Things happen fast in the digital age. In the old days, you received a wire, a letter, or you joined a conference call. Today you might hear about it when you receive a notification on a smartphone.
Your broker-dealer sold to another firm.
We react in a visceral way to events like this. We remind ourselves, “Business is business.” But at some level we feel hurt, maybe even betrayal, to say nothing of the inevitable headaches which come with switching firms! At best, you lose three to six months productivity. So…what’s next?
Take these five positive, proactive steps.
- Don’t Panic
- Communicate With Clients
- Decide What You Want
- Negotiate From Strength
- Always have “Plan B”
“Only 8% of our worry will come to pass. 92% of our worry is wasted. DON’T PANIC” ― Mark Gorman
While change presents challenges, it also presents opportunities for growth. While your BD makes a difference, people do business with you. Contrary to what they would have you think, your BD is not your family and you don’t work for them. Your relationships will continue, but like all relationships you must be intentional in continuing them. Your BD is a vendor; you are their customer. While circumstances exist which are outside your control, what’s important is how you react to them. Be methodical in your approach to the change and keep asking, “How can I use this to grow and improve?”
Communicate With Clients
Do not let your clients hear about this from someone other than you. You get on the phone immediately and tell the client the following:
- This does not change the nature of our relationship.
- You continue to be their advisor.
- You work for them, not the BD.
- You are doing your due diligence to make certain the new firm provides all the tools you need to take care of your clients’ needs. If they don’t, you will look at other options.
You send out a letter ASAP and force this issue with compliance. This is not marketing; it is client correspondence. Send a simultaneous compliant email. Also, in a compliant manner, post the news release on your social media platforms.
Decide What You Want From A Broker-Dealer
If you ever need to consider your other options, consider what you want and need from the BD Relationship. Rank these factors according to your top five priorities, and put together an RFP. What do you want and need?
- Additional Compensation
- Advanced Planning Capabilities
- Brand Power
- Concierge Service For Advisor
- Contact Management Platform
- Expense Reimbursement
- Financial Stability
- Inter-Firm Networking
- Intra-Firm Networking
- Lead Generation
- Licensing Support
- Management Opportunities
- Marketing Support
- Planning Software
- Product Selection
- Public Visibility
- Recruiting Potential
- Relocation Opportunities
- Sales Management/Leadership
- Trips & Conferences
Be Proactive and Negotiate From Strength
Don’t “wait and see what the new firm has to say.” Explore your options and see what the market will bear. This is a negotiation. Develop your Zone Of Potential Agreement, set the Anchor Point(s), and negotiate.
Always Have A “Plan B”
BD Changes, especially if unanticipated, show the need to always have a Plan B. Even when the dust settles, know your Plan B. While never easy, BD Changes can be an opportunity. You have the ball; run with it!