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Here are 9 must-have tools for financial advisors

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 that cover different aspects of an advisor’s business, where do you start? 

Key Takeaways from this article:

  • RIAs need a custodian. Custodians are responsible for safeguarding client assets and performing essential brokerage tasks. Some custodial platforms are also providing additional services and advanced brokerage capabilities.  
  • When assembling your tech stack, keep your clients in mind. How will they interact with the RIA software, or how will you use these tools to help them and your firm?
  • Altruist provides advisors with a robust custodial solution to run their business and serve their clients.

Let’s take a look at nine of the most commonly used software for RIAs:


Every new RIA must have a custodian, and choosing the right one is your most critical decision.  Financial advisors need a custodian to take care of their clients' assets and execute and settle their trades, but not all custodians are the same.

When choosing a custodian, there are a few primary considerations: access, AUM minimums, available products, customer support, digital experiences, automation, cost, and client experience–just to name a few. 

Check out this article from our CCO, Mazi Bahadori. He covers everything you need to know before selecting a custodian, including a list of questions to ask.

Performance Reporting

Financial advisors need performance reporting software (aka portfolio reporting software) to show clients how their portfolios are doing over time. With this tool, advisors can discuss objectives and needs with their clients throughout their relationship.

In other words, it helps you showcase how you work for them. It’s a vital component of any successful RIA launch.  At Altruist, portfolio reporting is free for the first 100 accounts (only $1 per account after that).*

Fee Billing Software

This one is important for billing your clients correctly. Altruist offers billing software that lets advisors create custom fee schedules for recurring and one-off payments. You can calculate and collect fees from your clients while following all the SEC rules and regulations.

Client Portal

Client portal software allows clients to access their accounts, transfer funds, and view their holdings, and cost basis. This may vary depending on your chosen provider, so be sure to find the right one to fit your clients’ needs.

Trading Software

If you do not have an integrated solution, you’ll need tools to identify client holdings, reconcile them with your portfolio strategies, and rebalance them accordingly. If you have experience advising clients, you'll know that automating the process will simplify it.

To learn more about automating parts of your firm, check out this article by our Head of Investments, Adam Grealish.

Risk Analysis

A risk analysis tool can help match portfolio construction with client risk tolerances. New financial advisors should employ some technology to analyze the amount of risk they take in client portfolios.

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Part of an RIA’s success is developing a solid working relationship with its clients. To do this, you need a place to keep track of your progress throughout your relationship. 

Altruist makes it easy by offering a tech collection for advisors featuring Wealthbox. Why do we like Wealthbox? It was explicitly built for financial advisors and offers more upside than a standard CRM product like Salesforce.

Software for Document Retention / Archiving

Every RIA needs to be concerned with compliance and having all the correct documents in place is critical to managing your compliance program. 

Your compliance consultant will often suggest an archiving service like Smarsh, Global Relay, or Box.

Financial Planning Software

Basic financial planning software is also required for any new RIA. Google sheets or Excel are good options if you are a proficient user. If you’re not comfortable using those tools, there are plenty of software vendors on the market.

No matter how much experience you have in the financial advising industry, forming an RIA from the ground up is daunting. Locking in these 9 financial advisor tools can significantly increase your odds of success.

At Altruist

At Altruist, we strive to make independent financial advice better, more accessible, and more affordable. We’ve combined many of the tech listed here at a great price. Our custody solution gives back precious time and capital to RIAs, so you can focus on what matters most: your clients and business.

On one intuitive, integrated platform, advisors can open and fund accounts, trade and rebalance, report, and bill, at a fraction of today’s edging-ever-higher technology costs.

Our dedicated customer support team ensures a smooth transition and exceptional ongoing service for new firms, existing firms, and advisors planning to make the leap from their wirehouse. 

We can help you streamline operations, reduce overhead, and improve the client experience. To book a call, contact us today. True independence awaits.

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*First 100 client accounts free and just $1/account each month after refers to Altruist’s Portfolio Accounting Software (PAS) only. Keep in mind, other brokerage fees may apply on your client's assets. Please see the Brokerage Fee Schedule and Subscription Pricing on to learn more.

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