RIA Succession Planning

“We are an industry of planners who have planned for everyone but ourselves and our own businesses” Ryan Zeeb

Succession-Simplified is a recently published piece that caught our eye. Written by the CEO of Camelot Portfolios, a strategist available via the Adhesion UMA platform, it provokes a number of thoughts that are relevant to advisors at any career phase.

The sad story that sparked this paper is a reminder of how much lies outside of our control, and how important it is to move in the direction of a more sustainable enterprise that can extend beyond its present identity. This movement benefits a) the clients and their heirs, b) the owners and their heirs, and c) the firm’s existing support team, by adding a level of stability in a world of uncertainty.

As a specialist serving the outsourcing needs of RIAs, we see often just how much of a firm’s identity can be tied directly to the “brand” of the founder.  In working with Adhesion to institutionalize firm operations, a critical step that is often included is a rebranding of the firm that can sustain after the founder decides to step away.  Together, these steps can help position the firm for smoother transition and greater enterprise value.

A few starting points to provoke action include the following:

  1. Start with simple – answer the essential questions before worrying about every detail
  2. Challenge your ego and identity- create repeatable processes to extend the firm’s reach beyond today
  3. Quit talking and start doing – think of the succession planning process as a video, not a snapshot

And of course, control. When to put a plan in place, how early to start the transition, who the successor(s) will be…these are among the rare outcomes that actually lie within the advisor’s control. To continue considering key ways to tackle the succession issue, enjoy the full discussion here…


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