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Four Questions to Ask to Choose the Ideal Qualified Technology Partner for your RIA Firm

There are a variety of reasons why Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firms should hire a Qualified Technology Partner (QTP) to outsource and manage their IT needs. Deep technical expertise, expanded resources, and the ability to outsource so you can focus on your core business are just a few.

But once you have decided to outsource your technology management, how do you choose the best QTP for your firm? Here are four questions to ask when evaluating potential technology partners.

  1. What operating standards do they use?

Every QTP has a form of operating standards that they use to protect and manage their clients’ networks. These standards outline detailed practices for IT service management that focus on aligning IT services with the needs of business and provide you with a system of measurement to evaluate the quality of service you receive.

There are a variety of information technology operating standards with the most common being NIST, SANS, and ITIL. It doesn’t matter which ones a potential technology partner uses, as long as they do adhere to some form of Information Technology standards. So, ask which standards they use to measure themselves from a quality standpoint.

 

  1. How well do they know and can support your business?

Another follow up question to ask is how well do they understand your business and the additional RIA industry specific standards. RIA firms need to meet a variety of compliance standards regulated by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), especially regarding cybersecurity and data protection. After all, protecting your clients’ money and your own internal data is mission critical.

The SEC regularly conducts audits or Cybersecurity Exams with RIA firms and the fines for non-compliance can be devastating. In fact, the SEC has published 6 areas of focus for their Cybersecurity Exams that your QTP must understand to be able to provide the reporting necessary to demonstrate your compliance. You don’t want to be fined because your QTP can’t or didn’t provide the mandated reports.

That is why we specialize in serving RIA firms only. We have a deep expertise in the challenges RIA firms face from SEC compliance mandates, cybersecurity threats, mobile workforces, and even disaster recovery situations. Our technology management solutions are designed specifically to protect RIA firms from cyber threats, SEC audits, and business continuity.

 

  1. How well do they keep up on the RIA technology landscape?

Information technology, networking, cybersecurity and RIA specific software applications are constantly changing. This is a key reason many firms outsource their technology management – it is so hard to dedicate the time to stay up-to-date on the latest innovations, applications, standards, and best practices. Your QTP should be an expert on all of this, so you don’t have to. Ask them what RIA specific events they attend to stay up to date on RIA industry challenges and solutions, like Schwab IMPACT, TD LINC, T3, and other RIA industry events.

 

  1. Can they act as an overall technology advisor?

Your QTP should also act as a technology advisor – giving you insight into what other RIA firms are doing with phone systems, service providers, software applications, cloud infrastructure, and giving you a holistic approach to technology and the tech roadmap to support your business over time.

You should be able to leverage your technology partner’s expertise to help take your firm to the next level with technology recommendations that will not only assist in streamlining operations, but also in helping you serve customers more efficiently to help you grow.

 

Have any questions on how to choose the right Qualified Technology Partner for your RIA firm? Give us a call at 224-563-3602 and we will be happy to answer any general questions you have on outsourcing your technology management or more specifically about our RIA focused solutions.

 

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