David Grau Sr., JD

David Grau Sr., JD
David is the author of Succession Planning for Financial Advisors: Building an Enduring Business, published by Wiley & Sons in 2014. David has also written over 85 nationally published articles, white papers and manuals on continuity issues, income perpetuation strategies, mergers and acquisitions, succession planning, tax strategies, and internal ownership tracks. David was named one of the most influential people in the profession in an industry survey of financial advisors by Financial Planning Magazine and is a nationally recognized expert on succession planning in the financial services industry.
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Recent Posts

Shared Risk / Shared Reward - Financing Your Deal

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on Mar 29, 2018 1:58:00 PM


Setting up and agreeing to proper and reasonable payment terms is an essential part of the selling or acquisition process. The following questions are common for both buyer and seller when it comes to deal structuring, especially in regard to financing the transaction:

  • What types of financing are available?
  • What is seller financing?
  • How are payments structured to promote post-closing co-operation and motivation for both parties?
  • Are there contingencies to the payment of the full purchase price?
  • Does client attrition affect the final purchase price?


Underlying virtually every acquisition is the assumption that the seller will offer some kind of financing to support the transaction. There are four primary types of seller financing, the last three of which include contingencies that may alter the final purchase price.

  1. A basic promissory note
  2. An adjustable or performance-based promissory note
  3. An earn-out arrangement
  4. A revenue sharing or fee-splitting agreement

Seller financing is less a matter of the sufficiency of a buyer’s cash reserves and more the basic payment structure technique that recognizes the importance of keeping the seller motivated to help with post-closing client retention. Post-closing seller motivation and support is critical in a transaction that involves a relationship-based business.

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Topics: M&A, Financing, Buying & Selling

A New Goal for a New Generation

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on Jun 9, 2015 1:30:00 PM


Founding (G1) advisors are asking the wrong question: “How do I hire and retain employees with an entrepreneurial mind-set?” It should be, “How do I attract and retain employees with the skills and expertise to take my business to the next level?”

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Topics: Succession Planning, Multi-Generational Ownership, Next Generation

The Two Biggest "What If's" of Internal Succession Planning

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on May 28, 2015 10:00:00 AM


I have one of the best jobs in the financial services industry. Every day, I get to talk to independent advisors, young and old, and together we plan for the future. The journey of building a business that can outlive its founder is exciting, rewarding and, maybe, a little perilous – certainly, there are plenty of unknowns and first time experiences. There are two primary concerns that surface above all others.

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Topics: Succession Planning

My Second Book - Nailing it From Word One

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on Jul 21, 2014 5:00:00 AM

The publishable manuscript for , was submitted to Wiley & Sons on March 17th, 2014 – all 78,118 words of it – 76 days past due. It was released in June 2014, and I couldn’t have been happier or prouder. It is, in my humble opinion, a very good book, one that I and the entire FP Transitions Team can be proud of, and one this industry will benefit from.

After the honest critique from my partner, Brad, regarding the first manuscript, and all I learned writing it. The second book came a lot easier, and faster. It was written in just over 60 days once Brad and I tended to the all-important task of proper organization. We had a good plan the second time around, and it was well executed. It wasn’t so much that I knew what to say, it was more that I had learned what wasn’t all that interesting and what wasn’t really necessary in the telling of an interesting and informative story. I still shake my head at all the good material left on the cutting room floor. It was hard to let that all go, but sharp and decisive editors helped a lot.

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Topics: Succession Planning

My First Book

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on Jul 16, 2014 7:00:00 AM

I wrote a book! Actually, I wrote two books, but only one was publishable. I’d like to tell you about the one that didn’t get published - the one I learned the most from.

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Topics: Succession Planning

Succession Planning : The Next Generation of Ownership

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on Feb 12, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Yes, it’s true, you can work forever.

Recently, the career of “financial planner” has appeared on many Top 10 career lists. This is due to high job satisfaction and earning potential in the industry. It comes as no surprise to veteran advisors, who have first-hand experience of the financial and emotional rewards that come with helping clients achieve their financial goals. This reason is only one of several why many advisors desire to work as long as possible, and why so many fail to plan for their own retirement or succession.

Failure to plan can have severe effects on your personal wealth, and thus your lifestyle.

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Topics: Succession Planning

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