Advisor Perspectives - An Interview with Recently Transitioned Advisors
by Michael King of Michael King Associates
For Wall Street advisors thinking of making a move to another firm, the options can be overwhelming. Where do you even begin? Some think word-of-mouth is the best way to go . . . it's not. There are likely many firms that could be interested in your business but you don't know what you don't know and could be missing out on some great future employers. Should you look only at wirehouses? What about regionals or boutique firms? Should you consider Independents or RIA's? And if you are lucky enough to land in front of a motivated employer, do you know what to ask for and how best to go about it? After all, you want to get the best deal possible, right? Which tends to leave the option used by most savvy Wall Street professionals: Find a trusted industry recruiter who will carefully market you to firms where you present a good fit. Remember that the hiring firms pay the recruiter's fees, so you're going to get expertise at no extra cost.
One of the industry's most trusted recruiters is Michael King of Michael King Associates. Michael believes that the best first step is to partner with a qualified
professional, who can make introductions, negotiate the best deal and help
ensure the right fit. Recently, Michael touched based with two advisors (we're going to call them "James" and "Carl in order to maintain confidences), and here's how things went:
Michael: James and
Carl, it's great to speak with you again. How are things going at your new
James: Things are great, Michael! We found a great fit and have been able to significantly grow our business since making the move.
Michael: I'm so glad
to hear things are going well. For the sake of this blog post, can you tell us
a about why you wanted to make a move?
James: Of course! We have a bit of a unique niche within the advisory world in that we identify and source early-stage medical technology and pharmaceutical companies and fund them through a network of high-net-worth investors. We wanted more independence and a bigger challenge than what we had at our previous firm. It was very important that we continue to have opportunities to bring in our own deal flow, while also having access to additional deal flow through the firm. We needed to find the right combination of independence and support, which was a difficult balancing act to achieve. We just didn't know where to start.
Michael: And how did working with us help you find that starting point?
Carl: I think it was your connections that really got the ball rolling. Even though we're not your typical fee-based financial advisors, you were able to reach out to your vast network to identify several firms that would have been good partners for us. It was incredibly important to us to have options instead of signing on with the first firm that came along, and that's exactly what you provided.
Michael: Yes, I'm so glad we were able to identify a few different firms to negotiate with. What was the deciding factor that made you choose your current firm?
James: Ultimately, it was the people. We think you found us a really good fit personality wise. We wanted a reliable team to support our efforts while allowing us to do what we do best, and we found that fit at our new firm.
Michael: Tell us a little about the negotiation process. Do you feel like you got the best possible deal?
Absolutely! In fact, at one point, Carl and I were both happy with
where we were in the negotiations, and you were actually able to enhance the
deal even more. We were not aware that an accelerated payout in the first six
months was even an option until you brought it to the table. We were extremely
well compensated for the business we transitioned with us, thanks to you
negotiating that benefit. We also received a transition bonus, which is not
something we would have thought to ask for. You definitely helped us get a
better deal, Michael!
Michael: That's my job, James! I'm glad it worked out. What other challenges did you face in your search for a new firm?
Carl: Probably the biggest challenge was COVID. Most people were still working from home, so it was impossible to meet face to face. Although James is in New York, I'm located in Florida, so I'm already a bit disconnected from Wall Street, but COVID made it even more difficult to know what was going on. If it weren't for your connections and the pulse you maintain on what's happening in the industry, we wouldn't have known where to start.
Michael: COVID was challenging for all of us, that's for sure! What advice would you give to another advisor who is considering a move?
James: Hire a recruiter . . . hire Michael King! Seriously, though. It was immensely helpful. We started the process on our own and we were all over the place. We talked to several firms, but it just never felt right. When we finally wised up and contacted you, Michael, you were able to immediately narrow down our search and find us great firms that shared our vision and goals. I really wish we had called you the moment we decided to start our search, rather than wasting our time trying to do it on our own.
Carl: Another piece of advice I learned from you is to NEVER say "yes" to any deal until you've talked to your recruiter. As James mentioned earlier, we thought we had a great deal with our current firm, but you were able to make it even better. We're so glad we relied on you to handle the negotiation because we just didn't know what we didn't know.
Michael: One thing I would add to that is the importance of getting it in writing. Never agree to a deal verbally because it just won't hold up down the road.
James: Yes, for sure! You taught us that as well, and as a result, we have everything in writing in case we ever have a disagreement.
Michael: That's so
important! James and Carl, thank you both for sitting down with me today. I'm
so glad your transition has gone well and that you're happy at your new firm.
Carl: Thank you,
Michael. You know we're happy to be references for you if you ever need