Partner Retirement and the War for Clients

retirement plan label on folderBONUS CHECKLIST: 8 best uses for a retiring partner.

By Bill Reeb and Dominic Cingoranelli
CPA Trendlines / Succession Institute

Once a firm is ready to phase out a partner in retirement, it’s time to move on to the client transition process. But this is the single most abused part of the entire succession process.

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The reason why this part of the process is the most abused is because both sides the partner nearing MSO (henceforth referred to as retiring partners or retired partners) and the remaining partners are motivated to do the wrong things. For example, it is in the best interest of retiring partners to not transition their clients because if they don’t, the firm will need to keep them around to continue to work on them after MSO. If this isn’t bad enough, because they did not transition their clients properly, the retired partners have a great deal of leverage since they are now entitled to their full retirement pay and still have control over some or most of their client base. This allows the retired partners to gain additional benefits from the partner group by basically reselling their clients to them again. Unfortunately, this situation is more the norm than the exception.