Since National Advisors Trust launched their Trust Representative Office (TRO) program in 2009, twenty RIA firms have embraced the private label TRO program and are in various stages of implementation. As a result, National Advisors Trust has established private label trust brands in over a dozen states.
The TRO program is a turnkey, referral marketing program, specifically designed to help participating RIA firms grow their trust and wealth management business by generating referrals from Centers of Influence (CoI) within their local markets. As a trust company dedicated to working with RIA firms, National Advisors Trust has a high level of commitment to the TRO program. The TRO program is central to the Trust Company’s strategy to assist RIA firms who have, or desire to have, a trust focus. The TRO program positions and differentiates RIAs as local trust services providers, and assists them in creating awareness and stimulating client referrals with a marketing program customized to each RIAs’ market and unique needs. TRO Registered Investment Advisor Firms Below is an example of how several National Advisors Trust RIAs are successfully implementing the TRO program, employing unique strategies that best fit their markets.
Tom Burkhart, CEO, President and Chairman of The Savant Group, markets trust services under the banner of “Savant Trust Services.” The Savant Group has leveraged the TRO program to gain a substantial number of in-person, one-on-one meetings with estate planning professionals in San Francisco and surrounding markets. As a result, Savant Group has held more meetings with estate planning attorneys in the 12 months since they started the TRO program, than they previously did in their entire history.
Giles Almond, principal at Matrix Wealth Advisors in Charlotte, NC, has combined the TRO program with a monthly lunchtime seminar they hold for attorneys and CPAs in the area. The seminar is an audio presentation featuring nationally known estate planning speakers provided by selected Continuing Legal Education (CLE) sponsors. Matrix uses this program to introduce their firm to CoI and believes it is a key element in positioning their firm as THE trust savvy RIA in the Charlotte area.
Bob Thompson, President and principal consultant at Sage Financial Design, leverages the monthly TRO newsletter to specifically target estate planning professionals. Shortly after issuing his first few newsletters, Bob was contacted by an attorney he had never met but who was on Bob’s newsletter mailing address. After receiving the newsletters, the attorney called to refer one of his clients.
Moneta Group recently launched the TRO program and is using the private label branding option to market trust services as “Moneta Trust”. Gene Diederich, CEO of Moneta Group, is leveraging the TRO program to increase awareness of its trust services with local CoI and generate new client referrals.Why TRO
A majority of RIAs acquire new business through referrals from existing clients. However, RIAs tell us they would also like to receive client referrals from local CoI, such as CPAs and estate planning attorneys, who have influential relationships with their high net worth clients. RIA’s acknowledge that this is a challenge because they don’t have the required time or capacity to launch and sustain a consistent and effective marketing campaign necessary to generate awareness with CoI and obtain new referrals. It is always an added challenge to simply differentiate their RIA practice from the other RIAs in the same market.
The TRO program solves those challenges with a turnkey referral marketing program that positions RIAs as trust focused, differentiates their firms from other RIAs, and offers compelling trust services to CoI. About the TRO
The TRO’s comprehensive marketing program helps build an RIA’s expertise in trust planning, expands their multi-generational estate planning business, and increases assets under management through high quality referrals generated from CoI.
The TRO equips participating RIA firms with basic trust knowledge and training, market positioning, and a referral marketing campaign that defines and expresses their differentiated, value-added practice to CoI. The TRO program includes trust focused training for at least one designated “Trust Representative,” but many participating firms choose to train more than one person on the basics of trusts, as well as how to work with National Advisors Trust. National Advisors Trust also provides ongoing trust education and training through its Trust Education program.
National Advisors Trust provides two basic branding options for the TRO program:
· Using the National Advisors Trust branding, TRO marketing materials carry the look and feel of National Advisors Trust. The design template allows RIAs to customize materials with a description of their firm, contact information, and other RIA news and information. In this case the RIA becomes a Trust Representative Office of National Advisors Trust.
· A private label branding option is also available and it provides RIAs with the opportunity to create a marketing name including the word “Trust” or “Trust Services” or “Private Trust” incorporated with their brand. For example, an RIA named “Superior Asset Management LLC” could create a marketing name of “Superior Trust” or “Superior Private Trust” or another similar marketing name.
The TRO marketing program is tailored to fit the practices of each individual firm. In many cases it becomes the RIA’s entire marketing program, with their identity applied to all components of the program.
National Advisors Trust helps RIAs with development of TRO materials and creation and management of a high value “trickle marketing campaign” focusing on CoI.
TRO customizable marketing materials include: a brochure outlining the services of the RIA as a Trust Representative; updated lists of targeted estate planning attorneys and other CoI in their market; invitations and presentation support for CoI targeted events; support for holding CoI focused webinars, seminars and CLE level education programs at the RIA’s location; press releases and press release templates; monthly newsletters targeting CoI; a library of presentation slides and web content regarding trust related services; and additional marketing support as needed.
Tying the TRO program together is a TRO Study Group that typically meets via a conference call at least monthly and also convenes face to face a couple of times each year. The focus of the group is to share best practices, discuss successes and challenges and to provide feedback to National Advisors Trust. This tends to be a very well attended conference call with active participation and information exchange. Benefits of the TRO Program
With the TRO program and its integrated trust marketing solution, RIAs can market and deliver trust and wealth management services on a local basis under their own branded solution.
RIAs are able to focus on developing relationships with CoI, generate new referrals, and provide services and support to new high net worth clients, while National Advisors Trust does the marketing program ground work, back-office and trust administration work.
Several participating RIA firms did not have a strong trust focus prior to starting the TRO program. With TRO, they have differentiated themselves with local CoI, integrated ongoing business strategies with TRO, increased awareness of their practice, and generated new client referrals. Participating RIAs consider the TRO program to be the best pure marketing strategy for developing their overall wealth management business.
About National Advisors Trust Company
National Advisors Trust Company, FSB is the largest independent trust company in the US market owned by RIA firms. National Advisors Trust is a nationally chartered federal savings bank authorized to do business in all 50 states. As an independent trust company, created by the client’s trusted advisor, the Trust Company’s primary responsibility is to ensure the safekeeping of investment assets.
National Advisors Trust Company was created by RIAs for RIAs. Over 80 RIA firms came together approximately 10 years ago to form a trust company that was RIA-friendly, non-competitive to RIAs, and included the RIA as an integral part of delivering the trust solution to the client. The total number of shareholder firms has increased by more than 50% to over 130 RIAs since the company was founded in 2001. Assets under administration have increased to over $6 billion with the shareholder RIA firms’ assets under management (AUM) on a collective basis exceeding $100 billion.
The Trust Company’s broad range of trust and custody services are uniquely designed and positioned for clients of an RIA. In addition to trust and custody services, National Advisors Trust also provides a number of services including: an advanced, multi-custodian investment management platform; trust accounting services; referral marketing programs; trust education programs; practice management programs; economies of scale; and other related services to advance the success of participating RIA firms.
National Advisors Trust supports a uniquely transparent structure that enhances safety and soundness over other trust and custody options. By law, client assets are segregated from the capital assets of National Advisors Trust and are not subject to potential creditor claims against the Trust Company. National Advisors Trust does not take deposits and does not make loans; it is therefore not subject to the risks that a trust company owned by a commercial bank with loan problems may have. The Trust Company’s capital and insurance is additive to the capital and insurance of its primary sub-custodian, Fidelity Investments. National Advisors Trust is regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) and is a member FDIC.