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RIA Database vs. Dakota Marketplace: Which is Right For You?

By: Morgan Holycross, Content Marketing Associate

It can be overwhelming to try and find the right institutional investor database for your business. Even a cursory search will show that there are dozens of databases to choose from, each promising to end your sales teams’ problems by delivering the data and leads needed to drive your goals home.

Each one focuses on a different channel and provides a different level of insight — so where do you start?

At the end of the day, you’re looking to drive results for your business, and to save your sales team from doing the administrative heavy-lifting that comes with prospecting and setting meetings. 

In the investment sales industry, the database question often comes down to a few key players, and it is not uncommon for a firm to narrow their search down to a handful of contenders. Two major contenders include RIA Database and Dakota Marketplace.

We’ve said before that the word database has become almost taboo in our industry, and we think it’s wrongfully so

For that reason — and because we believe that building trust is the key to any new business partnership — we have no hesitations about giving an overview of the main differences and features between us and one of our competitors so that you can make the best decision based on what you’re looking to achieve for your business.

In fact, we have no problem pointing out that RIA Database is a great partner that provides their users with the data they need to move their business forward.

This article will give you an overview of the structure of both RIA Database and Dakota Marketplace, including the ways in which the data gets updated, its target audience, the interface, as well as the price of each. If any of this information, like pricing, was not available on their website, we’ve left it off. 

By the end of this article, you’ll feel more informed about your options, and feel empowered to make a database selection that’s right for your team.

RIA Database

RIA Database is a reputable platform with over 600 firms depending on them. Firms look to them for data and marketing solutions in order to raise assets and distribute their research and product insights. 

Size of the database: 

There’s a combined 10 years of original research with weekly updates in RIA Database’s platform. In the RIA Database you will find endless RIA firms and RIA RARs with 400,000+ advisors, and 40,000+ firms. 

For the Registered Rep Database you will be able to locate information on Wirehouse reps, Independent reps, FINRA reps, and 500,000+ advisors. 

The Bank / Trust Database provides entail on FDIC Banks, Trust Companies, 25,000+ key contacts, and 8,600+ firms.

Lastly, the Family Office Database offers information on 1,000+ single family offices, 2,000+ family foundations, and 750+ consultants.

Updates to and thoroughness of the data: 

RIA Database takes pride in their data and events that are originally gathered by their own team and added weekly. New fields can be found monthly. 

Target Audience: 

From RIA Database themselves, more than 600 firms rely on RIA Database data and RIA Channel marketing solutions. 

Origin of the platform: 

RIA Database’s platform has over 10 years of compiled data and research. 


Prices can be sought after with communication from the RIA Database team via demo communication. They will help you decide which platforms are most appropriate for you and your team. 


RIA Database’s subscription permits you to sort, search, save, and download targeted leads for your sales and marketing teams. 

Platform Descriptions:

In their own words, RIA Database provides comprehensive data, software, analytics and marketing services to the financial services industry. With the four database options, you will have endless opportunities to find accounts and contacts to set up meetings with. 

There are previews on their site to visualize the ease of the layout and different search fields offered. 

Additional Content: 

RIA Database offers consulting services at no extra cost. Their team is there to help you and your firm maximize their products and services. 

In addition to a data platform subscription, you can tune in to webcasts from RIA Database. They broadcast information on target marketing, technology and execution, and reporting for the largest advisor audience in the industry. 

Lastly, RIA Database provides marketing services that include email design, targeting, and advisor leads. With this subscription you’ll be able to mass distribute to RIA Database’s audience of over 350,000 opt-in financial advisors. 

Who is RIA Database a good fit for?: 

With their variety of platforms (RIAs, Reps, Trusts / Banks, and Family Offices), RIA Database will benefit any mold of an investment sales team. 

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Dakota Marketplace 

Dakota Marketplace is an institutional investor and RIA database created and maintained by the fundraising team at Dakota investments, who have used Marketplace to raise over $30B since 2006. At its core, Marketplace is a database that allows investment salespeople to quickly find the right contacts to reach out to schedule meetings.

Size of the database: 

With over 9,000 accounts and 31,000 contacts, Dakota Marketplace offers a focused subset of the overall investment sales landscape. 

Updates to and thoroughness of the data: 

Equipped with a team of four database administrators and a variety of software platforms including LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Neverbounce, and Seamless, the Dakota team ensures that the data within Marketplace is constantly being updated and added to so that investment sales professionals always know who to call on. 

Target audience: 

Dakota Marketplace targets Investment sales professionals who want deep, granular insight into how allocators invest, how a platform is managed, and how investment decisions are made. Dakota Marketplace is focused on titles and asset class coverage areas.

Origin of the platform: 

Dakota was founded in 2006, and Marketplace was created in 2018 by a fundraising team that uses the data within Marketplace themselves every day. Because of this, by its very nature, the data is guaranteed to be as accurate and complete as possible — we know because we’re using it. 


A subscription to Dakota Marketplace is $13,500 per year for one user, and $1,000 for each additional user license.


The Marketplace interface was designed with investment fundraisers in mind. The database is divided into metro areas and further broken out by channels that reside in those metro areas. The details of each firm include the name, the contacts within that firm, as well as metro area, and AUM. 

Platform Descriptions: 

Dakota Marketplace offers detailed descriptions of every account within the database and is focused on what the investment sales professional needs and wants to know. 

Additional platform content: 

Dakota brings the Marketplace data to life with the bi-weekly Dakota Live! Call. Each week, the team hosts one primary call and one alternative investment call. During the calls, an allocator from within the Dakota Marketplace is featured in an interview during which they talk about their platforms so listeners can gain insight. The calls also profile a city every week and brings the database to life by giving listeners something to focus on in each city. 

Dakota Marketplace also offers daily Public Plan Notes, Searches, 13F information, and Manager Presentation to its members. 

Who is Marketplace a good fit for?: 

Dakota Marketplace is ideal for Investment sales professionals who are looking for a detailed look into accounts that allocate to outside managers. 

Things to consider when choosing an institutional investor database:

There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re researching an institutional investor database, and they usually come down to a few key questions. 

  1. What channels do you cover? (Consultants, RIAs, Banks, BD, Direct Pensions, Sub-advisory, etc.)
  2. What is your product structure? (Mutual Funds, Separate Account, LP, ETF, CIT, etc.)
  3. How much does it cost?

If you’re focused on selling within the investment sales market, RIA Database is a great fit for you and your firm. 

Finally, if you’re an investment sales professional looking for a laser-focused list of prospects to call on, Dakota Marketplace would be a great partner for your needs. 

While RIA Database and Marketplace are two of the databases at the forefront of our minds, we also have a more comprehensive list of institutional investor databases for you to consider, so that you have the complete picture. 

We know that if you’re here, you already know the key benefits of an institutional investor database, but we have a quick list that might be helpful to share as you pitch the idea to the bigger team. 

Stop wasting time on prospecting and data administration and start setting up meaningful meetings today with a free trial

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