You likely spend a lot of time talking about the importance of longevity planning for your clients. But, have you thought about longevity for your practice?
Recently, I was reading an article from a practice management expert who was answering some questions about an advisor’s succession planning. It made me think how prepared we are as an industry to provide ongoing service to our clients in the event of catastrophic events. We talk to our clients about mitigating risks in retirement, but we don’t necessarily talk about the risk of losing an advisor.
I think it’s an important consideration for us to evaluate, especially now. Part of working in your clients’ best interest might include having a strategy for your office to make sure you continue servicing your clients after you leave the business – by your own choice or due to an external event. Think about how you would feel if you put your entire trust into a relationship with someone, and then that person suddenly left. Wouldn’t you feel better if you knew there was a plan in place to continue taking care of you?
This article focused on several mid-50s principals who did not have official succession plans. Children were going to step into the businesses if a health event forced the principals out … However, neither the staff nor the clients were aware of these plans. The children probably were not aware of his plans either, given that they had successful careers elsewhere. Unfortunately, this scenario is common among financial professionals.
With our clients in focus, we must have better plans for our retirement – which might come tomorrow due to a health event, or in a few years due to a simple desire to slow down. Regardless of timing, you owe it to your clients to give thought to the consequences. You also owe it to your employees, your families, and the industry.
Look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Have I created a full, holistic plan for the orderly transition of my business? And, is it up to date?” If not, you need to devote time and energy to helping yourself first, so you can impact more clients and prospects with confidence.
Think about how you will exit the business. What would your clients think if you were not at your firm tomorrow or the next day? You need to plan for the orderly transition of your business so you can instill confidence in your clients and communities.
Mike McGlothlin is a tireless advocate for the retirement planning industry. As executive vice president of annuities at Ash Brokerage, he heads a team providing income planning solutions focused on longevity and efficiency. He’s also a thought leader who provides guidance and assistance for advisors and broker-dealers navigating marketplace and regulatory changes. You can find a collection of his blog posts in his book, “Above the Clouds … Winning Strategies from 30,000 Feet.”