With 5-7 years left to work, lots of money in the bank, and a very solid client base that you have spent a career building, you have the high class problem of deciding how you want to live your business life for the rest of your career. Is your current firm the right place to leave your business for the next generation to manage? Is it the legacy you envisioned?
Such is the dilemma of so many top advisors who have spent a professional lifetime with one firm, never having moved or monetized their business in any meaningful way, and facing just a few short years in which to solidify their financial future and determine where they get off the train. Three basic options for the elite in our industry:
- Every quality firm offers some version of a “sunset program” where essentially the firm buys the advisor’s business from him and retains the assets under the supervision of that advisor’s junior partner(s) or another lucky recipient (this strategy is the least disruptive and certainly the easiest)
- Make a move to another major firm, accepting a high water mark transition package and then retire from that firm, taking advantage of its sunset program (this strategy allows the advisor to monetize his business twice likely within 10 years or less)
- Go independent as a way of ending your career with complete control, freedom and flexibility (this strategy is likely the one that requires the most work in the short term but guarantees the greatest payoff in the end).
While each option has its own financial implications, the real determining factor for an advisor deciding how he wants to spend the last years of his career, should be primarily about legacy: where do I want my business- and my clients- to survive me?