Christine Sjölin

Christine Sjölin
Christine is the VP of Strategic Development and Operations and G2 Partner at FP Transitions. She has been one of the principal drivers behind the growth and success of many FP programs, including the Equity Management System, a program that now boasts approximately 2,000 members and 20 independent Broker-Dealers and Custodians. Whether speaking, publishing or helping advisors one-on-one, she brings important perspective and enthusiasm to her work at FP Transitions. Christine is one of the chief architects of the FP Transitions vision and team.

Recent Posts

Top 6 Ways to Grow Your Business

Posted by Christine Sjölin on Apr 11, 2022 2:30:00 PM

6 Ways Blog Image Header-01

Business growth is a never-ending, and ever-changing objective of all business owners; financial planners included. While the lingering social effects of the pandemic and the challenges of upscaling during the Great Resignation/ Reshuffle can make the task-at-hand seem insurmountable, there are still tangible ways that you can steer the course of your enterprise. Here are a few tips to help grow your financial planning business.

1. Invest in Human Capital
Most advisors have built their business from nothing into their single most valuable asset. Finding talent can be a challenge these days, especially with unemployment settling into lows not seen in over 50 years. Data from FP Transition's Valuation Database has indicated that businesses with multiple professionals accumulate assets at a higher rate than sole practitioners. As your business matures, it is imperative to invest in the next generation of talent, to keep the engine running while you begin to enjoy the reward for what you’ve built.

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Topics: Acquisition, Multi-Generational Ownership, Business Growth, Tip of the Week, Revenue Strength, Enterprise Strength, Business Value, Buying & Selling, Next Generation, Talent Recruitment, Building Your Team, Client Trust, Business Operations, Trends

Financing for Successors

Posted by Christine Sjölin on Feb 21, 2020 10:32:39 AM


Your principal advisor has invited you to become an owner. Congratulations! The majority of next-generation advisors are energized by the demand for and the opportunity of succession planning, but most founders are stalled leaving successors frustrated. Your challenge as a successor is helping to make the process work for everyone involved. One important way to do that is to recognize the principal owner’s impediments and to help him or her understand the process and how accessible it actually is.

The Primary Obstacle

Like you, most successors—hamstrung by student debt, mid-stride in buying homes, building families, and still growing in their careers and earnings potential—don’t have money to invest in a business. Eager founders (“G1s” or first-generation owners) may seek to remove these obstacles by gifting or granting ownership, but this can taint the relationship as G1 may ultimately feel short-changed by giving away part of the business they built with their own sweat and toil. Beginning a partnership where one side feels cheated isn’t an ideal way to launch a successful, satisfying transition. There has to be a better way. In fact, many founders and successors come together each year with plans that are truly win/win. So where does the money come from? In many cases, the answer is the business itself.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Multi-Generational Ownership, Next Generation, Sustainability, Enterprise

Is Mediation For Your Deal a Good Investment?

Posted by Christine Sjölin on Aug 5, 2019 12:51:09 PM


Acquisition strategies are varied and diverse; how an advisor or a firm pursues acquisitions will depend on their business model and philosophy. While the approach to acquisition should be personalized, it is a mistake to do it alone. In addition to the successful transactions presented in this report, FP Transitions works with many advisors who have endured failed sales or stalled deals.

The story of a failed transaction often begins with one or both parties hesitating to hire a mediator, the perception being that their deal is “simple,” and that buyer and seller can save money if they do it themselves. The information we gather from these clients about their failed sales gives our consultants broader perspective on what works and what doesn’t in an evolving marketplace. When we combine this information with the data gathered from successful deals, it is clear that investing in a mediator improves results for both buyers and sellers in terms of success rate, speed, and value.

One misconception advisors often share with us is the belief that one-on-one negotiations are easier and brokers will just get in the way of a personal connection between buyer and seller. This perception is understandable, as it is essential that buyer and seller have a mutual affinity and have aligned interests in order to transfer and retain client relationships after the deal is done. However, mutual affinity is not sufficient to get buyer and seller over basic negotiating factors, such as valuation, deal structuring, and tax allocation of the purchase price. These are complex topics where a mediator can provide expertise and perspective to both sides and advance the deal forward.

Financial services is such a regulated industry, with the added complexity of requiring a long transition, that it is common for a sale to get bogged down in “paperwork.” So, while each party does need representation, there also needs to be a knowledgeable and neutral mediator who can be responsible for keeping everyone on track, offer solutions, and has data to show why one side’s objection is or is not valid.

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Topics: Selling Your Practice, Acquisition, Buying & Selling, Trends in Transactions Study, Transactions

Structure, Sustainability, & Acquisition Strategy

Posted by Christine Sjölin on Feb 6, 2019 12:03:31 PM

Structure, Sustainability, and Acquisition

If you’ve spent much time around Portland, Oregon, you know tap houses, microbreweries, and brewpubs are about as prolific as coffee shops. The Pacific Northwest takes their food very seriously, and beer and wine are an integral part of that. In the early days, first-generation craft brewers (and their counterparts in the wine industry) were entrepreneurs or career changers who wanted to break free from the corporate world and be their own bosses. Businesses began in garages and strip malls—small spaces that provided just enough room to get the businesses off the ground. Small brewers, looking to increase scale and reduce their individual costs, collaborated to share expenses for equipment or to piggy-back on each other’s licenses. Founders have shown grit, resourcefulness, and thrift to further their businesses through the first stages. Now, the most successful operations are evolving and acquiring, and the next generation of professionals are entering the industry with specialized degrees and focus on their careers. Meanwhile, boutique and even once “cult” brands struggle to maintain their position amidst stronger competition and a consolidating industry.

Does this sound familiar? The issues of scale, expense management, and growth planning are not unique to financial services. Other professionals begin their businesses with similar limitations, which they must address and overcome in order to reach a baseline of success. Passion and perseverance are powerful fuel, but the challenge comes—for financial advisors as well as craft brewers—in creating a business that can support sustainable growth. Oftentimes, the skills necessary to make this transformation are not innate to the business owner and reluctance to seek help is precisely what hinders their growth or even survival. As entrepreneurs who are passionate about their field, getting outside guidance is necessary to overcome their limitations and see the business into the next stage.

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Topics: Acquisition, Organizational Structure, Business Growth, Sustainability

FPA Annual Recap : Elevating the Profession

Posted by Christine Sjölin on Oct 19, 2018 9:50:20 AM

The last few years I’ve been unable to attend the FPA annual conference due to personal commitments. It was great to be back on site for this year’s event in Chicago.

The Future of the Industry

As an Official Sponsor of the Next Generation, we are tapped into what young advisors are doing, hearing, and saying. It’s an energizing group to be around—the future advisors I met in Chicago view financial planning as a calling as well as a rewarding career. It does strike me as a bit ironic that the “NexGen” community stops at 37 years old, when the average age of a graduate in a financial planning program (as shared during a conversation with university staff) is 41. I suspect these more seasoned career changers will have an easier time making their way into the industry, but it’s important to incorporate the youngest professionals into existing businesses, as they will impact the industry for decades, if they don’t get discouraged. This new generation of advisors are more dynamic and driven than they’re often given credit for, and these savvy younger professionals will continue pushing the status quo to create opportunities for themselves.

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Topics: FPA, Next Generation, Talent Recruitment, Sustainability, Events

Another Dimension to "Transition"

Posted by Christine Sjölin on Dec 8, 2015 8:57:11 AM

Creating a succession plan can be a momentous task, leading to a transition that transforms not only the business, but lifestyle of everyone involved. It often takes a team approach to cover all aspects of the transition and the personalities involved. We understand our strengths and our limits in the planning process, and embrace the opportunity to work with diverse professionals, coaches and consultants. Each brings something new and valuable to the table, and their role in the process can be as unique as the business going through transition. This guest blog is part of a series featuring some of our partners and colleagues who contribute to the succession planning process and supplement FP Transitions’ analytical and strategic skill set.

Our first guest blogger, Marty Kurtz, CFP, is a past president of the FPA and a terrific example of an advisor who transformed his business and gained the flexibility to move on to a new, meaningful chapter in his career. After completing his own succession plan, Marty launched Turning Point, a coaching program centered on a 3-day getaway where successful advisors can gather with a small group of their peers to focus on their vision for the future. In his own words, Marty explains what led him to create this valuable retreat, and how Turning Point fills a void for his fellow professionals.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Guest