It is hard to believe that it is December already and the end of 2019 is nearly upon us. For some reason this year in particular I feel like I am behind the eight ball in what I had hope to accomplish by the end of the year. With the change in season, the darkness falling earlier and preparing to turn the last page of the calendar, I begin to think about what I have done and what remains on my list. We are probably all a bit the same that way, I would guess.
When I was perusing the trade headlines this morning, I found that the headlines around Financial Advisors and Succession Planning are little changed – like this one “Aging, retiring advisors behind the curve on succession planning”. It seems that advisors are still not getting “Make a Plan for Succession” off their to do lists.
Each time I read these headlines, I am surprised. Continuity and succession have long been a part of the discussion both in the press and by custodians. There is a strong consensus among advisors themselves that it is an important practice to protect both their clients and their family. Over the past several years, there has also been increased scrutiny by the regulators during audits who are looking to see what plan an advisor has in place in the event that the advisor is unable to care for clients.
What has changed over the years is the number of options available to advisors. Some are complex and some are simple. Our own PRISM program can be put in place in as a little as a week with just a little bit of due diligence information exchanged. We have more than 50 PRISM agreements in place with independent RIAs across the country.
Putting a plan in place before year end has a number of advantages. For example, executing an agreement before year end will allow you to include the information in your next ADV filing. And it is something that can be discussed in client reviews in the first quarter of the new year. Our experience has been that clients do worry about what will happen to them if something were to happen to their advisor. They are very pleased to hear from their advisor that they have put a plan in place. Additionally, regulators are conducting audits with increased frequency. Sometimes as often as every two years! Completing a continuity plan now means regulators will be satisfied when your day comes.
Maybe now is the time for you to finally check “Make a Plan for Succession” off your to do list. Don’t know where to start? Give us a call. We are happy to help.