Continuity of Service and Stewardship across Generations
AUTHOR: Todd S. Healy
The Origin of Our Client Continuity Merger
When Texas Financial Partners came together in 2015, we came up with a model that emphasized continuity of service. We called it a client continuity merger, and as far as we know, it’s never been done before.
When I entered the life insurance business nearly four decades ago, for the first year I was an agent representing an insurance company. The company valued me for selling their products, but my clients valued my knowledge and experience. They trusted my ability to hear their concerns and develop effective life insurance solutions. I preferred sitting on my clients’ side of the table—and many colleagues across the industry had the same feeling.
That change in values led away from the agency model and gave rise to an independent business owner model. This new model allowed our firms to develop customized resources and services, delivered with objectivity, integrity, and professionalism. However, it also meant that clients were dependent on one service provider to look after their needs.
Even though I still love this business and don’t plan to leave it, the one hitch with independence is: what happens to clients when you do leave—voluntarily or involuntarily? We don’t want our clients to have any doubts about their access to advice and service. Texas Financial Partners is a significant development because it helps solve that problem.
Commitment to Continuity of Service
Many experienced and knowledgeable life insurance advisors are facing the challenge of preparing their clients for when they leave the business. They expected to bring in a talented younger partner to take over, but that takes time and attention. Suddenly it’s too late. Selling firms to other like firms or to outside buyers rarely works out. We can’t just close our doors and walk away, but those were the choices until now.
Our client continuity merger brings together prominent life insurance advisory firms that agree to preserve high standards of client service when transitions occur and to develop younger directors who can extend our client relationship commitments for generations. We’ve been pleased to see a wave of strong positive reactions among clients and advisors. It shows how big a concern the inevitable departure of trusted advisors becomes, and our strategy takes that weight off client shoulders.
How A Continuity Merger Maintains Client Services, Even When Advisors Leave
Nothing says advisors have to prepare for their exit from the industry, some just lock the doors and walk away. Without a client continuity plan insurance companies redistribute the client information among younger agents—not for client service but to create sales opportunities. Client concerns go to voicemail.
That may work in some market segments, but not the top tier where complex multigenerational estate plans, family business plans and philanthropic plans rely on life insurance funding. We don’t simply work with our clients, but we maintain long-term relationships with family advisors, attorneys, CPAs, family business managers and so forth. Our clients expect and trust us to always be on top of what needs to be done. When my partners and I took those entrepreneurial steps decades ago, we accepted that responsibility. Now our intentions have to become reality. That’s Texas Financial Partners’ motivation.
Family Stewardship over Generations
Continuity of service translates to stewardship across the generations. For example, I began working with a Texas family enterprise years ago that is now a large successful company involving three generations. We worked closely with all three and became the bridge between them. Our next-generation advisors can keep extending the bridge.
To understand the importance of multigenerational stewardship, I like to think of our work as that of a football coach. The first generation [or G1] wealth holder is like the quarterback, hoping to pass wealth down through the generations, just like the quarterback passes the ball to his receivers. But if the coach is only coaching the quarterback, there’s no guarantee that the receivers will be able to stick to the game plan. The ball might fail to advance, or be lost altogether.
It’s easy for G1 advisors to only coach the quarterback, and not the receivers. It can be hard for them to relate to G2 or G3 family members, or to maintain a consistent financial strategy after wealth has been passed along from the G1 wealth holder. In order for effective decisions to be made, there must be clarity of goals and objectives. If the goals and intentions of G1 are lost, they are hard to recreate. G1’s solid plan can fracture, dissolving family harmony.
TFP has a unique process to support family stewardship over generations. More than a philosophy or psychology, it supports effective decision-making and execution. That’s where our continuous attention and advice pays off.
Texas Financial Partners’ client continuity merger represents a dynamic shift toward long-term service stability in family financial planning. Our model of collaborative expertise provides careful service to its clients now, and into the future. Even as things change over time, families can count on TFP to provide the same depth of service.
To contact Todd: