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As chief financial officer of Blue Ocean Global Wealth, Mr. Somal spends about two weeks a month on the road, meeting with advisers to discuss and develop exit strategies aimed at maximizing value for their heirs and establishing a legacy.
Industry-wide, more than half of advisers don't have a succession plan, and most don't even know the value of their business, according to Mr. Somal.
"Advisers create valuable plans for their clients' retirement but don't plan for their own," he said.
The CFO makes the case for succession planning in adviser presentations around the country, a plea Blue Ocean outlined in a white paper last year. Some advisers say his talk has spurred them to action no easy feat, given the depths of this industry's conundrum.
Blue Ocean, a registered investment adviser Mr. Somal co-founded with former Ameriprise Financial adviser Marguerita Cheng in November, has the atypical mission of helping other financial advisers. In the spirit of "Blue Ocean Strategy," (Harvard Business Review Press, 2005), which encourages entrepreneurs to target novel business models, the firm provides innovative solutions to help families, corporations, institutions and financial advisers with financial guidance and investment strategies.
Mr. Somal, who built two businesses while earning his bachelor's degree in finance and accounting from Georgetown University, was an adviser for Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, as well as an investment analyst for the Bank of Nova Scotia.
He has also attained both the chartered financial analyst and certified financial planner designations.