Making a Successful Transition to Independence
Changing firms is a major decision and one that should not be made without significant consideration. The first step to a successful transition is knowing when to start the process. For some, the change might be triggered by conflict in their current workplace. For others, they may want more control and independence of their business. Whatever the reason for change, being properly positioned before your move is essential to making transition successful. Advisors who are most successful in re-establishing their business are those thinking in terms of going somewhere with the right client and business value proposition, rather than those focused on the issues of the firm they are leaving.
1. Ability to Deliver Your Target Client Experience
As a successful advisor, you know what your clients want and how they want to be served. If your current situation limits your ability to deliver your target experience, your growth and profitability will be challenged. There are several factors that will drive this; technology, compliance & regulatory rules, and ability to invest in staff are the most common. As your practice evolves, grows, and matures, your needs will change, and the policies, procedures, and tools which work for newer advisors may no longer work for you. As you develop your practice vision and business plan, ensuring that your firm can support your growth is essential. While many advisors are concerned about the risk in transitioning their book, they often under-rate the risk of slowing growth on a platform that doesn’t meet their business needs. Taking part in a firm that enables you to deliver the experience you want is critical to helping you achieve your goals.
2. The Technology Conundrum
A common complaint we hear from advisors is that their firm’s technology doesn’t meet their practice needs. This may be client reporting capabilities or tools to increase efficiency such as portfolio management or CRM. In our experience, it is less about evaluating the technology at a point in time and more about understanding the ongoing evolution and the future plans for the platform. As an advisor, you can tell whether technology investments are consistently moving in the right direction. Hearing regular messages about plans and vision with no result may mean you need to re-evaluate your current technology setup. Legacy systems are often blamed for slower than normal progression of a firm’s innovation. However, without a clear investment plan to address the legacy platform, you can expect to see more of the same. Having the right tools is essential to helping you grow and create value. Make sure the firm you partner with provides the technology investments to help you grow.
3. The Power of Independence
Having the independence to form your own firm identity is a huge advantage if you have a defined experience you want to create. It also gives you and your clients’ the freedom to make the best investment decisions without being limited by policies and priorities of your current firm. Historically, independence was about captive investment products. Today, it is a broader question about having the freedom to work with partners both inside and outside your firm to deliver what clients need. Independence eliminates any confusion about who is at the center of your client relationship and ensures that you can manage relationships in way that works best for you and your clients.
4. Creating Equity Value
The cash flow benefits of making a change can be significant, however, the ability to create and control your equity can be an even greater part of the transition. Short term cash flow can help you to monetize and increase the value of your practice; however you need a strong understanding of your equity value and who owns the equity rights to your book. Giving up equity in your practice can be an expensive source of cash flow. While the options to monetize your practice used to be limited, there are now more ways to get access to investments. We have worked on creating multiple options for advisors and can provide capital to support succession planning, growth or other investments in your practice without you having to give up your control.
5. Having the Knowledge to Make a Move
Once you find the right partners and determine that it is time for a change, you need to make important decisions about navigating the transition. Developing your brand, selecting real estate, implementing technology and managing cash flow are all key areas you will need to address through transition. Anticipate roadblocks and strategize how you will lead your team when they arise. Network with others to find short-term answers and long-term plans for a variety of possible situations. Your experience as an advisor will be key, but the knowledge of building a business is more important during the beginning stages. Nevertheless, with the right planning and support you can lead your team through the transition and see continuous growth and results within your business.
If you are reaching the point where you want to consider different options, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can help you think through it.
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