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<p>LAS VEGAS – Can CUSOs win the “big elephant” trust services accounts that firms like Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch accrue? Yes, says one expert, but only if they’re willing to examine and make some changes to their trust services business model. “The reason why Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch can charge what they do is because they’re better articulators of the value of their services and offerings,” Dan Arnold told a group of attendees at NACUSO’s 20002 Annual Conference who attended his session on “Trust Services: Exploring Alternative Models.” Arnold is from financial services provider UVEST, based in Charlotte, N.C., a provider of third-party brokerage, insurance, trust, cash management and mortgage services. He is a CPA and holds Series 7, 24 and 63 licenses. Few attendees at the session said they were currently offering trust services, but several by a show of hands indicated they were looking into the service because of members’ demands for guidance with estate planning, transfer of wealth strategies, asset management capabilities, and settlement of estate services. The keys to success for any trust services program, said Arnold, is great customer experience – consultative value, products and services, high standard of service – and profitability – ability to grow the top line, pricing of service, cost management. “To grow the top line and bring in more assets, you have to go out in front of prospective clients, present your solutions, close the business and grow the assets. The trust officer typically does this but only spends 5% of their time on this. You need someone in the trust department who has sales aptitude and is dedicated to growing the top line,” he said. “CUSOs already have the people and resources available, either someone internal or in their broker/dealer partnership. Most CUSOs haven’t tapped into those resources, they’re underutilized,” he added. Instead of creating a trust department “because it’s an expensive structure and difficult to make work,” Arnold said CUSOs should leverage their investment reps and “teach them to go up market and build wealth management strategies.” -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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