Dealing With Unresponsive Vendors

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

We are a recent breakaway team from a difficult situation. It’s a long story but we had been aligned with a lead advisor who essentially created connected “pods” of advisors under his umbrella. He is a great guy and the concept made sense. But over time (nine years) we (my partner and I) found we were paying for a lot of things out of our own pockets that should have been covered by the 40% overhead fee we were paying to “John,” the lead advisor.

We decided it was time to split off and go on our own. John was not terribly happy. We are one of the bigger teams under his umbrella, so it created difficulty for us in making the move. We were in a position to find new providers and have our clients sign new paperwork. We have spent endless hours just to get the new firm up and running.

I’m not writing about any of this – that’s the backstory. I’m writing to ask why the advisory profession isn’t set up to provide more human-oriented support to advisors who are trying to transition. The amount of signatures we are getting from clients, the unanswered calls we place to partners who are supposed to be “supporting” us, the run-around we get at the firms our clients have products with (insurance and annuities) – it is exhausting. It was hard enough to make the decision and to take the steps to do what we are doing. But our experience with the teams who are ostensibly set up to partner with us and provide support and, by the way, who want our assets in one form or another… it’s been challenging.

I know you talk about the human element for advisors in dealing with their clients. But why aren’t we as a profession looking at this more broadly? Advisors are also in need of support and it’s crazy how complicated it gets.