Succession Planning for a Solo Office: What to Do?

Posted by adaniels in Blog on February 1, 2012

Financial advisors give their clients advice all the time on succession planning. But what happens when they are the ones who need to do the succession planning, for their own businesses? takes a look at one person in that situation.

Jon Ten Haagen, 68, of Huntington, New York, has $35 million in assets for his small company. He said he has tried to bring in junior financial advisors to his business, but it just has not worked out so far. He is not ready to retire, but he says he knows he needs to think about the next step. The financial advisor has a book, and makes regular appearances on local TV, and would like to find a way to capitalize on that, and to make his business more attractive to future buyers. talked with three advisors about Ten Haagen’s situation. Chip Roame of Tiburon Strategic Advisors says: “I think this advisor needs to understand what he’s up against. Solo practitioners, especially those with a pretty small practice, generally find it challenging to add people and do succession planning.” Roame suggests better marketing on his TV appearances — listing and saying his phone number right away – and to bring in another advisor on salary or a cut of the revenue, not on commission.

Philip Palaveev of Fusion Advisor Network, which is based in Elmsford, N.Y., says that the Long Island-based financial advisor ought to consider a different approach to bringing in a younger advisor. “I know of at least two or three practices in his area with guys in their 30s and 40s who would love to explore a partnership with him,” Palaveev tells “He would maintain his independent practice, use their administrative support, and when the time is right to retire, they would back him up.”

And Hellen Davis of Indaba Training Specialists suggested that Ten Haagen “go to a firm with some advisors in their 40s, people who are 15 years or so younger than he is. Then he’d tell them he just wants an office there, with a view to possibly transitioning his clients in five to seven years. That means going with younger financial planners already running a practice, instead of people with little experience.” She thinks that Ten Haagen’s TV appearances will make him even more marketable.

Written by Lisa Swan


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