It’s just a name change, how hard could it be?

You might have checked off legal and client communication requirements when changing your firm’s name, but don’t forget new e-mail addresses, signs, websites, social media accounts, logos and more

Aug 20, 2014 @ 10:49 am

By Liz Skinner

ING Financial Partners’ 2,500 financial advisers have seven workdays to get ready to take on a new identity.

As of Sept. 1, they’ll be Voya Financial advisers and will need new business cards, letterhead and a logo on the door. Adviser will need to make these changes individually, while ING Inc. has done many more complex changes as part of the $50 million cost of making everything that says ING say Voya.

“The No. 1 goal was to not lose a day of business,” said Ann Glover, Voya’s chief marketing officer. “We’re ready, but a lot of people are working really hard these last days.”

It isn’t only financial giants like ING that find name changing a long and expensive task. Independent advisers often discover the process is more onerous than they estimate, with necessary adjustments to every page of their website, e-mail addresses and social media accounts, not to mention communicating the change with clients and making all the legal changes with state and federal regulators.

Evensky & Katz recently acquired Foldes Financial Management and switched its “doing-business-as” name to Evensky & Katz/Foldes Financial Wealth Management. It purposely avoided changing the legal corporate name just to make things a little easier, said Mena Bielow-McAfee, the firm’s chief compliance officer.

The firm still had to inform state and federal securities regulators of a change to their DBA. Even without many of the legal complexities of name changes, which would include securing a new federal tax ID number, the firm spent about $20,000 on new signs, stationery, banners, brochure covers, etc.

(Read related story: “What’s in a firm name (or rename)?”)

“We had to change everything because we also changed the logo,” Ms. Bielow-McAfee said.

In addition to changing the etched glass doors at the office entrance and submitting changes for the electronic directory at the front of the building, the firm secured a new domain name for its corporate website and designed new shirts for the sports teams employees participate in on behalf of the firm.

Proviant Group took on its new identity last year after 20 years of going by a name based on its partners, most recently Johnson Carriar Kruchten Anderson & Associates. The process took about a year, and included calling in marketing experts to help choose a name after the firm had chosen another name only to find out a year and a half later that someone was already using it.

At a cost of $20,000 to $25,000, the firm changed all business documents, paper items such as business cards and signs, and added some billboards around the community to get the new name out, said John Anderson, a Proviant Group partner.

Along the way the firm also needed approvals from Ameriprise Financial Inc., its broker-dealer, and that added time to the process, he said.

But it was worth it in the end.

“It’s a really good feeling to have it done,” Mr. Anderson said. “It feels like we have our own identity.”

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