Early on in his career, Chris Gure wasn't sure what direction to go in.

Fatefully, he met Joe Grabar, a managing partner at Raleigh-based Fortress Financial Partners. Though they did not join forces right away, they kept the lines of communication open for six months. Gure eventually asked to join Grabar’s growing independent office. Grabar said if he was willing to commit, he would take him under his wing.

“He shares that same kind of passion to help people,” Gure says. “You can’t fix everyone’s problems, but if you’re willing to listen, there’s something that you can do to help put them in a better position than when they first met you.”

Perhaps the most difficult thing about finding a senior partner is finding someone that matches you personally and professionally. For Gure and Grabar, not only did they share the same passion, they both have a fiercely competitive personality and the same sense of purpose.

“You’re about to hitch your wagon to someone else and their business,” Gure says. “Make sure you do your due diligence to be confident that that’s the right person to lead the charge.”

That means examining what their process is for attracting and retaining clients, how they are making money and whether they are putting their money where their mouth is, Gure says. When he was brought on board, he immediately asked to see the books to see where the revenue was coming from.

Also, be sure that the firm is ready to bring on a junior adviser. The firm should be growing so that the senior partner can run their business while the junior adviser can help with the detail work. There should be a clear process for onboarding and paperwork so that when the junior partner finally gets in front of a big account, they will have all the knowledge they need to close their own business.

“When you’re introduced to a client, you need them to feel comfortable enough that anyone on the team can pick up where you left off,” says Heather O’Neill, a president of Michigan Financial Advisors. “It gives the client consistency.”

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