Acquiring a Financial Advisory Firm? Ensure the Transition is a Happy One (Part Two)

This is the second part of a two-part blog about communicating with the clients of a Financial Advisory firm that is being acquired. Part one covered how to communicate and this part looks at what to say.

Don’t assume

Just as you have a choice in selling or buying the business, your new clients also have a choice in whether or not they want to stay in the relationship. Therefore, it is important to be careful in how you word your communication, making sure to make no assumptions. This is a risky time for the client and it is best to adopt a tone which is adult to adult and shows them that they matter and are not just a commodity.

Next steps and continuity

What’s happening next? Give your clients concrete information and facts about what is happening along with the timescales involved.
Clients may worry about the effect this change may have on the service they receive. To put their minds at ease, place emphasis on the continuity they will receive, particularly if there will be a continued involvement.
Other things to mention are how the values of the two firms align and also how the new firm is a great fit. Let them know that they can expect the same level of service that they are used to.

Accountability

The relationship between client and adviser is a highly trusted one and you are introducing change. Therefore, clients need personal reassurance and for you to take on responsibility and be accountable. You can do this by giving your contact details in case they want to talk. Alternatively, you could give them the Managing Director’s name and a chance to talk to them, helping to safeguard the relationship.
While you can do your best to ensure that you build good relationships with your new clients, don’t expect to gain their trust straight away. We recently undertook client research where we talked to clients of an acquiring IFA two years after the acquisition. Our results found that they were happy with the service received but thought it was still early days in the relationship.
There’s a lot to think about when communicating with clients of an acquired firm, including who should it come from, which brand to use and paying attention to the details that will make a good impression on the client. The key in securing your new clients is to write communications that support human contact so as to build and grow trust over time.

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