× FreshBooks App Logo
Official App
Free - Google Play
Get it
You're currently on our US site. Select your regional site here:

Employee Benefit Plans

  1. Payroll Deduction Plan
  2. Custodian
  3. ASO

Save Time Billing and Get Paid 2x Faster With FreshBooks

Try It Free ➝

Custodian: Definition & Meaning

Updated: April 27, 2023

In the world of finance, there are a number of safeguards that are put in place. This is to protect from a wide range of risks such as theft, fraud, or loss.

Banks that help to maintain these financial assets and reduce the chance of risks are known as financial custodians.

Read on as we learn more about these institutions, including how they work, and what their other uses are, and give you an example of a financial custodian.

List IconTable of Contents


    • Banks that maintain financial assets for safekeeping to reduce the risk of theft or loss are known as custodians.
    • Assets that investment advisors manage for their clients must have a custodian set up for them.
    • These assets can be kept in either physical or digital form in the modern day.

    What Is a Custodian?

    A custodian is a financial organization that stores customer securities in a safe location to guard against theft or loss. On behalf of their clients, the custodian may hold stocks or other assets in physical or electronic form.

    A custodian is otherwise known as a custodian bank. 

    Skip The Crash Course In Accounting

    What Is a Financial Custodian?

    An organization serving as a custodian of its clients’ securities is known as a financial custodian. As a result, it is accountable for both the physical and electronic storage of such securities. And the settlement of the related transactions.

    The securities that individuals and corporations own are safeguarded by a custodian financial institution. Financial securities must be cleared and settled correctly. And numerous regulatory and accounting procedures are followed, and this serves a vital purpose. Investors or traders frequently find them to be far too difficult or time-consuming.

    Example of Financial Custodian

    A bank may serve as a custodian for a customer’s investment activities by transferring money into brokerage accounts. Or by looking into potential investment targets like funds and companies, ordering brokers to buy or sell securities. As well as keeping an eye on the account’s investment activities, and informing the account owner of account activity. 

    Based on the actions in the account, the custodian may also prepare the required tax filings on behalf of the owner.

    Set Your Books Up For Success

    How a Financial Custodian Works

    Custodians may be chosen to maintain custody of a minor’s or an incapable adult’s assets. The custodian of a minor’s accounts may be an adult with legal standing. Giving money to a kid, for instance, at a time when their tax rate is lowest, is a typical tax technique. According to the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA), an adult or parent opens the account on the minor’s behalf. They act as the account’s custodians, continuing to have full control and power over the custodial account. The custodian gives up control of the account when the minor reaches adulthood.

    Banks, law firms, or accountancy firms frequently act as custodians. These firms typically charge extra for their services.

    Other Uses of a Financial Custodian

    Custodians today perform more tasks than just protecting assets. Additionally, they offer accounting and settlement services. Such as monitoring dispersed dividends or interest or overseeing stock splits.

    The SEC stipulates that custodians will notify clients when specific operations are carried out on their behalf. This is in addition to delivering regular account statements. The custodian carries out such actions in the client’s name.


    Custodians are frequently big, well-known companies. This is since they are in charge of safeguarding assets and securities that are worth hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars. 

    In a different sense, a custodian may be chosen to look after a child’s assets. Custodians are frequently used by investment advice firms to protect the assets they look after for their clients.

    Hit The Ground Sprinting

    FAQS on Custodian

    What Purpose Does a Custodian Financial Institution Serve?

    An organization serving as a custodian of its clients’ securities is known as a custodian. It is in charge of both the physical or digital storage of such securities and the settlement of the related transactions.

    What Is the Role of a Custodian in Settlement?

    While not trading members, custodians are clearing members. They settle trades executed by other trading members on behalf of their clients. A trading member may designate a custodian as the settlement agent for a certain trade. It is necessary for the custodian to confirm whether they want to settle that deal or not.

    What Are Some of the Largest Custodian Banks?

    Bank of New York Mellon, JPMorgan Chase, State Street Bank and Trust Co., and Citigroup are a few of the biggest custodian banks. The most renowned custodians internationally include Bank of China, Credit Suisse, UBS, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and BNP Paribas.

    Employee Benefit Plans

    1. Payroll Deduction Plan
    2. Custodian
    3. ASO


    553 HRS


    $ 7000




    Try It Free for 30 Days. No credit card required. Cancel anytime.