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Steal to win: How bringing in advisers from competitors boosts a practice

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Although many advisory firms may not want to acquire another firm outright, many do consider stealing away stellar advisers and potentially their books of business from competitors.

Monument Wealth Management in Alexandria, Virginia, has been approached several times during the past nine years about buying another practice.

But it hasn’t bitten because the firm’s model is to grow organically and “keep our culture strong,” says Dean Catino, a CFP and the firm’s co-founder and president.

However, the firm does consider acquiring teams of successful advisers, provided they fit in with the existing business model and culture, he says.

“This type of business growth strategy does have a place, but the current team and management must be prepared for the integration,” Catino says.

In the advisory business, stealing away a team means that the acquiring firm is also able to potentially steal away clients from competitors who are within the advisers’ books of business, he says.

“Depending on the size and scope of the business being acquired, my firm has ample personnel and capacity to absorb the client service and relationship responsibilities,” Catino says.

“I would be interested in a transition agreement with the selling firm to shepherd the client relationship. This is where the time and effort will be for six to 12 months,” Catino says.

Andrew Bellak, founder and chief executive of Stakeholders Capital, is “definitely open” to luring away teams of advisers and potentially their books of business.

Stakeholders Capital, which has offices in both Amherst, Massachusetts and Santa Monica, California, specializes in socially responsible wealth management.

“Our value proposition is so unique, that teams are hungry for better alternatives to the status quo of traditional investing, and they want their work to have more of a sense of purpose and meaning,” Bellak says.

A successful team for Stakeholders Capital would be advisers who want “to infuse more purpose and meaning in their work and serve the greater good,” he says.

They should be self-starters, motivated to solve problems and take responsibility, curious about more than investing and financial planning, and they should be receptive to coaching and mentoring, Bellak says.

The firm also looks to hire both male and female and advisers as well as those from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

“It helps if candidates have some familiarity with socially responsible investing, but it's not a requirement,” Bellak says. “For those who are unfamiliar, we'd want to see an open mind and an eagerness to learn.”

This story is part of a 30-30 series on strategies to boost your practice.

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