Practice Management

Strategic Safeguarding: The Value of Succession and Continuity Planning

Headshot of Brian Nelson

Brian Nelson, Head of Practice Management

August 15, 2023

The words you’re about to read are strong, and I’ve chosen them very intentionally because the topic is a matter of utmost urgency and importance. But before we dive in, I want to offer two definitions.


A succession plan is a long-term plan for when you choose to retire, transition away from the business, grow by acquisition or merge with another practice. A continuity plan, on the other hand, prepares you and your practice for an unplanned life event such as an unexpected death or disability. There is a huge difference between the two, and while we have an entire program designed to help you develop a succession plan, this column will focus on the importance of continuity planning.

As a dedicated financial professional, you have devoted your entire career to guiding clients through their financial futures. You help them navigate through the joyful times and, just as importantly, prepare for the unexpected challenges that life presents. Yet, surprisingly, many financial professionals neglect to plan for their own future.

This oversight could have devastating consequences. Imagine the unthinkable — your untimely death. When that happens, your clients will understandably find new financial counsel because you’re no longer there to care for them, causing a near-immediate devaluation of the business you spent a lifetime building. The result? Little to no financial provision left for your family.

At our President’s Club Conference earlier this year, we asked everyone with a continuity plan to raise their hands. Only a few raised their hands. Doug Ketterer, CEO and Founding Partner, immediately jumped in and said, “That’s not good. Every single hand needs to go up.” And he’s absolutely right. Having a robust, well-thought-out continuity plan is not an option — it’s a necessity. This isn’t a task to be postponed, but one that demands immediate attention. The stakes are too high to ignore.

Our recent survey conducted by the Practice Management team shows a worrying trend: Less than 30% of top financial professionals in the Atria family have a succession or continuity plan in place. This is an urgent call to action. It is an absolute must for you to act today. Let us help you secure our own financial future, just as you strive to secure your clients’.

Developing a plan might seem daunting, but rest assured, you are not alone. We’re here to assist and support you throughout this process.

Simply reach out to us at We have a clear process in place and will help you every step of the way. The time you spend now will be invaluable in protecting the value of your greatest asset in the future.