Trust Options: Series & Standalone

Series Trusts | Standalone Trusts | Trust Reorganizations | Comparison of Trust Structures

All mutual funds must register with the SEC in a shared (series) trust or in a standalone trust format.

Series Trusts

A series trust is typically designed for investment managers – large or small – who want to start their own mutual funds or ETFs without the complexities associated with organizing a proprietary trust.

A series trust enables investment managers to bring mutual funds to market in an efficient and cost-effective manner. This type of “shared” trust is composed of independent funds, all managed by separate investment advisers. Your fund is branded and marketed under your guidelines, pursuant to regulatory requirements, and shares some costs with other funds in the trust, easing your financial and operational burdens of running a fund.

Specifically, series trusts offer advantages that may not be achievable through a standalone trust, including:

  • Access to trust level selling agreements, if applicable.
  • Increased efficiencies, as funds in the trust share directors/trustees, chief compliance officers, and other officers as required by the SEC.
  • Reduced operating costs, as the group of funds have economies of scale in obtaining the services of auditors, fund counsel, insurance, legal, trustees, blue sky, and more.
  • The ability to attract qualified board members who possess the expertise to provide proper board compliance and oversight.
  • Freedom for you to focus on portfolio and relationship management.
The Series Trust Structure

Ultimus offers access to multiple series trusts, giving you several options to meet your needs. If you are looking to start a fund family or want more control over your trust structure, a standalone trust may be more appropriate. Contact us to learn more about both.

Standalone Trust

Some investment managers, particularly those who are looking to establish a family of funds, may find that a proprietary legal entity, a “standalone trust,” best fits their needs. While a standalone trust may cost more initially because of the additional formation costs, it may provide greater long-term flexibility and control.

Your mutual funds are the only funds in a standalone trust, and you are very involved in the selection of the initial board of trustees and fund officers. You can play a key role or ask our assistance in negotiating contracts with professional service providers, such as fund counsel, auditors, and custodians, and you or the funds are responsible for all costs for your trust. Ultimus will use our extensive experience and access our multitude of partnerships to help you form your own board of trustees and align all other services the trust needs.

The Standalone Trust Structure

Trust Reorganization

As your fund matures or your business plan changes, you may find that you need a different approach to your trust organization. You may need a more sophisticated or consultative approach than you’re getting through your fund’s current arrangement. Thus, a move to a different trust or structure may be prudent. Ultimus can help. We specialize in helping you improve the business model for your existing registered fund through conversions from:

  • Standalone trust to standalone trust
  • Series trust to series trust
  • Series trust to standalone trust
  • Standalone trust to series trust
A Comparison of Trust Structures
Control/EstablishmentGoverned by an established/existing Board of Trustees and Officers, as well as pre-selected Fund Counsel.Governed by a Board of Trustees and Officers that the client selects.
Creation Timelines4-5 months6-9 months
Creation CostsFees are normally paid by the adviser, not the fund. Likely a lower cost than standalone due to negotiated agreements.Variable based on service provider selection. Fees are normally paid by the adviser, not the fund.
Operational CostsFunds/advisers share trust fees with other entities in the trust, taking advantage of scale and efficiencies of the shared structure.Funds/advisers are solely responsible for the fees associated with the trust.
Adviser PreferenceA cost effective and time efficient way for advisers looking to launch a mutual fund.Typically preferred by advisers looking to start a family of funds or wanting involvement in board selection/participation.
SEC Review75 daysVariable, no set time
15C Process and ApprovalYesYes

Deciding between the series trust model and the standalone trust model is an important decision that Ultimus can help you work through. Regardless of your selection, we will be there to provide appropriate resources and guidance throughout the entire process.

Please contact us to learn more about trust structures, to start a mutual fund or ETF, or to convert an existing fund to Ultimus.

Want More?

Ultimus sponsors several series trusts for investment managers who want to launch a mutual fund, or multiple funds, without the cost and complexity associated with organizing a proprietary trust.

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DISCLOSURE: Information contained on this website is based on public data, historical agreements and dialogue with intermediaries. Such information represents our current understanding of the described platforms and the costs associated with them. In many cases, such costs may be negotiable. All pricing and fee information is subject to change without notice.

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