Broker Check


You are a financial advisor, and you have decided that it is time to move your business to another firm/broker-dealer.  Transition planning can seem overwhelming at first, and the thought of repressing all your client's accounts might just be enough to put off a move.  However, transition planning doesn’t have to be painful or negative, but rather another opportunity to engage with your clients, tell your story, and grow your business.  Let’s start with the process. Depending on the type of transition you are planning, typically 60-90 days allow you the proper time to plan and implement.  Here is a sample transition checklist that our firm uses designed for an advisor launching a new company. Regarding tasks, we will break them into four categories: Marketing, Running the Business, Licensing, and Client transition, with dates and responsibilities before, during, and after your transition.


The marketing piece is one that often gets overlooked but could be the most important of them all.  Whether you are creating a whole new brand, website, or social media channels or looking to expand on your existing ones, you can contact each of your clients and explain to them what you are doing and why you are doing it.  Whether it is moving to an independent platform to be able to put their best interest first or partnering with another advisor and entering into a succession plan to ensure their accounts will continue to be serviced after you are gone.  This story told through phone calls, meetings, videos, website content, and social posts, allows you to enhance your brand with your clients further and, more often than not, turns into additional referrals and business.  If part of your transition is starting your own company, this will also include establishing a brand, creating a logo, launching a website, and creating a branded email domain.  Start with your brand. If you don’t already have one picked out, think about what will resonate with your clients; pick a name meaningful to them, not necessarily you.  The next step is to perform a search on your secretary of state's website and confirm the business entity name is available.  After that check the domain, you can go to and research and secure domains, remember the domain doesn’t need to match your business name exactly, rather it will be your website and email address.  At this point, it is also a good idea to check with the compliance department at the new firm to confirm that the advertising department will approve the name you have chosen.  After doing this, you can obtain your federal tax EIN and set up your business bank account.  From there, you can engage with companies such as FMG or Broadridge to help get your website started.  All with the goal of when you are ready to transition, you have established your brand and have a website that clients can visit to learn more about what you are doing and why.


A transition is a great time to review your current business structure and implement changes to enhance your client's experience and increase office efficiencies.  We also recommend during a transition to review your current technology offering, and in many cases, simplifying can not only help you but will make your office more efficient and may save you a little money.  Here are some key areas to look at, along with different companies that may fit what you are looking for and your technology setup.

CRM: Manage client relationships and document client interactions.  Create processes and workflows, including customer journeys:   •   Redtail   •   Wealthbox

Financial Planning Software: Provide financial planning and advice to clients.  Access to a secure client portal and account aggregation:   •    eMoney   •   MoneyGuidePro   •   RightCapital

Clearing Platform: Trading, clearance, and settlement of securities transactions.  Preparing and Sending Statements.  Custody and delivery of funds:   •   Fidelity Investments- National Financial Services   •   BNY Mellon- Pershing

Wealth Management Platform: Manage client assets, including proposals, account opening, client reports, and billing:   •   Envestnet   •   AssetMark

Consolidated Client Reports and Performance Reporting:   •   Albridge

Marketing/Website Hosting:   •   FMG Suite   •   Broadridge

Software:   •   Microsoft Office

Bookkeeping:   •   QuickBooks

Scheduling software:   •   Once Hub

Virtual client meeting:   •   Zoom

Document Management:   •   Docupace

Cybersecurity:   •   Entreda



If  you are joining a new broker dealer or an existing RIA, they should have a process for transitioning your licensing through a U-4 filing and temporary dual registration.  If you are launching your own RIA there are firms such as RIA in a Box or XY Planning Network that may be right for you depending on what business you are ultimately looking to run.  The key areas to look at from a licensing perspective are, what states do I need to be securities, RIA, and insurance licensed in, and then what carriers do I need to be appointed with to continue to service my clients.  This process allows you to review your current clients, and over time, you may have brought on clients that are no longer a fit based on your business or their location.  This can be a great opportunity to transition those clients to another advisor who may be able to provide them with better service and, in doing so, reduce your licensing costs.   


Client Transitioning

The client transition is generally where advisors start and then stop when they are contemplating changing firms.  Getting individual client consent to move their account from your current firm to your new firm can be daunting.  However, with updated technology, the process for getting the client's signatures on paperwork has improved, and the client transition is less about signing paperwork and more about what you are doing and why.  If you decide that changing or launching your own firm is the right decision for your clients and business, creating a comprehensive client transition strategy will ensure you retain your existing clients and allow you to tell your story and grow your business.  When you start to think about the messaging to clients, break it into these areas: what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how it affects them.  Create talking points for each of these, and then start to create your client communication plan.  This can include messaging on your website, a video emailed to your clients, or a postcard with your new firm information, but most importantly, it comes through your conversations with clients.  If you have planned properly for your transition, we recommend leaving your first week to simply calling clients, letting them know what you are doing and, most importantly, WHY.

Transitioning to a new firm or launching your own firm can seem like an overwhelming process, and if you are doing well at your current firm, it might seem like too much to do at this time.  However, think about the business you want to be running, and if making a change makes sense for you and your clients, then think about a transition as an opportunity to create and build a brand, streamline your business, and recommunicate your value to clients.