always envisioned.

If you have input, questions, or something you'd like us to build, please let us know.

It's been a year of major change for the RIA custody space. Advisors who have been using TD are now tasked with repapering to a new custodian—and can choose to wait and see what happens, or move to a new provider on their terms.

Taking this opportunity to evaluate your options could mean alleviating pain in the short term, for both you and your clients. Moreover, you can move forward with a partner that may better support your long term success.

Ready to discuss making a switch? Book a call today