TRANSITION TALK

Continuity Now : Don't Leave Your Business Unprotected

Posted by Lisa Cordial and Mike McKennon on Mar 26, 2020 12:27:00 PM

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Ongoing developments with COVID-19 have prompted a number of advisors to contact us and make sure their death and disability continuity plans are up to date. It’s worth noting that only about 30% of advisors have any type of formal, written death and disability agreement in place. That leaves 70% with little to no protection for their business and clients.

What is Continuity Planning?

Business Continuity Planning is required by most regulatory organizations in the financial services industry. The common objective is preserving client service and asset management continuity in the event of natural disaster, national emergency, or exit of the licensed principal. Death or disability agreements provide a contingency plan that ensures a seamless transfer of control and responsibility for the business in the event of an owner’s unplanned and abrupt departure.

In the wake of COVID-19, we’ve seen many of these operational contingencies enacted by advisory firms nationwide, and that the preparation for a sudden exit is equally as crucial. Highly transmittable and difficult to predict respiratory viruses aside, you never know when an unexpected event will prevent you from performing your role as owner and advisor.

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Topics: Commentary, Business Growth, Industry News, Continuity Partner Matching, Continuity

Communicating Context to Balance Uncertainty

Posted by Brad Bueermann on Mar 24, 2020 1:44:34 PM

Communicating Context to Balance Uncertainty

The last few weeks have been eerie. The markets are fluctuating, schools are closed, streets are deserted. The Portland area had a run of 65-degree sunny days followed by two days of snow. Our office is down to a skeleton crew, and the rest of the staff are working from home.

At the beginning of March staying away from the coronavirus seemed as simple as keeping anyone sick at home. Now the ambiguity of who might be carrying the virus has sparked fear of the unknown and driving us to make drastic, unprecedented changes in our lifestyles to protect those at highest risk for severe infection. The situation and preventative measures seem to change daily and vary state to state.

But, this, too, shall pass, and we are all trying to stay productive and maintain perspective on the current situation. Twelve years ago, we experienced a similar market shock. Though the circumstances and drivers are different now, the way the industry adapts and manages investor uncertainty to find our way to the other side of this, as innovators and entrepreneurs, we will have to think similarly.

Be a Resource

The biggest piece of advice I can give to advisors who expect to make it through is this: be a resource.

Be a resource for your clients and their communities. They’re all searching for guidance right now. Even if you can’t give them concrete answers, you can give them context. Nobody can predict exactly what is going to happen in the next few months, but you can support your community by sharing your knowledge of the financial system.  

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Topics: Commentary, Business Growth, Industry News, Client Relationships

News Roundup: Expert Tips for Working Remotely

Posted by FP Transitions on Mar 18, 2020 10:27:52 AM

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Things have been changing for years, more and more people work from home and do so productively. Gone are the days, for many industries, where being in an office is a requirement. As technology continues to improve and online communications have become a daily occurrence, full-time employees around the country have had more freedom and flexibility, often able to work from any location.

Businesses around the world are asking employees to work from home in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. This is an excellent policy for public health, but how do you work from home without sacrificing productivity and client satisfaction? We've culled the internet and found helpful advice from people who know how to do it right.

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Topics: Business Growth, Industry News, Leadership

Create a Schedule : Tips for Working from Home with Kids

Posted by Elise Rogers on Mar 17, 2020 4:26:00 PM

Create a Schedule - Working From Home with Kids

With school closures across the country and many parents working from home, we asked a seasoned, work-from-home pro, our Marketing Director Elise Rogers, how she’s adapting to working remotely with her three boys full time. Below she shares a tool she’s created to keep her oldest son productively engaged and everyone else on task.

This new change in my family’s lives is causing my managerial mentality to go into over-drive, and like any manager, I am tackling this new homeschool lifestyle with a plan.

I have three kids (12, 2 ½ and 7 months old) and while my husband and I are tag-teaming the little ones, we want to be sure my oldest son is engaged and completing his online learning and not spending all his time watching TV or playing video games for the next month or more. Here is some insight I have gathered from creating this process for my own family.

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Topics: Business Growth, Industry News, Leadership

Structuring Ownership Compensation

Posted by Stuart Smith, JD on Mar 11, 2020 8:52:42 AM

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Professionals working in the independent financial services industry tend to organize their business the same way as other professional service providers. Whether a dentist, lawyer, or wealth advisor, chances are that the firm owner is both a full-time employee and an active manager of the business as well as a shareholder. We are often asked in our consulting work about this dual role; shareholder and employee, and the interplay between them, particularly as it relates to compensation strategies. For example, should employees be rewarded with stock, or the opportunity to buy stock for achieving certain targets? Or, now that I am an owner, shouldn’t I get a raise?  

There are no simple answers to these questions, but context should help to understand the thought process required to make informed decisions when these issues inevitably arise.

Salary vs. Profit Share

At a first level, ownership and pay are distinct concepts with unique rules, purposes, benefits and risks. These concepts represent the division between the return an investor receives on the capital put at risk and the reward received by an employee for the work that is performed. This division should be simple, self-evident and unbending, but the reality in a small business is often far different. The smaller the company, the harder it is to maintain a distinction between ownership returns and compensation. In the most basic model, a one owner company, the black and white lines dividing a return on investment and wages for work often disappear completely.

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Topics: Compensation, Business Growth, Enterprise

Cultivating Talent Through Culture (NEW Webcast)

Posted by FP Transitions on Jan 29, 2020 3:23:00 PM

Building a sustainable business requires reaching across the generation gap and tapping into the energy and talent of younger professionals.

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Topics: Business Growth, Culture, Next Generation, Talent Recruitment

Targeted Growth Solutions for Financial Advisors - FREE eBook Download

Posted by FP Transitions on Nov 13, 2019 1:17:01 PM

Today’s independent financial advisors face an endless array of opportunities (and challenges). The key is to identify impediments before they arise and to develop strategies for tackling the issues that present the greatest opportunities for improvement and growth.

There are four main challenges essential to the success of your business:

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Topics: Compensation, Succession Planning, Acquisition, Business Growth, M&A, Next Generation, Talent Recruitment, Enterprise

Entrepreneurs Need Intrapreneurs

Posted by Kem Taylor on Oct 8, 2019 2:49:38 PM

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We all know what an entrepreneur is. Many independent financial advisors would likely identify themselves as an entrepreneur. 

Many entrepreneurs worked 18-hour days to get their business off the ground and wore all the hats in the company–CEO, Marketing Director, H.R. Manager, IT Coordinator, Bookkeeper, and Visionary. They are their own boss. They create new things. They continuously solve problems. They have initiative. And, importantly, they can tolerate risk more than most people. 

A lesser-known term is "intrapreneur."

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Topics: Succession Planning, Business Growth, Next Generation, Sustainability, Enterprise

Plotting Your Exit

Posted by FP Transitions on Sep 27, 2019 2:10:05 PM

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When should you start developing your exit plan or succession plan?

The short answer is: start the planning process early. Successful internal succession planning can be a 10- to 15-year process so give yourself adequate time. For advisors who want to sell externally, the planning process should start three to five years before you think you’re ready to actually sell.

Projecting an Off Ramp

As you forecast your exit timeline it’s important to consider factors like cash flow and how much will be required to move into retirement and maintain your desired lifestyle. You should also consider how long it will take to put your successor team in place and when you’ll be able to hand over the reins completely.

One of the best ways to make a timeline projection is to determine how much time you want to—or will realistically be able to—spend productively working in the office, and create a “workweek trajectory.”

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Topics: Succession Planning, Selling Your Practice, Business Growth, FP Transitions, Sustainability, Enterprise, Sell and Stay™

FPT in the News - The New York Times : Wealth Advisory Firms Are Merging, but What’s in It for Clients?

Posted by FP Transitions on Sep 13, 2019 1:03:22 PM

FP Transitions CEO, Brad Bueermann, weighs in on the "trend" of consolidation among wealth management firms in Friday's New York Times Article, "Wealth Advisory Firms Are Merging, but What's in it for Clients?" by Paul Sullivan. Experts share their thoughts on the trend and whether or not the trend is actually resulting in better service for advisory clients.

We have seen that the ability to leverage technology and better processes indeed produces stronger and more valuable businesses, but access to these tools is not necessarily a function of size. As Brad says in the article, “We firmly believe at the client level that doing business locally with people who understand the community where their clients are going to retire into and who have a close connection to the client are better...Independent practices have flourished for a reason: Consolidation is the world we came from 30 years ago.”

Read the full article, "Wealth Advisory Firms Are Merging, but What's in it for Clients?" here.

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Topics: Business Growth, FPT in the News, Sustainability, New York Times

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