The most successful advisor transitions occur when all parties are fully focused on the process every step of the way. Transitions have a plethora of moving parts, and without full engagement from the advisory team involved, it becomes increasingly difficult to facilitate the change on your preferred (and in most cases, mission-critical) timeline. Here is an example of a recent transition, focusing on two critical keys to success I have gathered from my experience in working with advisors.
In 2021, Todd Bessey, Founder of CREIDIM Wealth Partners, joined our firm. He shared he wanted to make a transition starting when the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule launched. After doing his due diligence and making his selection of a new firm to join, Todd knew that he didn’t want this transition to suffer the same fate as a past poor one, so he and his team made a highly conscious effort to work alongside me and mine.
Prior to beginning the process of bringing an advisor and their firm on board, we will spend six to eight weeks conducting all necessary back-end preparations. This is key, not only for the advisors we are bringing on, but also for the transition team. Our team each plays a different, critical role in the process — while remaining in lock step with each other and the advisor to ensure we are organized and on track.
One of the ways we accomplish this is by building out a customized transition calendar for each advisor, clearly outlining our process on a shared schedule. This ensures that every necessary step is accounted for across departments and drives our ability to complete transitions on our predetermined timeline. The calendar includes a wide range of items such as technology training and IT set-up, licensing, repapering plan, marketing, training on client experience and more. Understanding that it’s a heavy lift for advisors to transition — laden with emotional aspects that are often forgotten — we take it as far as we can for our advisors by shouldering much of the administrative and prep work. After we have done all our prep work, it’s the advisor’s turn to take the wheel.
Todd and his team were incredibly organized and dedicated to the calendar we prepared for them, always ensuring the completion of action items on deadline. Additionally, they trusted our process. He was just as prepared as we were, so when it came time to get into the thick of transitioning, our team and his were both fully prepared.
Perhaps most importantly, what really set Todd apart was his strong relationships with his clients. Todd was able to clearly articulate to his clients the reasons why he was making his career change and how the decision would benefit the firm. Because of the trust he had built in his client relationships, they were willing to listen to him and be guided through the transition successfully and quickly — and that made all the difference. After four weeks, 80% of Todd’s business had already been transitioned over.
While even the most fluid transitions are not free of stressful moments and sleepless nights, one point that I found particularly gratifying was when Todd told me that he slept very well the night before the official transition; because he felt confident knowing everything was fully executed upon. And that is because every player involved in the process came in prepared, communicated effectively and was motivated to successfully carry out this complex process as a cohesive team.