There is a common misconception about the security of an investors’ money when it is trusted to a private firm. People often ask, “what happens to my money if your investment firm goes bankrupt?”
Our answer to that is easy: meet our custodians.
Custodians are what boutique planning and investment firms like TriDelta Investment Counsel use to hold their client’s money. For example, we hold or custody our client’s money at TD Waterhouse Institutional Services, part of the TD Financial Group, and National Bank Correspondent Network, part of National Bank of Canada. Both of which happen to be on Bloomberg’s list of the strongest banks in the world so you know your money is safe.
Our relationship with them is simple: we have total independence from them in terms of investment management, but our clients’ assets are effectively held with one of the largest financial institutions in Canada. If something happens to our firm, the clients’ money is still as safe at those institutions as if they were working directly with TD Waterhouse from the beginning. Their accounts are either transferred directly or a cheque is written out to National Bank.
Custody of Assets
It is very important to remember that if you trust someone with an investment cheque that is not written out to one of the most stable firms in the world, you are putting yourself at some risk. If that entity shuts down, likely so does your money.
This doesn’t mean investing in such things as a private company or a private mortgage fund or some other real estate deal is a bad investment. It simply means you have to work significantly harder on understanding the investment and its risks before investing, and there is a higher risk of your money disappearing.
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Ted Rechtshaffen is president and CEO of TriDelta Financial, a firm that provides independent financial planning and investment advice. This article was originally published in the Financial Post.