#FA Success Ep 259: Facilitating An Internal Succession Plan As The Pathway To Put Clients First, With Patricia Houlihan

#FA Success Ep 259: Facilitating An Internal Succession Plan As The Pathway To Put Clients First, With Patricia Houlihan

Welcome back to the 259th episode of the Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is Patricia Houlihan. Patti is the Founder of Houlihan Financial Resource Group, an independent RIA based in the Washington DC area that oversees $345M in assets under management for 150 client households.

What’s unique about Patti, though, is the way she’s implementing an internal succession plan with her son and a second advisor, focusing not necessarily on exiting herself from the business and maximizing the value of the sale – because as Patti notes, you can’t take it with you anyway – but instead on ensuring continuity of management and continuity of service for clients so that Patti doesn’t have to actually retire anytime soon at all.

In this episode, we talk in depth about how Patti’s internal succession plan has evolved over the years after clients began to ask her when she was going to retire (and started to highlight their own concerns about how the firm would service them after Patti was gone), the way Patti implemented a team approach where all three advisors of the firm have been in on every client meeting for years so clients have a trust relationship with more than just Patti, and how there hasn’t been any issue implementing a succession plan where Patti’s name is part of firm name – Houlihan Financial Resource Group – because the whole point is that the firm will live as an ongoing concern beyond her (and as Patti notes, if at that point the successors want to change the name, that will be their prerogative anyway!).

We also talk about how Patti structures her financial planning engagements with clients, including why Patti insists that every client needs to go through the details of their household spending as part of the planning process, why despite some naysayers about Monte Carlo analysis, as a former math teacher herself, Patti views it as foundational to having better conversations with clients about retirement, and why Patti prefers to talk about client risk tolerance, not in terms of tolerance for market declines, but instead translates it into the real dollar amount the client would potentially lose in a bear market to make sure they’re really comfortable to have that much at stake.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Patti shares what it was like getting started as a female financial planner in the 1980s when, as Patti puts it, it was very much a “man’s world” in the brokerage industry at the time, how Patti sought to reinforce her own expertise and credibility in her early years by becoming a teacher in a CFP program, and why ultimately the key to success as a financial advisor is all about building your own self-confidence first.

And so whether you’re interested in learning about Patti’s decision to opt for an internal succession plan (rather than selling her firm when she retires), her familial approach when relating to clients, or how Patti focused on her confidence and self-worth to navigate her way to success, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, with Patricia Houlihan.

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