We had a great relationship with Securities America and genuinely connected with those at the firm, especially Dave being around since the early days. The hardest part was leaving a firm after being there 20+ years. But, the reason we left Securities America wasn’t because we were unhappy but because we were so excited about what Inspire had to offer. The missional alignment was the main reason for our transition; the pursuit of serving God in everything we do.
Overall, the conversations went pretty well! Most clients were genuinely excited about the transition, and that is the best part of the conversation. Others weren’t excited or mad about the transition but moved with us because we are their advisors and they trust working with us, no matter where we are. A tiny portion of the client base did not agree with the transition and ultimately left. We trust God is sovereign overall! It was a nice change of pace to share our beliefs and convictions with our clients and deepen our relationship with them.
The biggest struggle we had was processing the volume of work that came in such a short amount of time. We knew it would be tough, but our convictions were tougher. Luckily the team at Inspire and the Custodian helped us prepare and process the paperwork. It did take a while to catch up on everything on the back burner while we were transitioning.
The surprising thing with the transition was how quickly we could get up and running with the new system and softwares. Several items turned out differently than initially planned, but the learning curve of the folks with Inspire made them outstanding to work together.
A few keys I would advise a potential advisor looking to join would be:
(1) Start prepping the paperwork right away so that the day you affiliate, you can send out the paperwork.
(2) Make sure there is a solid process to track the transfer of client accounts, client assets expected v. received, and accounts still waiting on the transfer.
(3) Focus on the highest priority items; a priority list will help you know what gets dealt with first due to the amount of work.
We definitely would have done a better job tracking clients in transition. We thought we had a good tracker in place, but it turns out we didn’t because it did not have TD Ameritrade or contra account numbers, making it impossible to track accounts that had moved. This resulted in us having to carve out a few days to manually input account information to track each account.
Amazing! The alignment of values and support we received from Inspire is outstanding. It feels like we are a part of a family that shares the same beliefs. We can all work together to glorify God through every aspect of our lives, work included.
We are old-fashioned and primarily do everything by phone and in-person meetings. There is a drip process on email communication, but the bulk was by phone or in person.
We explained to our clients that we are transitioning to get access to more investment choices and invest in companies that are inspiring a positive impact in our world while excluding companies that are not operating in a God-honoring way.
Yes, we have had push back from a few clients because of our beliefs which are the ones that did not move with us. One household called us ‘Bible Thumpers.’ But as Matthew 5:10 says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness.” Others were just concerned that the accounts perform well and are achieving the desired results.
We explained the reason for our screening process and let the clients know that our job is to do what is right by them. We believe & research suggests that screening for BRI/ESG has the ability to produce equal or better returns while having your dollars promote goodness in our world. Investing in companies that are engaging in activities that are not God-honoring does not create increased value, and we believe our screening provides an advantage.