April 2019 Articulate

TradePMR: A Dedication to Customers, Employees and Community Service

Written By: By Tracy Wright, Photography by erica Brough and courtesy of TradePMR

When Robb Baldwin, CEO and founder of TradePMR, began as a registered investment advisor (RIA) 22 years ago, there were fewer than 1,000 RIAs in the country. In those days, as Baldwin likes to say, “You couldn’t Google ‘How to Start an RIA.’” At the time, serving clients by gathering financial information and generating reports was a time-consuming and cumbersome “labor of love.” Very few technology tools existed that could streamline an advisor’s work flow.

Baldwin was determined to change this. Although he did not have any background in technology, he began his journey to help advisors find their true independence by providing the highest and best technology and service in the industry.

An RIA is an advisor or firm engaged in the investment advisory business and registered either with the Securities and Exchange Commission or state securities authorities.

RIAs have a fiduciary duty to their clients, meaning they must always place their clients’ best interests ahead of their own, disclose any potential conflicts of interests and maximize an investor’s welfare rather than their compensation.

Baldwin founded TradePMR more than 20 years ago in Gainesville as a firm specifically designed for RIAs. The process required him to get 10 different licenses from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, file applications with the SEC and pass an interview, which took him nearly a year. Although it was almost seven years before the business saw a profit and Baldwin could pay himself, he was dedicated to the company’s mission.

Through personal sacrifice, hard work and determination, TradePMR is now a successful, thriving business that serves more than 700 advisors across the country and employs more than 75 people at its Gainesville headquarters.

“I embrace hard work and believe it to be the deciding factor between being good and being great,” Baldwin said. “The only way to succeed is to work hard, set goals, meet those goals and then set new goals. That is why it is our mission to provide the absolute highest level of support and service to help independent financial advisors reach their goals.”

The firm designed its first workstation called Fusion, a desktop advisor workstation specifically for RIAs. It has continued to evolve its technology with the feedback of thousands of RIAs, resulting in extremely intuitive software designed for these professionals’ specific needs.

Earlier this year, the Fusion technology platform was voted the No. 1 custody platform in advisor satisfaction in an industry survey.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to know that the technology business I created for RIAs more than 20 years ago is now serving advisors’ needs at a higher rate of satisfaction than some of our larger, better-known competitors,” Baldwin said.

Since 1998, TradePMR has focused on combining exceptional service with a truly innovative, industry-leading technology platform. The objective is to improve workflow, increase margins and bring new levels of efficiency to the firm’s advisor clients, allowing them to focus more on their customers and less on back office infrastructure.

Besides having customers nationwide, TradePMR prides itself on offering white-glove service as a boutique service firm.

“Our customers do not talk to a call center or to strangers when they need support,” said Marketing Director Jennifer Dempsey. “We provide the highest level of service for our customers to meet their unique needs.”

One of the biggest competitive advantages TradePMR has over other firms is that Baldwin has been a financial advisor and understands advisors’ pain points. No two advisory offices are alike, and TradePMR’s technology caters to an advisor’s needs, as well as their unique approach to work, life and serving clients.

TradePMR is constantly improving its platforms based upon user feedback. Not only does TradePMR regularly survey its own advisors to find out how these platforms can be made more intuitive and helpful, but it surveys advisors who use other technology platforms as well.

Over the past year, TradePMR rolled out numerous enhancements to its Fusion platform that continue to enhance its goal of allowing advisors to accurately analyze client’s financial health and act upon client’s financial goals. The enhancements continue to improve the software platform and custodial services that are geared to advisor’s individual practice.

Its newest online platform, Earnwise, is designed to be a mobile complement to its Fusion platform, enabling advisors to manage client accounts while on-the-go. EarnWise’s online account opening and Robo solutions are another example of TradePMR continuing its efforts to deliver advisors a competitive advantage with its technology.

Beyond its services to customers, TradePMR is proud of its dedication to its employees and of being a growth-oriented organization. It recently earned a spot on the 2019 Best Places to Work in Financial Technology list assembled by SourceMedia and Best Companies Group. The list includes 50 companies that operate in and serve companies and consumers in a wide range of financial services. TradePMR was the only company in Gainesville and among only a handful in Florida named to the list.

TradePMR was recognized for its efforts to promote professional growth, personal connectivity and physical well-being. Most notably, the firm hosts an annual wellness fair that includes free blood work, chiropractic adjustments, massages and information on healthy eating. Each month, TradePMR hosts free team-building activities for its employees.

“I think as businesses like ours grow, it is often the case that the entrepreneur who founded the company finds it difficult to sort of ‘let go,’” said Rob Dilbone, managing director of TradePMR. “I’ve known Robb for nearly 30 years, and I have been impressed with the way he has empowered those around him, myself included, to help run the firm and guide it through the maturation process. It has not always been easy but having that kind of working relationship has been key for us.”

TradePMR’s growth-minded mission fosters a culture that invests in its employees through professional growth and personal health. The company’s Chief Operating Officer, R. Scott Victoria, began as an intern with TradePMR while a finance student at the University of Florida.

“After graduation, I was hired fulltime by TradePMR and was fortunate enough to find myself in a position to learn the ins and outs of the financial services industry from seasoned experts while continuing my education and earning my MBA — learning valuable leadership and management skills,” Victoria said. “Now as COO, it’s very rewarding for me to be able to pay that investment forward. I make it a point to go into the community and speak at university events with the goal of attracting motivated, trustworthy, talented individuals and bringing them up through the ranks; developing their skills while adding value to the company. Like many of our team members now, my story of continued professional development is testimony to how businesses can benefit when they develop talent from the community into their organization.”

Beyond its business mission, TradePMR is also a proud member of the Gainesville area community. To celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2018, TradePMR made the goal of organizing and participating in 20 service projects, all led and staffed by employees.

By the end of 2018, the company had exceeded its goal, performing service projects in 22 charitable and community service organizations including the Ronald McDonald House, Boys and Girls Club, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Lyrics for Life, Tyler’s Hope, National Alliance for Mental Illness-Gainesville and March for Babies.

“The 20-for-20 Initiative allowed TradePMR to extend our white-glove service mentality and this cultural point of pride to the communities in which we work and live,” Baldwin said. “I am inspired every day by the people with whom I work and the advisors TradePMR serves.”

In 2018, TradePMR built 31 custom technology features requested by advisors, including deeper integrations with industry service providers such as Orion, Black Diamond, DocuSign and Redtail. Advisor requests continue to drive the TradePMR roadmap, underpinned by its mission of dedication to its customers.

“As the RIA space grows, and more financial advisors are drawn to the idea of running their own business as a fiduciary and being truly independent, TradePMR will continue in our commitment to offer them the technology and support they need to be successful,” Baldwin said. 

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