As 2018 winds down, we would like to acknowledge the achievement of a significant milestone: the five year anniversary of our continuity and succession solution, PRISM.
Pinnacle Advisor Solutions was founded in 2011 with a simple mission: to support the needs of independent advisors. We began by offering access to our investment management, financial planning and practice management solutions. Before long, many advisors were asking if we also offered a continuity and succession planning solution. They realized that they needed one, not only to care for existing clients (who were often friends as well as clients), but also to address the concerns of prospective clients – the “what happens if I get hit by a bus” scenario? We investigated as many potential solutions as we could find, and discovered there were none that provided protection for clients AND allowed the advisor to remain independent. And so, PRISM was born in 2013.
PRISM is designed to be a simple, straightforward, compliant solution which provides that in the event an advisor is unable to continue to operate the firm due to sudden disability or death, clients will be cared for by Pinnacle as their own, and that the advisor’s estate will receive compensation for the value of the firm. Pinnacle will only enact the agreement when notified of a triggering event. The agreement is revocable at any time, so that independent advisors remain free to change course down the road.
Our first PRISM agreements were with our existing Strategic Partners. Later, we opened the program up to non-partners, and participation expanded quickly. We now have complete, executed agreements with nearly 50 firms in 24 states around the country. These agreements protect almost 3,500 clients and just under $2.5 billion in assets.
As interest in PRISM began to grow, advisors also started to ask “Now I know what will happen to my clients should something happen to me. But how would this work if I were to retire?” Pinnacle’s succession solution is multifaceted, and flexible, and offers a variety of options, allowing advisors to really take control of their own futures.
Two years ago, an advisor in Pennsylvania approached us with a goal of retiring in two years. First, he became a strategic partner and transitioned his clients to the Pinnacle platform. Then, over the past two years, he worked to transition primary responsibility for his clients to his junior advisor. As of the end of September, he is officially retired. His junior advisor is now an employee of Pinnacle where she remains responsible for serving his clients and growing the business.
One of our earliest Strategic Partners decided that she was ready to put a retirement date on her calendar. However, she wanted to sell her firm but didn’t know where to begin. She took advantage of the most recent addition to our PRISM offering – the ASCEND program.
Through ASCEND, Pinnacle identified a list of possible successor candidates who were experienced planning professionals, many working for a larger firm, who were interested in breaking away and starting their own firm. After a careful vetting process, Pinnacle presented a short list of candidates to our Strategic Partner. She met and interviewed those candidates, and eventually she selected her successor. With Pinnacle’s help, she negotiated the terms of sale of her firm to her successor of choice. As part of the ASCEND program, she will continue to work at the firm for a time, showing her successor the ropes, and helping transition her clients to their new advisor. In all, the process took about nine months from the time Pinnacle started identifying candidates to the transfer of ownership of her firm.
Our mission is to support the independent advisor. We are so pleased we could help these advisors achieve their goals. They each had a different set of circumstances and needs, and a different vision for retirement. In each case we were able to find an effective solution through our programs. We are gratified by the number of advisors who have placed their faith in our PRISM program to date. We look forward to helping protect each of these advisors and their clients during their working years and to help them reach their retirement goals when the time comes.
When I write blogs, I am never quite sure when to end, and often wonder if I should keep writing. Most often, I opt for “less is more”. However, in concluding this one, I believe I would be remiss to end it there. We have an editorial calendar here and each member of the Pinnacle Advisor Solutions team is responsible for contributing blogs to our marketing content over the course of the year. I cannot take credit for the topic of this particular blog. It was the idea of Tim Mascari, our go-to PRISM guy, colleague and friend. Tim passed away suddenly and shockingly at age 38 in August. Tim was integral in the growth and success of PRISM its first five years. Well done, Tim. We miss you.