Edwards firmly believes that Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions is the only custodian that can handle his business.
‘We chose to take what we call a best-of-breed approach, where we take the best custodian, the best customer relationship management system, the best financial planning tool and the best reporting tool,’ Edwards said. ‘We aggressively evaluate all of our vendors every three years and swap them out if they’re not keeping up.’
Before moving to a single custodian, Edwards used Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Merrill Lynch, Everen Capital, and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. The latter was acquired by Credit Suisse in August 2000. For new firms making their first selection, Edwards stressed the importance of being confident that the custodian will still be around in 10 years’ time.
Edwards chose Fidelity back in 1999, when he decided that the multi-custodian format was no longer his best option. ‘Back then, our strategies were so much simpler, and we could be much more casual about our vendors,’ he said. ‘In today’s technology-based world, everything has to work perfectly.’ At Heron, custodial data flows through multiple systems. If the firm added other custodians, it would have to test and replicate all of those integrations in each instance.