Scott Keeley (left) and Lynette Anderson

After a completing a smooth succession transition completed than six years ago, Wakefield Partners director and senior adviser Scott Keeley and senior adviser Lynette Anderson believe every advice practice should have a succession plan in place.

The firm is half-owned by Keeley and Anderson, who acquired the business from its founder Rick Flint in 2017. The other half owned by Lee Green Accounting.

“The pros of having them own 50 per cent is that they’re much bigger than us, they’re a reliable and regular referrer so we don’t need to outwardly market too much simply because they provide us with a regular stream of new clients,” Keeley says.

“The cons to that arrangement are we probably feel like we need to do everything for all clients…and we don’t really feel like we’re in a position to say no.”

Anderson says the succession transition went smoothly and both she and Keeley are already thinking about their own succession plans.

“It’s something that every business should have in place,” Anderson says.

“We’re thinking of doing it now already, getting things in place so we can have the same thing happen that happened when Rick did it. We took it all on at once, we took over the business [and] became self-licensed at the same time. It was a real learning curve for us, but it’s been worthwhile.”

Keeley says Flint was clear from the outset he was part of the succession plan, even though there were times during a 12-year stint at the firm before taking it over that Keeley felt it was going slowly.

“But he was always very clear and mapped out a plan that was probably five or eight years in the making,” Keeley says.

Wakefield was authorised by Morgans until Flint passed the business onto Anderson and Keeley, who gained their own AFSL on 3 July 2017 – the same day change of ownership occurred.

“It’s allowed us to be quick and nimble in an environment where there’s much change happening all the time when we can, between the two of us, make decisions to change the direction in small way of the business overnight without relying on anyone else or a licensee sitting above us,” Keeley says.

“Morgans, along with a lot of larger licensees, have been through enforceable undertakings and things like that which has meant that small people out in the country, like us, have been whacked with a big stick even though we haven’t done anything wrong.”

Keeley says Wakefield Partners is a low-risk business, so it’s been simpler to manage the compliance internally, although Anderson notes they use an external compliance supplier.

The firm’s ideal clients are retirees and pre-retirees, and the business has a “strong background”, in Centrelink and estate administration.