For financial advisors in a business partnership, the decision to end the relationship can be daunting. But if both parties fundamentally disagree on how to run the business, dissolving the partnership may be necessary.
If there is a detailed partnership agreement in place, parting ways can be simple, says April-Lynn Levitt, coach with The Personal Coach in Oakville, Ont. However, if your agreement is not thorough, there can be a variety of complicated logistical and financial matters to figure out, such as who will cover business costs and who will retain the office space.
Here are three tips for making the process as painless as possible:
1. Include a mediator
The end of a business partnership can feel akin to a divorce, Levitt says, especially if you’ve been working as a team for many years. If one team member didn’t want the relationship to end, emotions can run particularly high when deciding how to split up staff and clients.
To reduce stress, bring in a third party, such as a branch manager or meditator, to ensure that decisions are handled as objectively as possible.
2. Communicate face to face
Discussions regarding the business partnership should ideally occur in person. However, if that’s not possible, Levitt says, hold conversations over the phone to reduce any chances of miscommunication.
If you want to document important facets of the conversation, you can always recap important details afterwards via email, Levitt adds. Because emotions are involved, however, you should not discuss important topics entirely by email.
3. Don’t gossip with clients
Eventually, you will have to share the news with your clients, and it is very important that you keep those conversations professional. “Give them some information,” Levitt says, “but don’t give them all of the gory details.”
Don’t blame the other advisor, identify his or her negative attributes or divulge mistakes they made with the business, Levitt says. Sharing that type of information won’t help to build up your own reputation.