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Blogs - Practice Perfect
How to Groom Your Successor
Thursday, December 26, 2013
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The next time you attend an industry conference, take a look around the room. Investment advisors tend to be an older lot, and studies have shown that with the baby boomer generation retirement bubble upon us, there’s a shortage of qualified financial advisors at precisely the same time that many of us will be transitioning into our own retirements.

So have you considered how much more enjoyable your own post-work years might be if you’d only take the time to mentor the next … you? “Succession” is the process of inheriting or passing along a title, office or property. It’s something that I consider integral to the maturation of any successful company.

The chief investment officer at Hanson McClain Advisors is 39-year old David Schauer. David came to work for us when he was 22 and less than a year out of college. His very first job at the firm was as a portfolio administrator, where we had him focus on analyzing markets.

It would be nice to say that we knew what we had in him right from the start, but being that Scott Hanson and I were barely in our 30s at the time, the foresight to begin grooming him as a potential future CIO was the furthest thing from our minds.

That all changed with one simple request.

BACK TO SCHOOL

After a few years toiling with research, seemingly out of the blue, the highly-reserved David asked if we would pay his tuition if he went back to school. I have to admit that the first thing that flashed across my mind was that the added workload would impact my young workaholic’s job performance.

Yet not only was that thought fleeting, it’s also the last time I’ve had that reaction when confronted by that type of request.

We had David outline his plan, and to our surprise, it included us funding not only his pursuit of the CFP designation, but also a CFA and,after that, he intended to earn a master’s degree at one of the best private universities on the West Coast.

While we understood that it would be expensive, time-consuming and challenging, we quickly agreed.

One of the deciding factors was the realization that we had someone in the fold who was serious about both professional growth and making a career in our industry. But perhaps even more importantly, David’s request hastened our own philosophical development by introducing us to the concept that by investing in him, we were investing in the future of our company, as well.

FROM ANALYST TO PART-OWNER

David Schauer has worked with us for almost half his life. He’s not “only” a financial advisor who is personally responsible for the management of over $200 million, nor as our chief investment officer is he “merely” in charge of creating our investment models.

More than all of that, while David’s intellect was apparent early on, it’s the “rounding out” of his persona that’s so gratifying. The once-shy analyst is now a primary workshop presenter—he recently hosted six workshops in three days for more than 300 people. He’s a recurring guest host on our radio program, where his articulation of complex financial topics keeps the phone lines ringing. David Schauer has become one of the faces of our company. He’s a part-owner of our firm, and the chief investment officer of, not only Hanson McClain, but of all three companies under the Hanson McClain Group umbrella. 

If you’re like me, it’s possible that your father worked at the same job for most of his career. For previous generations, just having a little security was reason enough to stick around. But that has all changed. Young people today are not becoming investment advisors, perhaps in part, because we are not providing them with the sense of permanence that may be missing from modern life. It isn’t all about compensation. It’s about investing in people and giving them a reason to call your company home.

Pat McClain is a Senior Partner and Founding Principal of Hanson McClain Advisors, Inc., a Sacramento-based independent financial planning and investment advisory firm. For more information on Pat and Hanson McClain please visit www.hansonmcclain.com

(2) Comments
This article provides food for thought. The best planning we can do is groom somebody else to be our successor so that when the time comes for us to step down,the show goes on and the client continues to enjoy seamless service.
Posted by KIMMY B | Thursday, December 26 2013 at 2:24PM ET
Pat, nice article.

During the hiring process, it's good to ask about one's career goals. And as you work with them on their career tracking, you'll start to notice which are happy with a "JOB" and which are more entrepreneurial.

Maria Marsala Elevating Your (Financial) Business

Posted by Maria M | Friday, January 03 2014 at 5:13AM ET
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