Financial Advisor, Transitioning to a new BD or RIA

3 Crucial Steps to Avoiding a Disaster

In the 2023 J.D. Power Financial Advisor satisfaction study, Craig Martin, executive managing director and head of wealth and lending intelligence at J.D. Power said “Right now, many advisors are starting to question whether their firm is committed to providing them with the support and resources they need to succeed.” I find a lack of satisfaction in financial advisors I talk to every day. With endless amounts of consolidation and change happening in the financial services industry advisors are craving stability and many are choosing to change firms as a result.

Financial advisors looking to transition should take these three steps to have the best results:

  1. Professional guidance- If you are leaving a wirehouse, regional firm, bank or any structure with a non-compete/non-solicit agreement in place, have a securities attorney read your contract for insights. They should be able to council you on your ability to move your clients and the best approach if you are able.  It’s best to plan for worst case scenario and protect yourself as best as possible. So many advisors start reaching out to potential firms before they have gone back through the contract they signed. To save time and potential problems down the road, take this step first.
  2. Clean Data- Assuming you are able to take your clients with you in a move, technology exists that makes the process easier than it used to be. That being said, your ability to merge your client data into the forms needed for transition is contingent on you having accurate and thorough data. Time spent on updating and cleaning your client’s information prior to a move will make the process much smoother when it comes time to produce the paperwork needed for the transition.
  3. Transition team support- Like all other aspects of the due diligence process, properly vetting the transition staff and resources prior to making a move to a new firm is crucially important. Not all transition departments are the same, far from it! I suggest meeting with the transition person/team prior to making a final decision on who you are joining. Discuss their process and how involved they will be in helping you move. Do they build a customized timeline based on your start date for when things need to be completed? Do they connect you with outside resources to help with the paperwork? What kind of access do you have to this person/team once you move your licenses, are they still available to you? I also suggest a conversation with an advisor that recently transitioned. Were they lead through the process or left to figure things out for themselves?  Did they feel items were followed up on in a timely manner? Assessing the level of expertise and resources you will have access to can greatly impact the quality of your move and will potentially save you weeks if not months of time.

Transitioning a book of business is not to be taken lightly. The more you can plan for prior to your join date, the more successful your process will be.

Jodie Papike is the CEO of Cross-Search, a third-party, independent broker dealer/RIA recruiting firm that connects advisors with the right broker dealers and RIAs. For more information visit

Jodie Papike

Jodie Papike is the CEO & Managing Partner of Cross-Search, the first third-party, independent broker dealer advisor and executive placement firm. Since joining Cross-Search in 1997, Jodie has been consulting with financial advisors transitioning to new independent broker dealers, guiding them through the entire process of identifying their most appropriate options, negotiating a deal and transitioning clients. Jodie has an intricate knowledge of the securities industry and a deep understanding of each of the major independent broker dealer firms, enabling her to help advisors find and transition to a broker-dealer that best suits their needs. Cross Search has placed thousands of advisors, producing more than 375 mill. in gross dealer concessions. Jodie takes the utmost pride in finding a firm for an advisor that will not only better their career, but will also be a good home for them for years to come. Jodie is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, is regularly quoted and published in publications such as Investment News, Registered Rep, Financial Planning, Life Insurance Selling and Advisor One. Jodie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State, graduating with honors.

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