TRANSITION TALK

Controlling What You Can, Learning From What You Can’t

Posted by Marcus Hagood on Apr 1, 2020 4:44:25 PM

Controlling What You Can, Learning From What You Can’t

“Instead of focusing on the circumstances that you cannot change—focus strongly and powerfully on the circumstances that you can.” –Joy Page

One of my favorite movies of all time is Casablanca. This 1942 American romantic drama is revered for its cinematic quality, lead characters, fantastic writing, and pervasive theme song “As Time Goes By.” It is set in a time of war, upheaval, and great uncertainty; in fact, the movie is the perfect foil for the underlying message that we control our fate through direct action. There are many scenes that highlight that message, but Joy Page was a part of one particular scene that foreshadows the ending of the movie and reinforces her thoughts as expressed above.

In this scene, Humphrey Bogart, playing the lead character Rick Blaine, tells the husband of a newly-wed Romanian couple to make a bet on the roulette table at Rick’s Café Américain casino. To summate the plot line, earlier in the movie, Rick had turned down helping the newly-wed wife played by Joy Page citing that he helps no one to avoid the suspicion of the Vichy police.

As the plot line continues, Rick has a change of heart and whispers in the husband’s ear to make a risky bet on the rigged roulette table. With a little help, the husband wins enough money to buy a passage out of Casablanca for himself and his new wife. The action that Rick takes in this scene foreshadows his later actions that free Victor Laszlo and his wife, Ilsa Lund, from the Germans and Vichy Police in Casablanca. The rest is cinematic history.

In times of uncertainty, it is always wise to focus on what you directly control, as pointed out by Ms. Page’s quote. Whether we look at current politics, markets, regulation, news, or the current state of the financial services industry, there have been (and always will be) many events outside of your control as a practice owner that affect your work. How do you deal with this constant noise? Recognize it for what it is and focus on the things you can control with direct action.

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Topics: Commentary, Organizational Structure, Business Growth, Continuity, Talent Recruitment, Sustainability

Financing for Successors

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

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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

Elevating a Legacy : A G2 Success Story

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on Nov 7, 2019 12:18:25 PM

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In our first book “Succession Planning for Financial Advisors,” founder David Grau Sr., JD recounted one advisor’s early succession journey, including his ownership team’s bumps and triumphs as they executed the first tranches of their plan. Today, David circles back to provide an update on the successor team and all they’ve accomplished in six short years:

Ten years ago, around 2009, the founder and sole owner of Diversified Financial Consultants in Wilmington, Delaware, hired a local business attorney to help him develop a succession plan for his financial planning practice organized as an S-corporation. Calling on a practice’s local business attorney is a common starting point, and interestingly, it seems to be a common failure point when attempting to mesh the goals of the founder and next-gen advisors.. In this case, the founder’s attorney strongly suggested that in order for the founder to maintain full and unfettered control, the best course of action was a phantom-stock plan.The first draft was professional and thorough. It was also rejected out of hand by the team of prospective owners – they wanted to be real owners and investors in the business they were helping to grow.

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

Next-Gen Impact

Posted by Kem Taylor on Oct 23, 2019 5:11:16 PM

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The sustainability of financial services businesses depends on the incorporation of new talent. The demand for next-generation talent continues to increase as longevity, continuity, and staying competitive become top priorities for many financial advisor-owners.

Next-generation advisors are in a unique position to leverage their generational experiences and opportunities that influence business value to carve out their ideal career path.

Opportunities Abound

The demand for financial advice is growing faster than the number of financial planners available to provide it. Household assets are increasing and the number of households with over $200,000+ in income has increased 10% in the last two years and is expected to climb.1 Along with accumulating their own wealth, younger investors are set to receive inheritances from their parent’s generation. The need for asset management is further exacerbated by the fact that the average age of financial advisors trends older so many are set to slow down or retire over the next ten years.

The battle for talent is upon us and it is important to recognize that as a next-generation financial planner, you have more career choices than ever. You can start your own business, or seek employment at a broker-dealer, bank, wirehouse, or RIA. Even those choices have many options within themselves. For instance, in terms of joining an RIA, 15 years ago, small firms were often the only option. Today, you can work for a smaller regional enterprise, a national company with hundreds of advisors and staff, or an RIA somewhere in between.

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

FPT in the News - Journal of Financial Planning: Lay the Foundation for the Next Generation of Ownership

Posted by FP Transitions on Oct 10, 2019 10:20:39 AM

In the October 2019 issue of the Journal of Financial Planning, FP Transitions' Christine Sjölin, VP of Strategic Development and Operations, contributed her article "Lay the Foundation for the Next Generation of Ownership." The article discusses the importance–and challenge–of seeking out and recruiting next-generation talent in the financial services industry. Christine explores implementing internship opportunities to recruiting new advisors, strategies for talent retention, and how to incorporate ownership opportunities into your compensation structure. 

Read her full article, "Lay the Foundation for the Next Generation of Ownership," now at onefpa.org

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Topics: Succession Planning, FPT in the News, FPA, Next Generation, Talent Recruitment, Sustainability, Journal of Financial Planning

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

A Green Paper for Financial Advisors

Posted by Stuart Smith, JD on Sep 13, 2019 12:42:27 PM

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We write a fair number of white papers every year. As thought leaders, it is part of our job to share our thinking with independent financial professionals in order to advance the profession. In our consulting work, our clients often challenge us with thought provoking questions which open us to new ideas, help us to improve, and occasionally challenge basic assumptions behind the work that we perform. Sometimes questions are really out of left field and our curiosity leads us to an answer worth sharing.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Business Growth, FP Transitions, Sustainability, Enterprise

FPT in the News - FA Magazine : Roadmap to an Internal Succession Plan

Posted by FP Transitions on Sep 10, 2019 9:22:01 AM

Ahead of FA's 2020 Invest in Women's Conference in April 2020, Michaela G. Herlihy shares important insight and actionable advice for making the transition from employee to owner. She covers identifying and Implementing proper policies and procedures, creating a business plan, leveraging a skilled team of professionals, incorporating your key employees in strategic planning, and the importance of having a plan for the transition (that's where we come in).

Read the full article, "Roadmap to an Internal Succession Plan," at FA Magazine.

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Topics: Succession Planning, FPT in the News, Next Generation, Sustainability, FA Magazine

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