January 12, 2012

Pershing's Business and Succession Planning Guide Highlights Potential Pitfalls Facing Many Independent Advisors

JERSEY CITY, N.J., January 12, 2012 — Pershing, a BNY Mellon company, announced today the availability of a new guidebook, Developing a Sustainable Business and Succession Plan: An Independent Advisor's Guide, which examines the critical elements of business and succession plans. This continues an ongoing series of practice management guides being developed by Pershing Advisor Solutions to help registered investment advisors (RIAs) improve their business planning and execution.

"The risks of not having a business and succession plan can vary widely – ranging from having high client and employee turnover to developing a low growth trajectory. Neglecting to implement a well-designed plan remains a blind spot for many advisors – and can conceivably be in conflict with their fiduciary responsibility," said Kim Dellarocca, head of practice management at Pershing.

Developed with Advisor Growth Solutions, the guidebook reveals that many RIA owners have not sufficiently addressed succession, as independent studies indicate less than one-third of independent advisors have either defined or implemented a succession plan.

"Succession planning is a key fundamental challenge facing the advisor community over the next decade and beyond," added John Furey, Principal of Advisor Growth Strategies, LLC. "Building a strategic framework is critical for advisory firm owners seeking to maximize the value of their business and to ensure service continuity for clients." 

Highlights from the guidebook include:

  • Key Elements of an Advisory Firm's Business Plan – To be effective, a business plan should serve a purpose and be treated as a living, breathing document where key elements are reviewed and revised on a regular basis. Key elements of focus should include: the company overview, market analysis, strategic plan and financial plan. Once completed, every firm should revisit their business plan on a regular basis to ensure it continues to meet the organization's needs and goals.
  • Succession Plan Options for Owners – RIA owners' choices for succession have never been greater; and in evaluating these options, owners of advisory firms should carefully perform their due diligence and align their personal goals with the strategic goals of their business.  
  • Mitigating Risk and Protecting Owner's Equity – Anticipating potential detours that can occur prior to the execution of a succession plan can help advisory firm owners mitigate risks and remain on course to achieve the desired outcome. To help manage risk, RIA owners should estimate the overall impact of unforeseen events and take steps to protect ownership equity. Advisors might consider several legal and insurance provisions including Key-man insurance, Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance, and buy/sell provisions that identify what will happen between owners should a variety of events occur.   
  • Resources Available to Advisors – RIA custodians, independent consultants, advisor coaches, and strategic acquirers have all developed capabilities and services designed to help independent practices manage key issues and drive industry growth.  In light of the significant amount of time required to develop comprehensive business and succession plans, advisory practices should consider leveraging key third parties that can provide best practices and create a process, timeline, and accountability mechanisms to aid in the development and execution of a successful plan.   

To obtain a copy of the Developing a Sustainable Business and Succession Plan guidebook, visit www.pershing.com/ideas_without_limits.

Pershing LLC (member FINRA/NYSE/SIPC) is a leading global provider of financial business solutions to more than 1,500 institutional and retail financial organizations and independent registered investment advisors who collectively represent more than five million active investors. Located in 23 offices worldwide, Pershing and its affiliates are committed to delivering dependable operational support, robust trading services, flexible technology, an expansive array of investment solutions, practice management support and service excellence. Pershing is a member of every major U.S. securities exchange and its international affiliates are members of the Deutsche Borse, Irish Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange and the Australian Stock Exchange. Pershing LLC is a BNY Mellon company. Additional information is available at www.pershing.com.  

BNY Mellon is a global financial services company focused on helping clients manage and service their financial assets, operating in 36 countries and serving more than 100 markets. BNY Mellon is a leading provider of financial services for institutions, corporations and high-net-worth individuals, offering superior investment management and investment services through a worldwide client-focused team. It has $25.9 trillion in assets under custody and administration and $1.2 trillion in assets under management, services $11.9 trillion in outstanding debt and processes global payments averaging $1.6 trillion per day. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE: BK). Additional information is available at www.bnymellon.com and through Twitter@bnymellon.