Community Focus: Teighan Malloy on Being a Millennial & Succession Planning

by Jonathan Bega

So, one of the goals of Finaeo from the get-go was to help build a community of insurance & financial advisors. One of the things we’ve noted in this industry is that information is very siloed. That is, there is a wealth of information but it’s all trapped within the minds of various financial advisors or within the firms they work for. This means that for young advisors trying to break into the industry, or older advisors trying to learn something new, there are almost no widely available resources. This blog, as well as our podcast (on Soundcloud and iTunes) and various YouTube videos attempt to ameliorate this situation.

As part of this, I wanted to create occasional spotlights on financial advisors we think are either leaders, or fast becoming leaders, in the industry. These advisors are the ones in our Finaeo community who we see as topic experts – what we want to do is give them the spotlight and let them discuss said topics. The goal is for them to help disseminate information and educate other advisors who may be in similar situations.

This week, we interviewed Teighan Malloy. Teighan is a Certified Financial Planner, a Registered Retirement Consultant, and is continually working on higher education. Out of Red Deer, Alberta, Teighan is part of SurePath Group, Teighan is currently transitioning to take over a large book of business. She is also a millennial, having been in the industry for about five years. We had the opportunity to interview Teighan recently. We focused on a few key subjects – primarily, we were interested in her experiences as a millennial advisor, as well as her experiences being the recipient of a well-built succession plan. The interview is printed below. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together!

So, off the bat, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Your Time at SurePath Group?

Sure! I started out wanting to be a personal trainer. I’ve always had a passion for fitness and helping people, so thought to combine the two into a career. But I quickly realized that was a lot of school for a very competitive industry where a job was not guaranteed. During my summers, I worked at SurePath Group. While there, I saw how my Dad would help people every single day with their finances. I’ve always loved working with money – when I was four, I started my very first savings account: I wanted to buy a convertible car. The idea of building wealth always excited me, and I really enjoyed watching my Dad help others do the same. Because of all this, I ended up switching my focus to financial planning in school. For the last five years, I have been working at  SurePath Group.

In terms of SurePath, people like working with us for a few reasons. First, we try to keep our clients informed and up to date on the economy and any changes that affect them. They know that they can count on us contacting them if anything comes up in their finances or policies. It’s all based around trust. We see our clients as much more than just account numbers. They are real people that we know and have relationships with. The second important value proposition is that we have put a succession plan in place. I am currently transitioning and taking over my Dad’s book of business. It will be a ten-year process in total, but it provides a lot of comfort for clients, new and old, to know that when my Dad retires, there will be no disruption in their care or services.  

The point on succession planning is really interesting. What did you and SurePath do to get prepared for it?

Oh boy, a lot. We spent a lot of time talking to fellow advisors who were a few years ahead of us, listening to what they put into place, finding out what worked and what didn’t. We also spent a lot of time with tax planning and estate planning specialists. They were incredibly helpful in offering us different routes that we could go through to reach the same end goal. Overall, we just listened a lot and took our time.

And what were the top lessons you learned through these conversations?

The most important part of a successful succession plan is finding the right person to pass your business on to. It’s absolutely the biggest deal, and it takes a lot of time. When it came to setting up the tax and estate issues, that was easy, it just required specialists. For other advisors we talked to, it also wasn’t that difficult to reach a purchase price that made sense for both parties. The big issue was finding the right person and working closely with them for a number of years. This person needs to understand your business model, how you handle client relationships, the values of the company, and have your best interests at heart. They need to really be the right fit.  Passing on something that you’ve built is a really big deal and you need to know it means as much to the person you are passing it to, as it does to you.

My advice would be to take your time in finding the right person and start your succession planning early! The last thing you want is for it to be rushed. Enjoy the process.

Having now spent some time in the industry, what are some advantages and challenges of being a millennial?

I’ll start with the challenges – experience is a huge one. Experience is definitely an advantage and, as a millennial, I don’t have nearly as much as an advisor who has been in the industry for thirty years. A prospect walking around with a couple million bucks, wondering what to do with it, will typically turn to a more experienced advisor. So usually, us millennials lose out on those ones. But, you know, it is what it is. It’s part of the process, and over time if you keep on working towards it, you’ll have that experience too. Plus, being fresh out of school and knowing all the current textbook knowledge has its perks as well.

In terms of advantages, I think millennials have quite a few. With clients, many of mine are younger families just starting out. They find it much easier to relate to me, someone closer to their age, than to an older advisor. They like the security of knowing that I am not going to retire in 10 or so years time like the majority of advisors in our industry.  Speaking of retirement, there will be a ton of advisors retiring in the next 15 years, so lots of clients will be changing hands. Great opportunity to buy a book and have an easier start as far as recurring revenue. We are also technology natives, which means we tend to be able to use the newest technologies to help make things more organized and efficient.

On the topic of technology, do you think it will play a positive or a negative role in the future of financial advisors?

Positive for sure. I think our industry is behind the times as far as tech goes and there is lots of room for improvement. But I think that technology will be able to help financial advisors in the future. It will help make compliance and the client relationship easier – a one-step process instead of taking two, three, or four steps. It will automate aspects of the back office, and make it easier for us to spend more time with our clients doing high value work. I joined Finaeo because what you guys are working on is exactly where I see the future of technology going, and I’m excited to have a front-row seat.

Awesome! That’s great. Any last pieces of advice for new financial advisors breaking into the industry?

Yeah – don’t be afraid to talk to anyone. The very worst that can happen is that they’ll just say no to your services. When I first started, it took some time to realize that there was no downside to talking to clients and prospects. I was often worried that I didn’t have all of the answers, or didn’t know nearly enough to be helpful. But it turns out that most of the time, that wasn’t the case. My schooling and training actually prepared me very well for real life situations. Now I actually don’t mind being asked obscure questions that I don’t know the answers to as I have realized that it helps me grow and prepares me better for the next situation I will be in. It points out areas where I still need to grow and learn more about, which is great. I have learnt from my Dad that education is always a part of our profession and always will be. That is one thing that I love about my career, there is never an end to learning and education – it keeps things interesting and upbeat.

So, overall, don’t be afraid to talk to prospects and clients! That’s your job, and you CAN help them.

Thanks, Teighan – this was really helpful and we’re thrilled you took the time to share your perspective as a millennial advisor a few years into your career!

Thank you! Looking forward to doing more of these.