Current reps of L.M. Kohn might recognize Liam Mulligan from his presentation on Succession Planning, which he delivered during our 2022 annual compliance meeting. During that time, Liam was a fourth-year student at the Kelley School of Business (Indiana University) finishing up his degree in finance. Since his graduation in May 2023, Liam has joined L.M. Kohn and we’re happy to introduce him as a member of our team.
Growing up with a father in investment banking, Liam’s interest in finance started very young. Liam became especially intrigued when he learned that his father worked with senior living facilities, hospitals and non-profit organizations to raise capital, finance debt and otherwise help these important businesses succeed. Contrary to the popular stigma that finance professionals are only after money, Liam saw the many different directions that a career in finance could take, and even provide a helping hand to his community.
Liam was shaped by this sense of wanting to make the world a better place. As he entered college, his goals were to be a doctor or a surgeon, and later a physical therapist after a sports injury required therapy. But through his class work, he learned about financial planning and its impact on individuals’ lives, and how financial planners work with their clients over the course of many years to secure their futures and their legacies for future generations. As part of a large Irish Catholic family of 4 children, building relationships with his siblings and maintaining them over the years spread into his professional aspirations. As he shifted his focus to finance and accepted an internship at a firm in St. Louis, Missouri, he observed how the industry was aging, how baby boomer wealth was being passed down to the younger generation who didn’t know what to do with it, and how young people were not entering the industry in large enough numbers to replace the professionals nearing retirement age. Likewise, he began conducting research on succession planning to learn how different firms were handling the issue, and was introduced to Carl Hollister.
Carl was impressed with Liam’s research and perspective on succession planning for financial advisors. He introduced Liam to L.M. Kohn COO Tim Chon, who also connected with Liam’s ideas on where the industry was heading and how to get it into a better spot. These relationships resulted in Liam receiving an internship with L.M. Kohn in the spring of 2023, when he focused on preparing for and passing his SIE Exam and later his Series 7 as he finished his final semester of college.
Throughout his internship, working remotely from his college campus, Liam remained connected with Tim to catch up and talk about the different ongoing projects around L.M. Kohn. Eventually, the conversation turned into what a future full-time position for Liam at L.M. Kohn would look like, and they settled on the role of Business Development Associate. After graduation, Liam accepted the role and began his work with L.M. Kohn.
In his role, Liam is adaptable to fill the needs of reps while contributing to the success of L.M. Kohn. He is often the first point of contact when reps call for assistance, helping resolve issues with compliance or technology, and generally making sure they have what they need to succeed. This includes acting as a reference for reps planning for their own succession, and advising on ways to bring the next generation into the fold and prepare them to take over the book of business.
“You have to get a head start on the succession process, because you’re not going to find a person or group of people to take over your life’s work on the first try,” said Liam. “It’s important to plan for 15-20 years from now to give yourself time to get to know this person, give them the time to get to know you and your clients, and give your clients the time to get comfortable with this person or group of people eventually taking over.”
Liam currently works with the leadership at L.M. Kohn to establish a pipeline of young talent at the head office. His goal is to have three to four promising individuals working in back-office roles while earning their licenses, gaining industry experience and working with reps with the possibility of becoming a rep’s understudy down the road once they’re industry ready.
“While we’d like to help every advisor plan for their succession, there are some reps that will want to keep working until they can’t anymore. As a firm, we have to have contingency plans in place, bring in younger people to train them up, and maintain consistent lines of communication with our advisors to make sure they’re in a good spot to continue the work for their clients,” said Liam.
To learn more about Liam Mulligan’s contributions to helping L.M. Kohn advisors plan for succession, contact us.