CEPA Spotlight: How is Drew McLaughlin utilizing the CEPA Designation?

CEPA Spotlight: How is Drew McLaughlin utilizing the CEPA Designation?


The Exit Planning community is made up of a variety of different advisors and business professionals. The CEPA designation provides advisors from all backgrounds the opportunity to receive a holistic view of the business exit while encompassing the owner’s business, personal, and financial goals. Currently, Financial Advisors make up over 65% of active CEPAs. Financial Advisors act as an owner’s confidant during the financial planning and contingency planning portion of a business exit. A strong exit plan helps owners in their next act, both personally and financially.

We spoke with Drew McLaughlin, a Financial Advisor within Private Wealth Management at UBS to see how he the CEPA designation has helped grow his business.

Has the conversation changed with Business Owner Clients after getting your CEPA?

I have been doing “Exit Planning” since 2006 but did not call it Exit Planning at the time. CEPA gave me a better vocabulary to use with Business Owners to have more in-depth conversations. It also gave me a framework and process to talk through with Owners. My conversations went from messy to more succinct by going through the CEPA program.

What were some of the first steps you took after coming through the CEPA program?

My first step was to find another CEPA to shadow. While today I am a Financial Advisor at UBS Global Wealth Management, at the time, I was a public accountant and did not know what I was doing with real Exit Planning. I worked with that CEPA on several engagements and then went out and spread my own wings. It will take way more error than trial if you try and do it on your own. Find someone to shadow; shadowing gives you the confidence to use the knowledge gained in the classroom.

What have you been doing differently during the Pandemic with your clients?

I have increased the frequency of meeting and calls. I have weekly or bi-weekly calls with my clients. It increases the speed in which they trust you and allows you to get more work done. I still meet with a few clients in-person when it is possible to be safe and socially distanced, but video calls have allowed us to have deeper conversations on a more frequent basis. 

Any advice for a Financial Advisor coming out of CEPA and not sure where to start?

One of the problems for some financial advisors is they come out of CEPA and want to start doing triggering events and Exit Planning engagements right away. Choose your lane and then start shadowing a CEPA in your area and learn the ropes. Once you feel comfortable and confident with your abilities, go out and make it happen.

Are you interested in seeing how the becoming a CEPA would impact your business? Learn more about our virtual Certified Exit Planning Advisor credentialling program: CEPA Masterclass.