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What Should You Do Before You Switch to a New Financial Advisory Firm?

As much as you would like to stay in one financial advisory job, it is practically impossible, at least for most advisors.  If you join a different financial advisory platform, you will gain more knowledge, broader perspective, and deeper insights.

Benefits of Switching Advisory Jobs:

  • Learn how wealth management and financial advisory is practiced differently
  • Learn how businesses, products, services and operations are managed
  • Gain broader clients’ insights and how they view financial institutions differently
  • Build a wider network of wealth & investment professionals who can help you and your clients in different ways
  • Understanding of financial sales model, incentives and what drives a sustainable financial advisory model

While you might have access to more suitable products, services and business models, accumulate more experience, be more valuable as an advisor over time, when you switch jobs, it might impact clients negatively.

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When you finally decide to make the switch, you might want to hold on a second and think about the more important issue – What should you do when you before you switch to a new financial advisory firm?

No. 1 How Do You Inform Your Clients?

Challenges of Relationship Managers
Challenges of Relationship Managers

If it is your first time switching from financial institution to another, it is quite a daunting task.

  • Do you inform them after you have before or after you sign the contract?
  • Or do you inform them the day before or on the day you resign?


No. 2 Do You Need to Inform Your Clients?

But do you really need to inform your clients?  In some financial institutions such as Private Banks, the day you resign, you will be placed on Garden leave immediately.  This is to prevent you from being able to contact clients, which could mean clients and their assets would follow you to another Private Bank.  That is if you are joining another Private Bank.

Which financial advisory platform you go to would likely decide if you need to inform your clients.

  • Does your client qualify in the new platform
  • Is the new platform directly competing with your existing platform?


No. 3 Would You Want Your Clients to Follow You?

Financial Advisor
Financial Advisor

If you are switching from Personal Banking to Private Banking or an Insurance Agency to a Retail Bank, chances are most of your existing client base would be a mismatch in the new platform.

It simply means your clients will not be able to follow you into the new platform.

Getting into a new platform is exciting as you can now put together a more comprehensive, better and efficient plan on how you can manage your client acquisition, relationship, sales, product and portfolio management process.  This also means you might only want selected clients to follow you.


No. 4 Would Your Clients Follow You?

Back to reality.  Other than an uncertain financial market you are not able to control, as a financial advisor, a constant question is how strong is your relationship with clients?

When you switch your job, would your clients actually follow you? What if the platform or financial institution you will be joining is not suitable?  What if they do not like the branding?  What if they had bad experiences?  What if they just do not want the hassle of moving?

Will your clients follow you?


No. 5 How Do You Craft the Transition Process?

Relationship Manager
Relationship Manager

Assuming you already have decided (90% probability) you are switching to a new advisory platform, how do you craft the transition process?

  • Are you familiar with the new platform?
  • Are you aware of the potential problems you will encounter?
  • Do you have to inform all your clients (hundreds of them)?

The transition process is the toughest for advisors, if it is your first time switching.  There is nothing much you can do about insurance products, except when loans are used to finance some policies.

For investments products, which make up bulk of affluent and High Net-worth clients’ portfolio, the market valuations and no. of units fluctuates.  Do you have a strong transition process?


No. 6 Is the Portfolio Portable?

Since most insurance products cannot be transferred, would you not suffer a major loss of revenue and business? Are Unit Trusts portable?  Are stocks portable?  What is Portability?

Portability in the financial advisory industry means if the financial product can be transferred from one financial institution to another.  Eg, can you transfer a Russian stock from one bank to another.  Can you transfer a Unit Trust from one advisory platform to another?  Does the financial institution have the channel relationship or the operational setup with the relevant product issuer?

Portability of Financial Products:

Financial Products Portability
 Stocks, Bonds, Unit Trust, , Exchange Traded Funds, Loans High
 Structured Notes, Options, Futures, Swaps Maybe
 Insurance Products Low


Financial Platforms’ Portability:

Financial Institution / Platform Portability
Retail Banks Low
Independent Financial Advisory Medium
Brokerage High
Online Platforms High
External Asset Manager Very high
Private Banks Very High


No. 7 Will You Infringe Any Regulations and Policies?

Financial Information
Financial Information

If you are doing advisory in the banks, you are likely to be covered under relevant Banking Acts such as banking secrecy of mis-use of clients data.

If you are doing advisory in the non-banks, likely all advisors, you will be covered under the financial advisory acts in the practicing authorities.

All these means you would be regulated under comprehensive laws where you should always put your employers and clients’ interests first.

By making any attempt to get your clients to move with you, you might be infringing existing regulations and policies.  Do you know how to check if you are infringing any regulations and internal policies?


No. 8 Do You Have Anti-Competiition Obligations?

Being placed on garden leave, not being able to contact your clients for 6 months to 12 months, not being able to join a competitor for 3 – 6 months – these are common clauses in a competitive financial advisory industry.

Do you have anti-competition clauses in your contract?


No. 9 How Do You By-Pass Regulations, Policies and Obligations?

Financial Center Singapore
Financial Center Singapore

There are some that get away with it while there are a few that don’t get away with it. Do the clients belong to the financial institution or belong to you?  If the financial advice given ended up in a lawsuit, does the legal obligations belong to the financial institution or belong to you?

These are some of the toughest questions in the financial advisory business.  As much as the relationship with clients is maintained by you, you are obliged to follow the regulations and policies.

Experienced advisors do recognised the sensitivity of such issues.  Talking to an experienced advisor or the new hiring supervisor would give you better insights on how to move to a new platform, whilst ensuring you are not infringing any of the existing regulations and policies?


No. 10 Would Your Best Colleagues Help You When You Switch to a New Job?

This is one of the toughest questions to ask yourself, during this process.  Doing so might means your plans are being leaked and you would are more susceptible to being scrutinised.  Not doing so means you will have less help, and a possibly damaged relationship.

The moment you leave your existing job, you face uncertainties over:

Would your colleagues

  • Deliberately delay the administrative process for your clients to prevent portfolio transfer?
  • Do their best to retain clients?
  • Charge a high fee for transactions?
  • Provide poor service or neglect clients’ portfolio?
  • Claim bad advisory on prior products & services?

Or would they

  • Provide the best support and service to your clients?
  • Ensure smooth transfer of portfolio when the instructions are send in?
  • Charge the lowest fee for the transactions?
  • Promote your good service, advice and new platform?

It is a dilemma.  Isn’t it?  What should you do before you switch to a new advisory firm?

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