Serving by Example
Succession is much more of a journey than an event.
“We serve one another as we serve the client,” says Michael Gibney, Founder, President of 19 years
at Covenant Family Wealth Advisors. “The 100-year vision was to establish a firm that could carry on doing good and helping people be wise with their finances, ultimately supporting the creation of living and lasting legacies that glorify God.”
As we often tell our clients, succession is much more a journey than an event, and that has certainly been the case for us. Michael originally brought his succession vision to his partner, Jeff, and, while not fully formed, the heart of what he wanted to accomplish was clear. He wanted to transition the business sooner, from a position of strength; he wanted the identity of the business to be liberated from his own to support the greatest possibilities for the future. Michael considered numerous transition alternatives and terms but welcomed the partnership candidates into the discussion around two years ago, so they could all plan together.
During this planning phase, we were able to address many of the elements of succession planning that we work through with our clients. We considered the optimal structure that would allow Michael’s wishes to be honoured, which included leaving behind as much value as he could to support the strength and continuity of the firm. Michael has always been an exemplary model of selflessness and paying-it-forward, and we have all benefited from his generosity.
We considered governance models and worked through the terms of our shareholders’ agreement. Tax and financial planning were undertaken, legal documents were drafted, and insurance needs were considered. Most importantly, because we know people issues, much more than technical issues, can cause problems, we spent a lot of time getting to know each other and our common goals even better. We worked through points of real and potential conflict and increased the degree of alignment and contentment we had around our future together. By the time we were signing papers to implement the transition, everyone involved had great confidence and excitement for the future. As was mentioned earlier, succession is a journey, not an event, so this kind of work will continue. The truth is, building and protecting the legacy, and succeeding in business and partnership together, is a continuous journey that requires constant attention.
This succession was part of Michael’s plan from the beginning.
It was part of Michael’s “100-year vision” for Covenant, which included:
- Helping others establish living and lasting legacies through the practice of God-honouring stewardship
- Living out five core values – Integrity, Excellence, Contemplation, Servant-Heartedness, and Biblical Principles
- Building a team and infrastructure that had the strength, structure and DNA to carry on well beyond himself.
Congratulations, Michael, you have done it!
Partnership for Covenant
This new partnership of Mark Brandsma, Jeff Chapman, and Rob Radloff continue carrying the Covenant torch, and they each have great vision and passion for the future of this firm. While this partnership is new, each member has been a key contributor to Covenant’s success for a decade or more, and each brings a wealth of experience, training and purpose to their work. They feel they are most qualified to lead Covenant because of their alignment with its vision, values and mission. They are also enormously thankful for the excellent team that serve into this vision along with them.
Introduction to the Partners
MARK BRANDSMA – Partner, Advisor
Mark joined Covenant 2004 as a Relationship Manager and Financial & Estate Planning. He began his career in 1997, working with an independent firm and building his practice until he accepted a position with Covenant. Mark values establishing strong, trusting client relationships and following through with them on their journey of holistic planning. Mark’s vision for Covenant is to make a positive, practical and long-term impact with everyone he serves.
JEFF CHAPMAN – Partner, Advisor
Jeff joined Covenant in 2010, coming from a background of accounting, management and ministry roles. Jeff serves our clients through specialization in family business advising, including succession planning, governance and management structures, coaching, and financial analysis and modelling. He serves the Covenant team through managing the business.
ROB RADLOFF – Partner, Advisor
Rob joined Covenant in 2010, a Chartered Accountant, moved from his native South Africa in 1994 and into the financial services industry in 1997. Rob’s focus is on working with business families in the areas of his expertise that include financial planning, estate planning, corporate structures, exit planning and shareholders agreements. He enjoys coming alongside families and other advisors at Covenant to develop long term plans that enhance family wealth in all of its forms.