Financial advisors were stunned last fall when industry consultant Mark Tibergien, who enjoys near celebrity status in his field, left Moss Adams for a new job with Pershing.
Behind the scenes, the surprise move set in motion a long-held succession plan that brought Tibergien’s associate, Rebecca Pomering, front and center as the head of the firm’s highly-regarded business consulting group. What still isn’t widely known: Pomering had been scheduled to take over the group in January anyway, as Tibergien handed off his management duties to spend more time with clients.
WHO: Rebecca Pomering, Principal and Practice leader, Business Consulting Group, Moss Adams, Seattle
The process was textbook succession planning — not surprising since it’s a cornerstone of the duo’s work with financial advisors.
“It’s part of our culture here. One of the factors that impacts even partner compensation is whether you’ve developed your successor. When I made partner at 29, the question was asked: Have you identified your successor? At that point, I’m thinking, my successor is still in high school,” says Pomering, now 33. “But seriously, we’ve been grooming our succession plan here for a long time. This had been in the works; it just accelerated it by a few months. Only I thought Mark would be working for me. I was excited about bossing him around.”
In her new role, Pomering oversees 50 consultants who work in a variety of industry niches ranging from financial services to construction to apparel. She and a group of 18 consultants will continue to personally provide services to financial advisors, Pomering’s longtime core constituency.
Up next for the financial services consulting group? First, Pomering will reduce her number of speaking engagements to 15 to 25 a year so that she can spend more time running the business and developing her team. “You won’t see us on every stage this year,” she says. Upcoming venues include this month’s FPA Business Solutions conference in Chicago, a National Advisors Trust meeting in Hilton Head, S.C., in April, and the annual conference of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors in Long Beach, Calif., in May. She’s also creating a study group format for small advisory firms with up to $2 million in revenue that will launch in April or June. Classes, limited to 20 advisors, will meet four times a year and concentrate on topics such as business management, strategy, human capital, compensation, financial management, succession planning and mergers and acquisitions.
“We need to find more ways to provide advice to more clients who might not be at speaking events or might not be able to work one-on-one with us,” says Pomering. “Larger advisory firms can hire someone to come in, talk to staff, make recommendations and coach on implementation. We want smaller firms to have access to the same advice — but they need to do it in a more economical way. This will involve the core things we consult on with the ability to do some in-depth work.”