Despite the persistent challenges the pandemic has brought, the desire among advisors to best serve their clients and grow their businesses remains strong. And firms looking to attract top talent are motivated to make whatever changes necessary to showcase their capabilities, conduct home office visits and complete transitions.
Those advisors who are certain that the status quo is no longer serving them best are committed to moving forward. While the process differs from the way it was pre-COVID-19, what hasn’t changed is the faith that advisors place in the leadership of the new firm and/or custodian and the legal counsel advising them to ensure that the transition will go smoothly and seamlessly.
Making a move in the best of times requires courage, patience and flexibility — along with all the due diligence that precedes it. How are advisors and firms making it happen at a time when travel restrictions, quarantines and office closures rule?
Due Diligence and Home Office Visits
Using technology, firms now are performing due diligence and home office visits (HOVs) via virtual meetings and video conferencing. The ability to conduct the due diligence process from the comfort of their home is actually the preference of many advisors, who say it saves time and provides greater confidentiality.
“Advisor interest and feedback from remote HOVs since early April has been quite positive,” according to Scott Curtis, president of Raymond James’ Private Client Group. “We’re proud that our very personal HOV experience remains flexible and translates well to a virtual engagement.”
However, because it’s harder to read body language and get the best sense of how people interact with others online than it is in person, there still are some imperfections, Curtis acknowledges.
Most importantly, though, advisors conducting due diligence need to meet with the right people at the new firm to gain the confidence in the firm, and that their business can be replicated.
What has the transition process been for those advisors who have moved? Brian Neville, an attorney with Lax & Neville, said, “In the moves in which I represented the teams, the transitions have really gone smoothly. I’ve also been very impressed by the creativity and dedication that each receiving firm employed with each move.”