Just this Memorial Day weekend, what I always think of as the start of the summer, one member of the Cambridge family of advisors had a serious accident. While enjoying the summer fun, he fell head first off of a wake board being pulled behind a boat and later collapsed unconscious. This 30-something husband, father, and trusted advisor became disabled in an instant and unable to run his practice.
We find ourselves nearing the end of summer, well past Labor Day and fortunately he is doing much better. There is strong hope that he will make a full recovery. As he recovers, the Cambridge home office has been able to work alongside his family to serve and protect his clients while preserving his business. Luckily, this particular advisor had other family members in the business and a broker-dealer that could help them because, like most of our advisors, he did not have an emergency plan in place.
In the upcoming months, you will be hearing a lot more about a program that we at Cambridge are offering to our advisors as a solution when situations like these and worse occur. Each and every Cambridge rep-advisor will be offered an emergency continuity plan that we are calling Continuity Express. Should someone who has signed this agreement die or become suddenly disabled, a SWAT team (Special Wealth Advisory Team) of licensed and experienced home office personnel will stabilize the practice. They will contact and service clients where needed in order to preserve the value of the business. While Cambridge does not wish to own practices long term, we will offer to buy the practice temporarily and then begin the process of finding a permanent buyer. This relieves the family of the burden involved in that process.
One big advantage this program offers your business is a great answer to that question you periodically get from clients who rely on you so heavily, “what will happen to me and my investments if something happens to you?” I also want to point out that this emergency plan is the first step in creating a long term succession plan that will serve you as you are in the vast majority of advisors that will retire upright rather than suddenly and prone. Our Practice Management Team stands ready to review the issues and opportunities with you.
Some of the banks and whole countries seem to have hit rough water this summer as well creating different, but more immediate “what will happen…” questions. We all need talking points and ways to absorb the flood of information in order to process and present it in understandable ways to our clients. For those who have not identified thought leaders whose ideas help them make sense of the dangers and opportunities this “new normal” is making us face, I would offer another “special wealth advisory team.” Our CAAP program now offers portfolios from 10 different strategists. And if I do say so myself, they are a smart bunch of firms run by a smart bunch of people. Whether you use, plan to use or are not currently using CAAP, these firms are Cambridge partners so they are your partners. All 10 provide market commentary that I invite you to read and use when formulating your thoughts and communicating with your clients. Anyone on the CAAP team can let you know how to access this information.
Keep an eye on what’s ahead and be ready for rough water.