A Litmus Test for Moving, Merging, or Selling:

Three Initial Indicators to Examine Before Joining Another Financial Advisory Firm.

For more than a decade, Advisory DNA have been providing advice and guidance to Financial Advisors and Firm Owners who are contemplating moving, merging, or selling their business. Although the landscape of partnership opportunities available to Wealth Managers is vast and complex, we always start (and end) with a very simple three question litmus test when helping Financial Services Professionals decide if they should move forward and make a transition. If you cannot instantly answer “yes” to all three questions, it is highly advisable to halt the process or proceed with extreme caution. The three questions are as follows:


1. Will this partnership be better for my clients?

When vetting your options or deciding if you should simply stay with your current firm, your clients need to come first. For many Advisors, it is seen as a fiduciary decision to move to another firm if it will increase the quality of the clients’ experience and further their best interests. Additionally, the overall experience and wellbeing of your clients is directly linked to your vocational satisfaction and success.

Whether it’s the service, deliverables, returns, assurance of continuity, or the overall experience, it is completely inadvisable to move to another firm if it is not going to be better for your clients. It is also ill-advised to make a move if it will be the same or only moderately better for your clients. Not being able to clearly communicate to your clients how they will benefit from your move to a new firm, can significantly decrease client retention and may even cause them to question your judgement or motives.

That being said, such benefits do exist and can be a motivational force for clients to be excited about following you. It is important to note that even if certain clients do not care for the new benefits, it can still increase client retention to have them see firsthand that you are continuously looking to further the best interests for your clientele as a whole, of which they are a part.


2. Will this partnership be better for me and my staff?

You cannot succeed if you are not increasing the wellbeing of your clients. Your clients cannot succeed if you and your staff are not well. Your personal wellbeing and your client’s wellbeing are inseparable and arguably synonymous. Because of this, your personal experience should not be taken lightly when weighing your options.

Your firm’s values, behaviors, culture, work/life balance, systems, processes, leadership, operations, and more, all play a significant role in your personal experience and wellbeing. A partnership with a firm that does not provide you with a quality experience, can be devastating to you and your staff. In contrast, moving to a firm that has invested a significant amount of time, energy, and resources into developing a wholistic Advisor experience, can be life-altering to say the least.


3. Will this partnership have a positive financial impact for me and my staff?

Although the fiscal structure of a partnership is technically a part of your overall experience and wellbeing, its significance and impact merit its own separate consideration. When examining opportunities, the economics must be a mutual win for all involved parties.

Finding a higher payout or a higher revenue share is often seen as the primary way to increase one’s monetary gains. However, in the industry today, an Advisor’s payout and revenue share percentages are only one of the many factors that can increase your take home pay. One of the most noteworthy value adds a firm can provide to attract additional Advisors, is the ability to scale their business with efficient systems, processes, support, and technology, thus allowing Advisors more time to focus on growing their business. The extra time can be used to either pursue additional clients or further monetize current client relationships.

Another noteworthy way a partnership with a different firm can help you grow your business, is through quality lead generation platforms. Many Financial Planners are highly skilled Advisors but not good marketers. Many are great marketers but prefer to focus on other things. Being handed qualified client leads can be an enormous benefit to many Advisors looking to grow their business.



This simple litmus test can be used at every stage in the process of a transition. If you have just begun to contemplate a move, it can be used to determine if you should further research what value-adds are being providing by firms to attract additional Advisors. If you are about to sign a deal to sell you practice or partner with another firm/Advisor, it can be used as a tool to either reinforce your decision or cause you to reconsider. Although the process of deciding to move, merge, or sell your business is much more intricate than this simple anecdote, it will always serve as a high-level guide to any decision in this regard.

Advisory DNA has been guiding Financial Planning Professionals and Wealth Management Enterprises through the process of such decisions for more than a decade. Regardless of where you are at in the process, if you would like to talk to one of our consultants about the future of your partnerships, email us at “info@AdvisoryDNA.com” to request a complimentary consultation or additional information.

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