Lochhead, himself, does not have a formal succession plan in place, though his son will likely inherit his book. He attributes this, not just to a lack of time, but the overwhelming task of finding the right person to take the reins.
“Our business is a transfer of trust, so you have to find somebody who is the right fit, who is willing to come in and take over the legacy,” he says. “And, it’s difficult to do that because not everybody wants to put in the time and the hours and the commitment that it takes to be an independent financial advisor.”
Judy Chung, of B.C.-based Facet Advisors, attributes the lack of foresight – be it with retirement or succession planning – by the advisor to the “what I know, I don’t need help with” syndrome. She believes advisors put this kind of planning on the backburner because they are busy helping others prepare for the future. The last thing they want to do when they sit down at night is ponder their own retirement plans, she says. And, they certainly aren’t going to reach out to their colleagues for help, she adds.
“Dr. Heal Thyself is always a problem. When you are work on a particular thing, you are not going to go home and work on it for yourself,” she says. “There are doctors, who will go to other doctors to get treatment, but an advisor will very rarely go to another advisor for help … Because we are experts, we just don’t think that we need the help that everybody else does.”
Chung suggests firms start encouraging advisors to ‘buddy-up,’ and provide financial, retirement and succession planning advice to each other.
“That is what we need to begin doing. We can’t be objective about our own financial plans,” she says. “We need to do a better job training each other and not be so competitive of each other when it comes to sharing advice.”
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