Successful Succession: Lay Out A Career Path
Practice Management & Professional Services

Successful Succession: Lay Out A Career Path

August 21, 2017

by Tony Vidler  CFP logo   CLU logo  ChFC logo

succession-planningSuccession planning is a major issue with an ageing adviser force, many of whom are wondering how to get their decades of accumulated equity out for their own retirement in the next 10 years.  The most popular strategy for making that happen is find somebody who will come into the practice, learn the ropes, and then pay you to leave.


So “recruitment” of replacements is a thought-consuming topic for many, and the areas which seem to consumer most thought and angst are:

  1. Where do I find them?
  2. How do I tempt them?
  3. How do I keep them after they have joined?
  4. How can I get them to buy my business from me for the value that I want (or need?) from it?


Figuring out the actual succession plan itself – which is really point 4 above – is a massive topic in its own right, and not one I will address here.  The first of the issues though always intrigues me:


“Where do I find good people who want a meaningful career with great earnings potential and the ability to become an owner of a significant business at a relatively early age?”


Uhhhmmm….everywhere.  They are literally everywhere.  Our world is full of bright young people with a work ethic and aspirations, who are looking for a career path which provides meaning in their own lives as well as the lives of others.  There is an entire generation of younger workers who aspire to earn a professional living while doing good in the world.  They are sort of semi-socialists and semi-capitalists.  They are all around us and they are looking for opportunities.


So in reality there is no issue finding them.  All you have to do really is put a catchy headline online and they will find you.  You do have to back it up with the right opportunity once they do find you though.


Opportunity is not the same as the “offer”.  It isn’t just about removing risk with a great salary package or having a ping-pong table in the staff room.  Culture matters, as does the offer when it comes to hiring right – but when it comes to hiring for succession it is about getting those right AS WELL AS laying out the opportunity.


Research suggests that achieving work/life balance features prominently for younger/newer advisers and is usually their number 1 assessment criteria.  Usually “professional growth” is not far behind though – it sometimes scores about the same level in terms of importance.  Generally the remuneration/pay opportunities come third and then the “doing good” element comes in fourth.


A career path for aspirational youngsters who can present your own succession plan broadly consists of having a solution that covers:

  1.  Induction into the culture and industry
  2. Essential (base) professional competencies
  3. Soft skills development
  4. Creating their personal marketing plan (to build their professional brand and positioning and own business opportunities)
  5. Expanding Technical Knowledge base
  6. Achieving Professional credentials
  7. Achieving seniority inside the firm
  8. Establishing a thought leadership position in the market (for them)
  9. Triggers/Benchmarks for opening ownership position discussions inside the firm
  10. Takeover strategy (which is really defining how/when the incumbents would completely step aside)


It is certainly not critical that all of these steps have all of the details designed (especially the second half of the list), but it is essential that you are able to demonstrate there is a plan for how you intend to develop the person professionally whilst preparing them for commercial success.


Successful recruitment today is actually about successful development of a career path, as that is essential for great applicants. Create a great career path and there is a very high probability that you are creating a successful succession strategy.


You might also be interested in this related article:

How To Develop Your Revenue Producers
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