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The Agile Financial Planner

Nov 11, 2019

Are you worried about the trend toward free trading fees among custodians? It seems that custodians are in a race to the bottom. Many have now cust the costs of their transactions to zero. That’s great from the clients’ perspective, but what does that mean for you and me? How will the custodians make their money? And what’s next for financial advisors? These are the questions we will explore on this episode of Financial Planner Freedom. If this race to the bottom is beginning to concern you, you’ll want to listen in as we explore what zero transaction fees will look like for financial planners. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:32] What do zero transaction fees mean for you and me? 
  • [4:26] How will custodians make up for lost revenue?
  • [7:12] Too many advisors aren’t working hard enough for their clients
  • [8:36] Why has there been an uptick in 401K lawsuits?

So, now that they have free trading fees, how will custodians make money?

Custodians are truly in a race to the bottom with many of them adopting the zero transaction fee model. TD Ameritrade is reportedly going to lose $900M a year from these free transactions. So how will they make their money? Perhaps they will make some money on cash management. They may be betting that interest rates go up, but haven’t we all been betting on that for years? They could make money on order flow by selling the flow of transactions. Or they could begin selling their own products like ETF’s. 

Will custodians look to financial planners to make up for lost revenue?

So far the race to the bottom with fees has not really hit us yet. Unfortunately, I think custodians will begin looking in all directions to recoup some of their lost revenue. They may begin to expect us to pay more basis points. They could also begin up charging us for services like CRM’s. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter! Email me, start a conversation with me on Twitter, or leave me a voicemail question by using the button at the bottom of the page at

What does the race to the bottom mean for financial planners?

Too many advisors aren’t working hard enough for their clients which actually leaves us with an opportunity. Now is the opportunity to sing for our dinner. We don’t need to take part in this race to the bottom. Our clients will now be evaluating us to see whether we are providing value. That makes it imperative that we be able to articulate our value to our clients. We’ll need to deliver that value to clients on a consistent and ongoing basis. The beauty is that we can control our own value. Are you prepared to demonstrate your value to your clients?

The upswing in 401K lawsuits demonstrate how we need to reveal our value

Have you noticed the uptick in 401K lawsuits? Employees are beginning to sue the fiduciaries of their 401K’s. These lawsuits are on the rise because clients don’t see the value they receive. In this world of free transactions, we need to be able to demonstrate our value consistently. Agile financial planning is more important than ever. Over the next few episodes, I’ll help you learn why you need to use agile financial planning in your practice and how to demonstrate your value to your clients.

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