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Michael Kitces’ #FASuccess Podcast: Chip Munn’s Signature Acquisition Strategy

Signature Wealth’s Managing Partner Chip Munn describes the firm’s strategy of buying books of business and then handing them off to younger advisors who can service the clients.

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Welcome back to the 105th episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast. My guest on today’s podcast is Chip Munn. Chip is the co-founder and managing partner of Signature Wealth, a hybrid wealth management firm on the Raymond James platform that has quickly grown from $300 million to over $1 billion in assets in just the past few years. What’s unique about Chip is the way that he’s grown the firm, with an acquisition strategy focused on buying books of business from advisors who are retiring and leaving the industry, and then handing them off to younger advisors who can service the clients, and using the credibility and experience of the firm and its team to help clients get comfortable with the transition to their new young advisor.

In this episode, we talk in-depth about what it was like for Chip’s firm as they transitioned from a regional broker/dealer to the independent model under Raymond James, how trying to hire staff and gain economies of scale created challenges growing the advisory business, why Chip ultimately decided to create an option for other advisors to affiliate under Signature to solve those challenges for other solo advisors, and why there’s still such an opportunity to support advisory firms that have chosen the independent model, because being independent doesn’t necessarily mean that we want to be alone.

We also talk about Chip’s process for acquiring advisory firms. How they created a structured questionnaire for the advisor to dictate answers in order to quickly build a historical record of all of a client’s relevant information, the way they focus on telling the story of Signature and its greater resources to persuade the clients to stay through the transition, how they position young lead advisors as part of a team to get transitioning clients comfortable, and how they do semiannual events for clients in each branch office location to keep clients engaged with the firm.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Chip talks about his own evolving role in the advisory business as it grows. The way he’s reallocated a portion of his time from developing client relationships to developing team members, how he’s identified his own unique ability, and the way that he repositioned leadership duties with his business partner, in recognizing that he’s a visionary and his partner is the business integrator.

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