Building your business with trusts

Wealth Solutions

Building your business with trusts

In 1981, financial advisor David Yvars landed his first job at a wirehouse, equipped with nothing more than a desk and a phone.

Like other advisors, he started cold-calling prospective clients, but soon caught on to two important factors:

  • First, clients with the most money were frequently beneficiaries of trusts and estates.
  • Second, those clients came through trust and estate administration attorneys.

So David got smart: He called trust and estate attorneys instead. In his words, “I call it marketing to the tree branches, not the leaves. Each successful relationship led to many clients.”

By cultivating relationships with attorneys in some of Manhattan’s largest trust and estate law firms, David built a business model that continues to deliver without a hard sell. Plus, the attorneys provide additional expertise to guide clients through all the intricacies of crafting trust documents. Now, David has built a highly lucrative book of business providing portfolio management services for large trusts and their beneficiaries.

That success led to him establishing his own firm, the David J. Yvars Group, a registered investment advisory (RIA) firm  that utilizes the clearing and custodial services of Raymond James and is based in Valhalla, New York. While he relishes the independence afforded by his firm’s relationship with Raymond James, his highest praise goes to its trust company.

“Raymond James Trust offers the purest form of a corporate fiduciary – handling trust administration and tax filings – but allowing the financial advisor to truly customize portfolios for families that are beneficiaries of the trust,” he explains. “Basically, they provide oversight in the background, and let me do my job.”

David says investment management for trusts is a little different than your typical portfolio. “You must be prudent, well-diversified,” he advises. “But you also have to adhere to the wording of the trust document and the trustee’s objectives, and balance that with the best interests of the beneficiaries and the true intent of the trust.”

Build a base

It turns out, the more trusts you manage, the more exposure you have to potential clients. For example, a large religious organization with two $4 million trusts came in through a referral and both accounts were transferred to Raymond James Trust. Once David proved himself as an excellent portfolio manager and Raymond James Trust a responsive service provider, leaders of the organization decided to transfer another trust under his management … and another.

David learned early on to lay the right foundation to build referrals, and the lesson has paid off. These days, he is especially enthusiastic about the trust company’s TrustMatters newsletter geared toward building relationships with centers of influence. “It’s a great way to reach out to trust and estate attorneys to let them know what we offer.”

In short, David emphasizes that marketing trust services to trust and estate attorneys can be an efficient conduit to reach potentially hundreds of prospective clients at once, instead of one client at a time. 

Tips to build your trust business

  1. Work smarter, not harder
  2. Cultivate relationships with estate and trust attorneys
  3. Rely on the strengths of RJ Trust as a partner
  4. Supplement your knowledge with expert advice
  5. Lay the foundation for repeat referrals

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