When is it time to bring in a partner?

Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones

senior financial advisor at Assante Wealth Management in Waterloo, Ont.


I brought in a junior person to help with capacity and business succession, and to provide specific skills.

When you reach capacity, you know. Our business doubled in the last five years, so bringing in someone was a five-minute thought process: Can I afford the salary and expenses? There’s a short-term bite, but now we handle more clients better.

My junior person provides a specific skill: working with those in the 30-to-50 age range, who may need help with life insurance, elder care and inheritances.

He has fresh ideas and is a software whiz, and all our clients take comfort knowing there’s someone in place to help them after I retire.

John Nicola

John Nicola

chairman and CEO, Nicola Wealth Management in Vancouver, B.C.

To grow a business, you need support. More important than perfect timing is identifying the form of support required. Do I hire a peer to share expenses, an assistant to develop into a colleague or partner over several years, or an advisor who would benefit from my book of business, freeing me up to find bigger clients?

I already have a book of business, so typically I look for potential and specific skills. To ascertain potential, I ask, “Can I imagine this person being in front of my clients, such as the successful physician or the business owner? Will my clients see this person as a principal advisor?” As an example of skills, I looked for youth and energy, as well as marketing and branding skills, when I brought in the advisor who became our president.

Chris Raper

Chris Raper

senior vice-president and portfolio manager, Chris Raper and Associates, Raymond James in Victoria, B.C.

I didn’t bring in a partner; I grew, molded and developed a partner for 15 years. It was about moving forward with my business, not about finances. My mentee became my partner when I couldn’t imagine the business without him. I like and respect him, he’s a team player, he thinks like an entrepreneur and he has skills I don’t—he’s [great with] clients, and I’m strong on the investment side. We became partners on an undivided interest; we have clients jointly, not as individuals. We spent a lot of time on our so-called prenuptial agreement, outlining responsibilities, profit sharing and a fair exit plan.

Agree? Disagree? Have your own question or answer? Write us at

by Michelle Schriver, assistant editor of Advisor Group.

Originally published in Advisor's Edge

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