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   professional development
                                   From deciding to leave your firm to settling in somewhere new, these advisor insights will help ensure a successful transition
 For more than three decades, Rod Mahrt served his
clients at the same firm. But he started to question whether his employer stood between him and his duty to clients.
“I became increasingly uncomfortable” with where the firm was heading, says Mahrt, an executive vice-president and senior portfolio manager at Wellington-Altus Private Wealth in Victoria, B.C. since September 2018.
“As a fiduciary, I was starting to see my options get- ting more and more limited. If I can look across the street and see that I can get a better rate or a better product but I’m supposed to deal with that one firm’s products, how am I being a true fiduciary?”
After 32 years, he knew switching firms wouldn’t be easy.
“The hardest thing is to reach the point where you want to leave a home,” he says. “I did not go about this lightly, and it was extremely painful to get to that point.”
However, his doubts proved too important to set aside. “Why compromise on where you work?” he says.
Kevin O’Hagan, a financial advisor in Calgary who moved to Edward Jones about four years ago, says he always expected his career would play out in the broker- age channel but wanted to assess his options. At his previous firm, the corporate agenda “overshadowed” his clients, he says. He also didn’t want to be restricted by
by Michelle S c h r i v e r
asset levels as he grew his business.
Melanie Gotts, portfolio manager at Raymond James
in Regina, Sask., and Blair Sweeney, associate financial advisor at the firm — the two work together and are spouses — similarly say they switched a couple of years ago because of corporate objectives at their previous firm, such as incorporating mortgages into their business.
Further, a lack of support left them struggling to both serve clients and complete administrative tasks. “A big reason we left is the allocation of support staff was switching all the time and being removed altogether,” Gotts says. “You can’t grow your business if you don’t have somebody helping you.”
Testing the waters
Once an advisor identifies what’s no longer working at a firm, finding a better match requires extensive research.
Stuart Raftus, president at Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, says advisors should perform due diligence on competitors to find a firm they’d feel comfortable stay- ing with for at least the next 10 years. He suggests advis- ors meet with plenty of firms and people working within various areas of those firms.
While advisors should learn what each firm offers in in terms of technology, services and products, the most

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