Transitioning to
a New Firm

Besides money, what perks can be added to the negotiation?

As most employees know, there’s more to job satisfaction than just salary. The various benefits and perks offered can have a big impact on your decision to transition to a particular firm. What perks are on the table when negotiating a position at a new firm? Read on to learn about the most common negotiable benefits.

Sales support – When changing firms, most advisors have a goal of growing their book of business. To do so, you need dedicated, paid sales support. Having a sales team working to grow your business can free you from many administrative tasks and allow you to focus on building relationships.

Firms typically commit to sales support based on a ratio of production to assistance. This provides an opportunity to negotiate that ratio to your benefit. The more support you can negotiate, the better opportunity you will have to grow your business.

Travel and entertainment expenses – Be sure to negotiate a budget for travel and entertainment, as these expenses can quickly add up. Oftentimes, a travel and entertainment budget is based on a certain percentage of assets under management. There’s an opportunity to negotiate both the percentage and the timeframe for which the budget is guaranteed. Try to ensure travel and entertainment reimbursements are available for a minimum of one to two years.

Asset thresholds – Before starting negotiations with a potential new firm, take time to review your assets under management and identify any assets that cannot be moved. While many firms have dropped back-end bonuses, big players such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and RBC continue to offer back-end bonus incentives for significantly growing your assets. If a back-end bonus is on the negotiating table, it’s in your best interest to have an accurate idea of what assets you can reasonably expect to transfer with you to the new firm. It’s in your benefit to lower your AUM to allow for more growth and bonus potential.

Office space – Office-related expenses can quickly add up. If you require office space, software programs, technology, printers, etc., be sure to negotiate these costs up front as part of the deal.

The number one piece of advice for any advisor negotiating a transition to a new firm is GET IT IN WRITING! Every single point, large or small, must be included in your employment contract. While this may seem like a no-brainer, I’ve worked with many advisors who were verbally promised certain perks or benefits by a manager they had grown to trust, only to have that manager leave the firm. At that point, there’s no recourse if the new manager doesn’t follow through. When push comes to shove, side agreements don’t carry any weight. Put it in writing!

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help negotiate your transition to a new firm, I’d love to have a conversation. Please email me at, call the office at 212-687-5490 or call or text me at 917-747-4805. At Michael King Associates, we specialize in helping advisors find their ideal place and achieve their best career path. We are your go-to “MATCHMAKERS!”

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