Firing line  

Succession planning: One IFA's family business project

Succession planning: One IFA's family business project

The next six months are going to be very busy for Caroline Cochrane.

She is embarking on a new venture with her two daughters as she sets the stage for her succession plan.

Ms Cochrane, who co-founded IFA business Crandles and Co, where she currently works, is setting up a new firm – Verity Financial Planners – in the new year, which her daughters will eventually run.

“It has been my intention for some time to gradually pass the business to my daughters,” she says. 

“This is more difficult within a partnership, especially with a business partner who is not a family member and so a new family firm was the cleanest way of realising my plans.”

Ms Cochrane and her partner have always had their own clients so the understanding has been that, should either of them wish to leave the business, then their clients would move with them.

“Both Crandles and Co and Verity Financial Planners will be part of the Tenet Services Network and so we hope that the transition should be reasonably straightforward,” says Ms Cochrane.  

“Paul [Crandles] and I have known each other for more than 20 years and we have always worked well together. We have made a commitment to an amicable split and to support each other in the future.”

A last hurrah

Understandably excited, Ms Cochrane says this is likely to be the last time she sets up another business before she retires.

“It has been great to involve my daughters. [Their] roles will expand as they start to take responsibility for running parts of the business and we are looking to retain the reputation we had with Crandles and Co.

“I have been a financial adviser all their lives. They see the benefits of a career in financial advice and very much look forward to being decision-makers in their careers. We work well together and I am very flattered that they wish to follow in my footsteps.”

Emulating their mother is perhaps a no-brainer, as Ms Cochrane says being a financial adviser is one of the best careers a woman can have. 

“Because of the way [advice] is charged and so forth, I could match my colleagues for the amount of business I wrote,” Ms Cochrane adds.

“So I was never reliant on somebody deciding to promote me. My business grew because I grew [it] organically. And the hours have always been incredibly flexible.”

Her two daughters, Rebecca and Olivia, work at Crandles and Co as a qualified financial adviser and paraplanner, respectively.

Rebecca advises and meets clients on her own, while Olivia sits in on meetings but cannot advise. She is working towards becoming fully qualified.

Ms Cochrane says working with her daughters means the business can build a second generation of clients who will be there through Rebecca and Olivia’s lifetime – a key element of the company’s  succession planning strategy.