It took Nancy Caton eight years and several detours before she found the succession solution for herself, her clients and her firm, Caton Financial in the San Franciso Bay area.
On Wednesday, Carson Wealth Management announced that Caton and her RIA firm, with $218 million in AUM, will become the first public partner of Ron Carson’s Carson Institutional Advisory (CIA) platform, and will continue to run her firm and serve her clients, and look for new ones, as the head of Carson Wealth’s San Francisco branch.
“For eight years I’ve been trying to get some kind of succession plan going,” Caton said in an interview on Thursday with ThinkAdvisor, but joining CIA “solved all of my problems.”
A long-time Raymond James advisor, Caton, now a “very young 65,” attempted three different solutions to succession planning—hiring and attempting to groom a more junior advisor to be her successor; hiring an advisor from a bank; and bringing on an ex-wirehouse person. None worked out, for various reasons. She then explored the notion of “finding somebody who had money,” hiring a business broker and “trying a bank” as a buyer for her firm, which “turned into a disaster.” After those detours, she spoke to Ron Carson, who she had known for 18 years, and eventually decided to cast her lot with the new platform, which Carson announced last year.
Caton began her succession planning adventure out of concern for her clients, but throughout that adventure, she discovered “it’s difficult to find people who share” the same ethics and holistic approach to serving clients without being product-focused.
“One of the best parts” of joining CIA, she said, is that “I’ll get rid of that ‘running my business’ part of my job; the HR department is closed.” Instead, she will “have the ability to spend my days” with her clients, “to do what I do best,” while taking advantage of Carson’s research and investing offerings. “I think the clients will be excited” about the new structure of her business, “we can improve their investment situation; we can lower their fees.” She’s had no negative feedback at all from her clients, she reports: “Everybody has been excited; enthusiastic.”