Managing the costs involved in starting your own RIA practice can be overwhelming. The toughest part is not knowing whether you’re spending too much on things like IT infrastructure. So we’ve compiled a list of the most essential IT components your RIA startup will need and the expected costs they entail. Check out the full details below, but expect something similar to the following:
- Physical IT infrastructure (switches, routers, firewalls, servers, etc) $5,000
- Staff laptops fully configured $2,000 each
- VoIP phone system $35 per user per month
- Microsoft licensing and comprehensive IT support $165 per user per month
If your RIA firm is looking for an IT support services firm to take care of your unique tech needs, this guide will equip you with the tools you need to find a competent firm that you can trust: The RIA’s Guide to IT Support Services and Fees.
IT infrastructure setup
Your IT infrastructure will be the backbone of your business and includes hardware and software necessary to meet your information management needs. While no two RIAs are exactly alike, all of them will have the essential components for IT service delivery, such as switches, routers, firewalls, servers, computers, and the assorted peripherals that ensure all the parts work together seamlessly.
Setting up the IT infrastructure for a small RIA can cost around $5,000. This includes assessments and infrastructure strategy by your IT provider, which aim to maximize the capabilities of your equipment and office layout.
It’s advisable for a RIA startup to provide staff with laptops, as most RIAs need to take their work out of office to meet with clients. These laptops need to be configured so that your IT team has complete control over each device, which is critical when recovering sensitive data from lost or stolen devices. It’s also useful for ensuring that data cannot be taken or tampered with by exiting employees and for building an audit trail in case information is needed in an investigation.
Laptops alone will set you back between $1,000 and $1,800 apiece, and their required software and configurations will push the total to between $1,700 and $2,500 per device.
A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system is an affordable but reliable phone service that your RIAs can use to connect with clients and colleagues alike. If you can, use VoIP from the start instead of using a traditional phone line first then switching to VoIP. Even if your RIA startup already has an analog phone system, you may still want to consider upgrading to a VoIP system.
VoIP brings a wider range of solutions than a standalone phone line. A VoIP telephony system can easily be integrated with a unified communications suite, so you can have your voice phone, teleconferencing, chat, and other communications tools in one place. Furthermore, using VoIP allows you to do away with the expensive recording and storage equipment you need to record calls.
A VoIP phone service costs only $35 per user per month — and that’s already with the full suite of services. This includes unlimited calls anywhere in the United States.
Licensing and support
Most RIAs with 5-25 employees operate on a Microsoft-based platform. You’ll require IT support to set up and manage that platform for you. And because the financial industry has stringent security, compliance, and data management requirements, it’s best to partner with an RIA-focused IT solutions provider. RIA-focused providers have a better understanding of how to configure hardware and software to meet the productivity and compliance needs of RIA firms. The support you get should include configuring your Microsoft subscription, day-to-day IT support via a helpdesk, compliance and security, and backup and recovery.
We offer an RIA WorkSpace’s Monthly Service Plan for $165 per user per month. This robust plan includes the workspace platform, Microsoft licensing, IT support and service, and more.
Make sure your RIA startup hits the ground running with IT support and services from RIA WorkSpace. Our comprehensive, RIA-focused services will surely meet your needs without hurting your budget. Contact us today for a FREE quote.