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What is a TAMP and how does it help?

Tom Bateman
What is a TAMP and how does it help?


How can a Turnkey Asset Management Program save time and propel your business?


It’s hard keeping up with all the offerings for FinancialAdvisors, what with most of the time you have in a day being spent on admin and preparing for client meetings. Most advisors aren’t spending their 5 minutes between meetings figuring out what’s on offer or ways to automate their work load. So how do you grow the business if you don’t have time to, well, grow the business.

What if there was a way to buy back some of your time, automate trading and back-office tasks, and add asset allocation built on active research?



Turnkey Asset Management Programs or a ‘TAMP’, is a way to access investment research, model portfolios, and automate the trading of your clients’ assets through technology delegates asset management and research to an RIA that specializes in those areas. Not every financial advisor dreamed of being a researcher or a administrator when they got into this business and the client interaction expertise is what makes advisors unique. Having a tool like a TAMP that frees advisors to focus on their skillset and grow their client base while also delivering on their fiduciary obligations is worth a quick read. This isn’t a comprehensive look at every in and out of this type of program, but it’ll get you up to speed pretty quick. TAMPs are a fee-based service, typically a bps calculation depending on the model portfolios selected, and available for financial advisers, broker-dealers, insurance companies, banks, law firms, and CPA firms to oversee their clients’ investment accounts. You may have heard of the types of firms that offer TAMPs, such as Envestnet, SEI, AssetMark, Brinker Capital, Orion and so on. When you decide to offload some of the back-office tasks and outsource your investment research to an RIA offering a TAMP, you’re agreeing to hand over some of the decision making process by selecting the model portfolios that fit your clients’ needs the most while also paying a fee for that service.


When you take off your asset-manager-hat and delegate the work of trading, investment research, and portfolio construction, you’re saying yes to putting the time it takes to perform those responsibilities back in your day. Research indicates that advisors spend between 25-28 hours per week with clients1 with another 17-19 hours spent on preparing1 for those meetings and various back-office tasks. That leaves 7-12 hours for new business development1 each week so long as you’re already working around 50-60 hours a week. There’s no way of knowing what type of time you’d get back from using a TAMP, but you’re all very familiar with how much time you’re spending on tasks you could outsource. This doesn’t include the benefits of partnering with a firm that delivers industry-leading market research or model portfolios with investment strategies built on that research. Oh and the TAMPs take care of the trade administration, billing, and reporting too.



If you decide to use a TAMP, you take some of the weight off your shoulders and your team. Let’s say you have a client that is looking for a different strategy, or there’s an underperforming year for a model portfolio and you decide to make a switch – you have the option and speed to make that shift by selecting from the portfolios available to you on the TAMP.


Investors are getting younger, and their heirs are getting younger, which means they’re telling mom and dad all about new technology and what they should expect from you as their financial advisor. That means that there’s a growing expectation to be able to answer to incorporating some of the offerings available to financial professionals. Incorporating a TAMP in your tech lineup means you’re accessing the expertise of firms that are usually nearer the front of the technology pack.


Since you’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-50% of your time spent each week preparing for client meetings, it’s possible you don’t have the time you want to look at your client accounts with the level of care and personalization you want. TAMPs put hours back in your day, which puts time back into your planning, which puts care back into your relationships, which puts affinity back into your clients, and (hopefully) puts referrals back into your voicemails. Advisors who outsource investment management report stronger client relationships (83%), higher acquisition of new clients (74%), and increased client retention (82%).2


You need a growth plan, sure. But what you need is time to execute and the resources to deliver on that plan. Firms with a comprehensive TAMPs are dedicated to supporting advisors in more ways than just automating trades – this could mean new value propositions, marketing support, or even joining client meetings to help explain what the TAMP does. Think of TAMPs as a partner in focusing on your clients so that you can focus on scaling sustainably.


Last, but in no way is this is the least, is the ability to be gone from your office – on a plan, in a meeting, on a vacation that you probably need – and not have to worry about missing trade signals or reallocating client assets. This also leads right into planning for your succession. TAMPs offer disciplined and repeatable processes that can help your practice grow, increase its valuation, and retain institutional knowledge with you in the office or not. They will never replace the immense personal one-on-one value you bring your clients, but it may offer some protection in your absence or help prepare you to transition out of the business permanently.


Well, that depends on the TAMP you pick, but you can expect to see sub-advisor fees ranging somewhere from 0.45% and 2.5% 3 depending on the depth of services offered – from simple trading and billing automation to full suites including marketing support to business development  It’s pretty common for those fees to get passed along to the client, especially in cases where the TAMP proves to be a high performing investment strategy for the advisory firm, but each advisor’s firm is unique in how they handle this.


There’s no easy way to go about this – there’s a number of excellent TAMPs to pick from. Of course, we’d be foolish not to throw our hat in the ring, especially since our STARHIP TAMP has over 70 model portfolios with some 50 of those being actively managed with an obsession on minimizing the downside during bear markets. That said, you’ll need to look at what works best for your firm, your cost appetite, the custodian limitations, and other firm-specific factors.

Primary sources:

1. Michael Kitces, “How Do Financial Advisors Actually Spend Their Time And The Limitations Of Productivity?”, 3/18/19,


3. U.S. News and World Report. "What Is a TAMP and How to Choose One,"

Other sources:

Tom Bateman

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