Debunking Transition Myths


If you share any of the following concerns, consider using them as conversation starters during the due diligence phase of your transition. You may also want to discuss concerns with other advisors who have made successful transitions.

MYTH: My clients won’t follow me to my new firm/practice.

REALITY: Having solid, long-term client relationships matter. Try to ensure your clients understand the value of the service you provide them. This will increase the chances of them moving with you should you move to a new firm or business model. It’s always possible that a few clients may stay with your old firm, and their reasons for not following you may be completely unrelated to the strength of your client-advisor relationship.

MYTH: Moving my clients’ assets to my new firm is the most important part of a transition.

REALITY: Taking assets with you is important, but it’s only one aspect of a successful transition. You’ll also want to focus on three additional components: 1) You, as the advisor, need to be happy in your new environment. 2) Your business partners and support staff need to share your vision for the business and feel that they have the support and resources to do their jobs well. 3) Your clients need to be satisfied with the level of service and support they receive, and they need to feel that their needs are your top priority. By focusing on these factors, you’ll be more likely to have a positive transition experience.

MYTH: My transition team will do everything for me.

REALITY: Your transition team will be an invaluable resource during your transition. But even the best teams can’t do everything for you. Successful transitions require a lot of hard work, which begins with you. You need to ensure you understand every aspect of your move. Clearly define roles and responsibilities for you, your business partners, your support staff and your transition team. Remember, you’re ultimately responsible in ensuring a successful transition. Even with a high level of support from an experienced transition team, you should probably expect to work long days and weekends for several months leading up to your move.

MYTH: I can delegate all of the administrative details of opening new accounts to my support staff, as well as all responsibility for understanding the operational standards of my new firm.

REALITY: Any support staff or administrative personnel you bring to your new firm will play a vital role in opening new accounts and building a strong foundation for your new practice. However, you should also understand as much of the administrative process as you can, including how to open new accounts and manage general day-to-day operations.

MYTH: I should only consider joining firms that participate in the Protocol.

REALITY: While the Protocol provides a useful framework for helping advisors execute career transitions, it isn’t necessary to join a Protocol firm. What might be more important is thoroughly understanding the legal ramifications associated with resigning from your current employer and joining a new one. This is true regardless of whether either firm or both are Protocol members. Most advisors will benefit from legal advice from an independent, third-party source prior to making a career transition. Your legal advisor can help ensure your career transition suits your personal needs and honors any existing employment contracts you may currently have.

MYTH: Most firms offer similar transition services.

REALITY: Transition services can vary widely among different firms, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you can expect from your new firm’s transition team. Ask whether your transition team is fully dedicated to helping you make your transition, or whether they have other responsibilities that are unrelated to your practice. For example, at many of the large wirehouses, your transition assistant may be someone else’s administrator who is temporarily pulled in to assist you while still trying to handle his or her primary responsibilities. At Raymond James, we have a full-time, dedicated team of professionals whose primary responsibility is helping advisors make successful transitions.