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Succession Planning for Financial Advisors: Building an Enduring Business, + Website by David Grau Sr.

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Chapter 8 A Tale of Ownership

Everyone who creates a succession plan will explore and find one’s own path, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from others who have gone before you. This is the first generation of independent owners who have had to grapple with the fact that their practices, sometimes businesses, have amassed significant value. It’s only natural that, at this point, there will be more questions than answers. How best to handle a succession plan when you’re unsure of the path, unsure of the next-generation talent base? When is it too soon to start worrying, or too late to start planning? Where does one get good, reliable advice? What if things go wrong, or don’t go as planned? If any of those concerns sound familiar, this story is for you.

Succession Planning Case Study

James Warren operated Strategic Financial Management from a beautifully refurbished turn-of-the-century home in South Bend, Indiana. He had a staff of seven, four of whom were qualified advisor/producers in this hybrid, fee-based model. The four advisors, one of whom was James’s daughter, ranged in age from 27 to 38, and most had or were completing their Certified Financial Planner (CFP) course work; one had a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation as well.

Over the course of 30 years of work, James had gained a lot of experience, starting with a wirehouse, then moving to an insurance-based broker-dealer, then to a predominantly fee-based independent model under his stand-alone ...

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