Succession Planning Problem: Who Takes Over? | OnWallStreet by Danny Sarch


I have found that when financial advisors retire, they usually want to make sure they take care of their clients, as well as get paid for their practice, which they spent decades building and nurturing. However, doing both of these things can be a tricky proposition, and will likely play out to be the biggest challenge facing the industry over the next 10 years.

The source of the urgency is that the average age of the wirehouse financial advisor is 50-plus. With few advisors being trained, the average is only increasing. The source of the inherent problem is that selling a service business is essentially selling relationships, something that is difficult to quantify even in an industry as metrics-driven as wealth management.

So while websites purport to make a match between a buyer and seller of a practice, the fact is that the clients within those practices have their own say about whom they wish to manage their money. If I want to sell my car, the car has no say about who the new owner will be. Clients have their own minds, their own ideas, and do not care that their relationship has been “sold” from one advisor to another. In fact, the idea that any individual advisor, or advisory firm, can “own” someone else’s money is absurd. What top advisors do have is a loyal group of clients who respect the services that their advisor provides.


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