Can and Should You Move Your Business?

As municipal finance advisors, public finance bankers, bond counsel, etc., when can and should you move your business?

As 2020 is underway, movement is a foot. This blog is going to address who can successfully make a move, not necessarily who wants to make a move.  “The grass is always greener on the other side,” still seems to be a philosophy that many people are holding onto strongly.  I beg you to reconsider leaving a current position as municipal finance advisors, public finance bankers or bond counsel just because you can make more money.  You need a real reason to make a move such as platform, lack of performance of the desk, etc. These are solid reasons to consider making a move.

What Is Your Confidence Level?

But the most important question that is always answerable is, “How confident are you with moving your business?” If you cannot answer that affirmatively, as a producer you should not even consider moving firms.  Candidates like municipal finance advisors and more may want to move to a new firm; however, before doing so, candidates must assess what percentage of their business they’re comfortable representing that can move.  Are these your clients or your firm’s clients?

Are They Mine Or Yours?

The easy way to answer this question is to look at what has happened to you in the past when you’ve made a move. Did your old clients follow you to your new firm? If yes, you have experience that you can rely upon. It then becomes easy to answer this question. You simply state, “When I was at X firm before my current firm, I moved X% of my business and based on past performance I feel comfortable that I can do at least that or better.” Now, of course, you do need to know your market and your current clientele as municipal finance advisors, public finance bankers or whatever position you currently hold.

Obviously, if you are counting on state rotations and pools, the confidence level of moving business is not as strong as if you solely represent special districts that consistently are coming to the market with you as their senior representative. If rotations are every three years and the firm is not currently part of the selection group, then that is not a good firm for you to consider. If you have been relying on a business card that you drop off at the Finance Directors/Treasures Office to get your business, this also may be a key in determining if a move is right for you.  A business card that opens doors may be opening the door for your company, but not necessarily you. It all becomes highly situational. Since that is the case, when you are determining what firm to move to, you need to match your line of business as well as the ability to move clients. As municipal finance advisors, public finance bankers, etc., do this with the firm’s business philosophy and how long they are willing to wait for you to become profitable.

If You’re Experienced In Moving Clientele… 

Assuming you have moved your business in the past, a direct response to the question of business portability will go a long way such as, “This is what I expect and why I expect these results.” Firms know that people and places are always changing, but by putting your best foot forward with what you realistically expect can open new doors for you. The adage of “under promise and over deliver” goes a long way. It’s all in how you communicate your answer as public finance experts, municipal finance advisors, and such. When in doubt, you may even want to check with your “trusted” clients if they will follow you. I have always shared that issuers will follow the bankers they are most comfortable with because money is fungible. The same is true of the bond counsel side except for conflicts, of course. 

Conclusion

If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out to me for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email me at harlan@hfriedmansearch.com.

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels. He can be reached on LinkedIn, at harlan@hfriedmansearch.com or 760-477-1284.

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