I have been attending FPA Annual Conference for a few years and have made many new friends who are genuinely interested in helping our profession grow. This year, I am honored to present a session on succession planning and how financial advisers can be better prepared when the time comes to make that transition.

I came across Financial Network’s Mark Hurley and his excellent paper, published in April 2013, titled “Brave New World of Wealth Management: Opportunities, More Competition, Demographics and Growth Conundrums.” It properly shines a light on the future trend of the financial advisory industry and raises needed awareness among baby-boomer advisers as to the potential changes in the advisory landscape. It also provides badly needed food-for-thought on challenges facing boomer advisers who are getting ready to exit due to retirement.

Most advisers sell their practice only once in their lifetime and find it very difficult to leave their life’s work behind. In addition, few advisers talk about the emotional challenges from this process in professional meetings. As a result, most advisers are ill prepared for this life-changing event.

I began the search for an ideal buyer for my practice in 2010 and it took two-and-a-half years to find them. I interviewed a total of 10 firms; that process can be described as challenging, exciting and grueling. By early 2013, I made the final decision on the firm that would take over my financial services practice and agreed to stay with the buyer for one year to transition my clients to the new firm.

In retrospect, I did many things correctly during the process and some things less correctly. According to my experience, there should be some standard methods to transition a financial services practice in an orderly and responsible manner for the clients, the buyer and the seller. I decided to put together a workbook with the intention to demystify the selling process and make it easier and less painful for other potential sellers. At this time, there are various ways to transition your financial services practice, but I believe the best method is yet to emerge.

At the 2019 Annual Conference, I’ll be sharing the good, bad and ugly of this process and my knowledge and wisdom on a topic that is dear to my heart. My goal is to help you ease gracefully from your life’s work and joyfully transition into the next chapter.

Emily M. Chiang is a CERITIFED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with an MBA and 25 years of experience as a financial planner and investment adviser. Emily will be speaking about succession planning at the 2019 FPA Annual Conference, and you can connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-m-chiang-cfp®-b51a32b3.

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