Wealth managers are taking diverging approaches to succession planning

Globe & Mail
April 10, 2023.

Many successful advisors are being courted by competing firms or exploring the option of moving to a new home. And with the average age of advisors in the investment industry hovering around 50, according to various industry surveys, an important consideration for advisors looking to make a move may be how a potential new employer handles succession planning.

There’s a spectrum of approaches. While some firms control the process, dictating terms with little room for negotiation, others leave pretty much everything up to the advisor – from finding a successor to setting terms to transition a book of business. Yet, many firms fall somewhere in the middle – and there’s a spectrum within there, too.

At Toronto-based independent investment dealer Richardson Wealth Ltd., advisors have full flexibility to choose their successor as long as the choice is in the clients’ best interests and doesn’t raise any compliance issues. Both advisors negotiate the price and payment structure directly while the firm acts as the agent representing both parties and providing advice along the way.

“The advisor is in the driver’s seat,” says Mike Ankers, senior vice-president, head of advisor experience and growth, at the firm. “Instead of us saying, ‘Here’s our program that you must conform to,’ we say, ‘What would you like to do and how can we help?’”

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