On Monday, November 25, we announced that TruNorth and BGM Wealth Management would merge into BGM TruNorth Wealth Partners LLC effective December 2, 2013. The next day, I had successful back surgery to fix a ruptured disk. Two days later, my wife and I hosted a Thanksgiving gathering of 11 at our home. The aspects that make the gathering, the surgery and the merger successful have a lot in common.

The Common Theme: People

The most important thing these three events had in common was people. I can imagine that your partnership with BGM Wealth Management or TruNorth is built on a personal relationship. My selection of a surgeon was based on my interviews with different doctors. Our guest list for Thanksgiving was deeply relational.

I’m excited that this merger is based on maintaining all the relationships our clients have with team members. All staff from each firm will continue employment at BGM TruNorth Wealth Partners. The genesis of our merger discussion came from a long-running question: "Could we enhance our client experiences and outcomes if we were working together, sharing insights, systems and processes?"

The way that we each do our work is designed to make our services to you most productive and effective.
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The Thanksgiving Process

Because of my surgery, my wife Beth and I needed to get some help putting on the Thanksgiving feast. I was able to fulfill my annual role of carving the turkey, but I couldn’t lift it into and out of the oven. Because of the distraction of surgery, we prepared the house for company but couldn’t prepare all the food. Our guests all jumped in to put together a great meal. No one declined the invitation because we wouldn’t be doing all the work in the kitchen. Everyone came for the time together because the relationships mattered more than who wore the chef’s hat.

Our Thanksgiving celebration is wrapped in tradition. The turkey and stuffing, green bean casserole and potatoes are all part of the tradition. We have artfully blended the traditions of our guests so that everyone enjoys the experience.

The Surgery Process

The operating room is managed with strict protocols. There were forms I needed to sign, but only after the surgeon and I discussed the content. When we got distracted talking about concerts, the nurses were required to call him back to stick to the protocol. Each step of the process was executed according to plan. Every detail had a purpose. The objective was a successful surgery and a happy patient.

Combining Thanksgiving, Surgery and Companies

The BGM Wealth Management and TruNorth merger was planned in much the same way as my surgery (without any medical procedures). Both firms have our traditions, our protocols and processes. In each case, the way that we each do our work is designed to make our services to you most productive and effective. Recognizing our shared commitment to the big issues, and the respective advantages of our traditions, protocols and processes, led to our confidence that as we blend our traditions, neither firm will disappear, but the one firm will be better than two.

There is a whole part of my surgery that is a vacuum in my memory. At 1:15, I remember seeing the clock. At 2:45 I saw another clock in another room. In between, I was opened up, fixed and put back together, and I don’t remember a thing about it. The anesthesiologist told me, "If I do my job right, you probably won’t realize that I was here."

In our daily work, there is a tremendous amount of work we do, on your behalf, that if done well, you’ll never be aware of it. Like the anesthesiologist, the traditions, protocols and processes we use in our offices are designed to deliver results for you without you having to take the time to be involved in every step. This merger will allow us to use the best of each firm to enable your advisory team to deliver in new and enhanced ways. Over time, whether your advisor is Jon, Aimee, Tim and Sharon or Peter, we will give you periodic reminders that "this enhancement was brought to you by our merger." It could be easy to miss these enhancements because the relationships you have always known will continue to be at the table with you. Our behind-the-scenes work, made possible with the merger, is designed to keep your advisory team focused on you.

The Strength of a Team

As I was falling asleep in the OR, it was a comfort to know that someone at the hospital had paid the electric bill, had the best practices up to date and was managing the nurse staffing schedule. What was most important to me was that the surgeon wasn’t distracted by getting all those things done. The organization allowed him to focus.

In any organization, there are a lot of hats to wear. This merger will allow us to divide the duties like managing regulatory and compliance issues, the investment management process, the financial planning process, technology and staffing. These have always been priorities at both firms, but now we won’t continue with double the workload. Everyone can focus on their respective responsibilities, while having the confidence that as a team, we have all the areas covered that will lead to the best outcomes for you. This will give Jon and I the time we need to continue seeing clients.

As we sat down to our Thanksgiving feast, it was not important that my father-in-law prepared the cranberries or that my mother made the three pies. The important people were at the table, and everything was there that is part of our traditions. We are confident that as you sit down with us in the coming months and years, you will have that same experience with your BGM TruNorth advisory team.

The opinion of the author is subject to change without notice and must be considered in conjunction with relevant regulation, as well as subsequent changes in the marketplace. Any information from outside resources has been deemed to be reliable but has not necessarily been verified. Each individual has unique circumstances to which this information may or may not be relevant. Under no circumstances will this information constitute an offer to buy or sell and it does not indicate strategy suitability for any particular investor.

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