Successful transitions rely upon a carefully orchestrated plan executed by a team of internal experts who bring experience in operations, compliance, marketing, and client service. While the multitude of details that go into any transition may seem overwhelming, knowing that your move is supported by a qualified transition team will provide peace of mind. Doreen K. Thompson, Senior Vice President, B. Riley Wealth Transition Manager, invited two key contributors to the B. Riley Wealth transition team, Steve Bonnema and Irene Griffis, to share their perspectives on what can make, or break, a successful transition.
"Every advisor's business has unique qualities. At B. Riley Wealth, we understand that and focus on addressing those qualities as part of a customized transition plan," says Steve Bonnema, Chief Administrative Officer, B. Riley Wealth. "Planning is the most important factor in the execution of a successful transition. A Transition Manager truly is your lifeline during a critical period prior to and during your onboarding.
Time and again, we find that advisors who follow the advice and guidance of their Transition Manager are rewarded with better client retention and a more positive experience overall. Advisors who are responsive in providing requested information in a timely manner will help ensure that their transition plan can be completed as anticipated. The first step in this process is to select a transition date that works for you, your family, and your clients. Because the transition period will demand a great deal of your time and attention, it's important to select a date as free of other commitments as possible in order to fully focus on your move. A final piece of advice I'll offer is to stay organized and communicate often with clients via email, letters, cards, and phone calls. If you get this part right, your business won't skip a beat after the transition."
According to Irene Griffis, Director of B. Riley Wealth's Independent Network, "there are four stages an advisor needs to consider to prepare a fully detailed transition plan which will ultimately result in a successful move."
Stage 1 | REGROUP
Prior to your start date with your new firm, regroup with your clients. Reiterate the importance of your relationship as a long-term partnership. Whether or not your current firm is a broker protocol participant is an important consideration as you prepare for these conversations - be sure to discuss plans with your Transition Manager before beginning to avoid costly missteps.
Stage 2 | REFLECTION
Professional Reflection. Consider what you do each day, and how you get things done for your clients. What tools and resources do you use (e.g., marketing, CRM, etc.)? Review and make sure you get all your Continuing Education (CE) completed and out of the way (even if it's ahead of time) to save time through your transition and alleviate some additional stress. Review any websites that you access to conduct business outside of your firm's applications and make note of the website addresses and/or logon credentials.
Personal Reflection: During the workday, we all access certain information of a personal nature. Make sure that you have personal contact names and addresses, user IDs and passwords, etc. Consider your access to your current Benefits and 401(k) information. Get prescriptions filled, and consider making doctor appointments for yourself and your family prior to your resignation if needed.
Stage 3 | CONNECT/SCHEDULE/MEET/OBTAIN COMMITMENTS
Once you have resigned, are in your new office, and your licenses are transferred, you have the green light to begin. The race is on! Call and/or meet with every client. Clients have a choice — let that choice be you. So, connect, schedule, meet with, and obtain commitments from your clients!
Stage 4 | DETAILS AND FOLLOW UP
Throughout your transition, tracking all details for clients are top priorities. You must be organized. Transitions are ORGANIZED CHAOS events. Constant reprioritizing and staying on top of all details and follow-up items are critical aspects of a successful transition.
When considering a move, make sure you go in with eyes wide open with respect to how your new firm will support your transition, and what will be required of you in this process. B. Riley Wealth's transition experts are ready to guide and support you through a successful move. Contact us to learn more.
Doreen K. Thompson
Senior Vice President, B. Riley Wealth Transition Manager
Doreen has managed hundreds of successful transitions over her 30-year financial services career. Her knowledge and experience cover nearly every aspect of brokerage operations — she's worked in a branch office, in technology, and held positions with a clearing firm. She views her current role as Transition Manager as the most important of her career because she knows how critical onboarding is to an advisor's success and reputation.
Steve Bonnema Chief Administrative Officer, B. Riley Wealth
Steve has been an instrumental member of B. Riley's executive leadership team since joining the firm in 2002. Over this time, his deep knowledge of operational platforms and hands-on involvement with new advisor onboardings has provided advisors with the jump start needed to convert the majority of their assets to B. Riley.
Irene Griffis Director, B. Riley Wealth Independent Network
Irene joined B. Riley Wealth in 2014 and spent several years as the branch manager of the firm's Nashville, Tennessee branch. In that role, Irene was responsible for recruiting and onboarding several advisors. She was recently named director of the firm's independent network of 250 representatives. Irene serves as a key partner, coach, and mentor as she helps advisors to transition and build their practices at B. Riley.