Once you have decided to pull the trigger on your current firm, you must tread very carefully to avoid breaking any laws or breaching your employment contract. You certainly don’t want to wind up out of a job or worse, unemployable in your field.
To learn how to better finesse your exit, keep the following tips in mind as you plan your transition.
Is your current firm Protocol or Non-Protocol?
Since 2004 and the inception of the Protocol for Broker Recruiting, that agreement set the protocols for the exit process for registered investment advisors (RIA). But the game changed again in 2017 when Morgan Stanley (and then others) declined to continue to participate in the industry agreement.
Your first responsibility is to abide by the rules in place, either under the Protocol protections or your present employment contract. RIAs under Protocol protections have rights that include leaving with a spreadsheet of client information:
- Email contact
- Phone number
- Account number
When an RIA leaves a Non-Protocol firm, they have fewer resources at their disposal. But they are not without legal options as long as they stay within the bounds of their contractual obligations. For instance, these RIAs can access any accessible public databases for the information they need to contact clients.
Know what you can say — and when you can say it
Here is where a contract review before you make the leap can prove invaluable. The goal is to always avoid litigation, but it is even preferable to leave on as good of terms as possible under the circumstances. The financial world is small enough that you may encounter former colleagues and superiors down the line in your career. A contract review can be expanded to include an exit strategy plan with a workable roll-out of your announcement to former clients at your old firm.