How to Accelerate Transitions to New Advisors

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

We have our elder advisor transitioning out of the practice next year and we have a clear succession plan in place when she leaves. She (“Ellen”) handpicked the female advisor (“Sarah”) who will replace her, and they both have a good camaraderie.

We’ve known about the transition for three years, but suddenly we are running out of time. We are so busy every day that we haven’t done as much as we should to promote Sarah to our clients and let them know how good she is.

Sarah holds several credentials and has been doing most of the work on client accounts. But they don’t see her and interact with her as much because Ellen is a very effusive and outgoing person. Clients love Ellen because she is very caring and intelligent. Ellen knows every single child and grandchild’s name and interests and where the family took its last 10 vacations. She is a people-person whereas Sarah is more of a serious, quiet person.

Without a lot of time for long-term planning, what works best when advisors are making this transition? Are there some best practices we could be using to support Sarah’s success and ease the mind of the clients once Ellen departs? Ellen has made it clear that once she is gone, she is gone. She does not want to linger or have her hands in anything so it will be a clean break from the firm.