How to switch firms and thrive

By Melissa Shin | March 10, 2017 | Last updated on September 21, 2023
3 min read

Dundee Goodman to Echelon. 3Macs to Raymond James. HollisWealth to IA Financial. Layoffs at the big banks. Bids (but no sale) for Richardson GMP.

If you didn’t switch firms last year—be it by choice, or due to a merger or layoff—you probably know someone who did. And you probably know how all-consuming the experience was.

One B.C.-based advisor, who asked not to be named, learned a lot after her firm let her go.

Now, “I will always work as if I could be let go tomorrow,” she says. Since her firm doesn’t own her clients, “I back up all info regularly and have my own contact management system.”

And it doesn’t hurt to explore your options. “I would recommend continually interviewing with other firms and picking two you’d jump to should something happen,” she says. “You have to make decisions really fast if you get let go. You don’t have time to do research.”

She immediately changed her contact info on all her social media channels so people could reach her. LinkedIn, in particular, proved to be helpful as it provides an messaging platform and automatically updates your network with any job changes.

A few weeks later, she landed at another shop, and her clients clamoured to continue working with her. “I worked about 18 hours a day,” she says. “I did it all myself, which helped me keep control of it all.”

Nicholas Miazek, senior financial planning consultant at Scotia Wealth Management in Calgary, has switched a few times by choice.

He suggests making lists of key contacts. “It’s not just your clients, it’s relationships with centres of influence, your referral network. You have to expand your thinking.” (It may be worth keeping that list once you’re done, in case you have to do it again in the future. You could update it as part of your relationship management process.)

Then, separate those folks into categories, and develop messaging for each category about why you’re making the move. Miazek suggests highlighting three key reasons. He also prioritized who needed to know first, and aimed to contact that group within a month of the move.

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“I asked for a copy of the floor plan, with everyone’s names on their cubicles and offices,” says Miazek. He also sought out people who had joined the firm relatively recently because they were familiar with the onboarding process.

Advisors agree that it takes time to transition. “Expect for the first two months that you’ll work very long hours,” says the B.C. advisor. “Watch your mental and physical health.”

Dear readers: we’ve switched and are thriving as well.

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Melissa Shin

Melissa is the editorial director of and leads Newcom Media Inc.’s group of financial publications. She has been with the team since 2011 and been recognized by PMAC and CFA Society Toronto for her reporting. Reach her at You may also call or text 416-847-8038 to provide a confidential tip.