TRANSITION TALK

Creating Collaborators Instead of Competitors

Posted by FP Transitions on Mar 18, 2019 4:38:46 PM

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A large percentage of advisory businesses use some form of revenue-sharing arrangements, or an eat-what-you-kill system that rewards sales and production tied to the top line, not the bottom line. This is true of small practices as well as larger businesses. “Fracture lines” are built into the practice model as individual books or practices are built in an environment that starts out collaboratively but most often ends up creating competitors. 

It’s important that independent advisors move away from obsolete practices and improper building tools held over from experiences in the wirehouse world. Creating a sustainable and valuable business should be the goal of every advisor. Building efficiently and effectively takes the proper tools, the proper structure, and the proper team.

Advisors need to embrace the most powerful and lucrative tool they have: equity. Equity is the value of the business separate and apart from the cash flow and compensation paid for work performed.

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Topics: Compensation, Succession Planning, Revenue Sharing, Building Your Team

Preparing to Sell Your Practice

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on Feb 28, 2019 1:08:03 PM

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The vast majority of today’s independent advisors only consider the option of selling to a third-party when it is time to retire or significantly throttle back as a last resort. Many advisors prefer a path with internal successors that allows them to exit gradually while building a strong, sustainable business. Many of these same advisors, however, come to realize too late that that process takes a fair amount of time, skillful execution, and next generation talent. As a result, a third choice emerges: that of attrition, which for most advisors is less of a choice and more of a default–keep working, enjoy the income, and let the practice slowly wind down if no better option emerges.

Attrition, however, involves a gradual drop off of clients, revenue, and value. It does not consider the future of all of the clients who have relied on their advisor for years. To avoid attrition, advisors should consider a sale to a third-party and exit in a professional and contemplative manner before any value is lost and clients are left to find a new advisor on their own. The brief exploration that follows can help to remove some of the mystery and many of the myths around the exit planning process and make it a higher priority choice. 

This external sale process is one of several “exit plan” paths, but it is often the best (and most lucrative) choice for certain advisory businesses–especially those who are otherwise facing attrition. Selling your practice to a third-party is the fastest of all the exit strategies, and something to consider depending on the circumstances and your needs. In most cases an external sale can produce a more liquid transaction with substantial, non-refundable down payments of 30% to 80% of the selling practice’s value. In the current sellers’ market, obtaining fair market value on very competitive terms is well within reach of the average selling practice owner. Setting up a practical and successful exit plan is about structuring a deal that works well for everyone.

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Topics: Selling Your Practice

Structure, Sustainability, & Acquisition Strategy

Posted by Christine Sjölin on Feb 6, 2019 12:03:31 PM

Structure, Sustainability, and Acquisition

If you’ve spent much time around Portland, Oregon, you know tap houses, microbreweries, and brewpubs are about as prolific as coffee shops. The Pacific Northwest takes their food very seriously, and beer and wine are an integral part of that. In the early days, first-generation craft brewers (and their counterparts in the wine industry) were entrepreneurs or career changers who wanted to break free from the corporate world and be their own bosses. Businesses began in garages and strip malls—small spaces that provided just enough room to get the businesses off the ground. Small brewers, looking to increase scale and reduce their individual costs, collaborated to share expenses for equipment or to piggy-back on each other’s licenses. Founders have shown grit, resourcefulness, and thrift to further their businesses through the first stages. Now, the most successful operations are evolving and acquiring, and the next generation of professionals are entering the industry with specialized degrees and focus on their careers. Meanwhile, boutique and even once “cult” brands struggle to maintain their position amidst stronger competition and a consolidating industry.

Does this sound familiar? The issues of scale, expense management, and growth planning are not unique to financial services. Other professionals begin their businesses with similar limitations, which they must address and overcome in order to reach a baseline of success. Passion and perseverance are powerful fuel, but the challenge comes—for financial advisors as well as craft brewers—in creating a business that can support sustainable growth. Oftentimes, the skills necessary to make this transformation are not innate to the business owner and reluctance to seek help is precisely what hinders their growth or even survival. As entrepreneurs who are passionate about their field, getting outside guidance is necessary to overcome their limitations and see the business into the next stage.

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Topics: Acquisition, Organizational Structure, Business Growth, Sustainability

SOLD : January 2019

Posted by FP Transitions on Feb 5, 2019 4:10:00 PM

FP Transitions is pleased to announce the 2019 sales of financial services businesses in the following areas:

  • Richard Metro Area, VA • $520,000
  • Central Illinois • $390,000
  • New Haven Area, CT • $2,000,000
  • Colorado • $200,000
  • Eastern Pennsylvania • $610,000
  • Minneapolis Metro Area • $700,000
  • Northeastern Wisconsin • $190,000
  • Atlanta Metro Area • $330,000
  • Eastern New Jersey • $1,500,000
  • Eastern New York State • $300,000
  • New York, NY • Undisclosed
  • San Francisco Bay Area • $1,100,000
  • Pacific Northwest • $950,000

VIEW CURRENT LISTINGS HERE 

VIEW COMPLETE LIST OF PRACTICES SOLD 

LIST YOUR PRACTICE WITH FP TRANSITIONS

 

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Topics: Selling Your Practice, Acquisition, Buying & Selling, SOLD

Harnessing the Power of Mergers

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on Jan 30, 2019 9:37:06 AM

Harnessing the Power of Mergers

Mergers are transactions that can take on many shapes, apply to almost any size advisory enterprise, and are infinitely customizable depending on the unique details and situations of the participating advisors.  

Advisors commonly think of a merger as the statutory combination of two practices into one in a tax efficient manner, but it’s better to think of the merger process as the combination of two or more advisors’ strengths, client bases, and cash flow streams, while reducing or eliminating weaknesses and inefficiencies – lofty goals to be sure, but readily achievable.

The reality is that mergers can be used to address a much wider set of challenges and opportunities including:

  1. Growth through acquisition (i.e., by merging a small practice into a larger practice, and then setting up an internal succession/continuity plan);
  2. Finding a successor, or becoming a successor (by first creating an internal, minority equity partner who later completes the buy-out of the founder’s S-corporation or LLC);
  3. Establishing a practical and reliable Continuity Plan and protecting the value of your practice against your sudden death, disability or retirement is best accomplished by having an equity partner such as may be created through a merger;
  4. Improving Enterprise or Revenue Strength through increased efficiencies and the added strengths of other advisory owners;
  5. Expanding market territory, expertise, and services;
  6. Building a strong, enduring business by combining the diverse strengths of multiple contributors.

To help illustrate these benefits, consider the following three examples as discussed in our recent Roundtable Talk, “Every Merger Is Unique,” below, each representing an actual merger between independent advisors that we helped orchestrate in 2018: 

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Topics: Succession Planning, Acquisition, Business Growth, Mergers, Continuity

SOLD : 2018 - A Look Back

Posted by FP Transitions on Jan 3, 2019 6:53:21 PM

As we step into the new year, we like to reflect on the successes of our clients over the past year. In 2018, FP Transitions is proud to have helped advisors achieve their business goals through a variety of strategies including internal succession, enterprise structuring, sustainable business growth, mergers, and external sales.

Over the last year helped facilitate external and internal transitions all over the country, including in : 

Eastern Virginia
San Francisco Area
Sacramento, CA
Columbus, OH
Dallas, TX
Baltimore MD
Houston, TX
Central Louisiana
San Gabriel Valley, CA
Southern Florida
Charlotte, NC 
Little Rock, AR
Raleigh, NC
Southeastern Florida
Cedar Rapids, IA

Kansas City Area
Boca Raton, FL
Lansing Metro Area, MI
Eastern Maryland
Southern New Jersey
Santa Cruz, CA
Minneapolis, MN
Denver, CO
Southeastern Connecticut
Northwestern Wisconsin
Oklahoma City Area 
Central Texas
Philadelphia Area
Eastern New York State
San Antonio, TX

New York, NY
Chicago Suburbs
Southern Louisiana
Western Washington
Central California
Los Angeles Area
San Diego, CA
Silicon Valley, CA
Central Alabama
Northeastern Illinois
North Dakota
Philadelphia Area
Central Oregon
Seattle, WA
Southern California

We're also pleased to announce the most recent sales of financial services practices in the following areas!

  • Central California • $1,500,000
  • Southeastern Connecticut • $800,000
  • Chicago, IL • $317,000
  • Northwestern US • $1,000,000
  • Eastern New York State • $410,000
  • Northwestern Wisconsin • $340,000
  • Northern Alabama • $3,000,000
  • Columbia Metro Area of South Carolina • $1,360,000

VIEW CURRENT LISTINGS HERE 

VIEW COMPLETE LIST OF PRACTICES SOLD 

LIST YOUR PRACTICE WITH FP TRANSITIONS

 

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Topics: Selling Your Practice, Acquisition, Buying & Selling, SOLD

Happy Holidays!

Posted by FP Transitions on Dec 21, 2018 3:52:00 PM

Happy Holidays from the FP Transitions crew!

Wishing you happy holidays and a prosperous new year filled with new journeys and remarkable destinations!
 
Take a behind the scenes look at how this year's holiday photo was created below. Cheers!
 
 
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10 Reasons to Professionally Value Your Business

Posted by FP Transitions on Nov 28, 2018 2:08:05 PM

10 Reasons to Professional Value Your Practice

Experienced business owners recognize the importance of tracking and monitoring the value of their practice over time. They know their practice is their most valuable asset, and by valuing it, they are empowered to grow, protect, and realize the value they have built.

Following are ten situations where it’s essential to have a current value and accurate understanding of your business.   

1. Increase Value

To cultivate growth and increase the value of your business, you need to have a starting point—a place to grow from. An accurate and comprehensive valuation will identify value drivers and growth opportunities, allowing you to create an informed growth strategy and make changes that will improve performance. The ability to track those changes and the value of the practice year after year enables you to see your progress and ensure your growth is on target

2. Benchmark Your Business

Tracking your value year after year allows for accurate benchmarking of the business. A thorough benchmarking report will look at your business and compare it to similar-sized businesses in the market, evaluating your company’s standing against the competition. Benchmarking reports reveal how your business stacks up against your peers as well as against leaders in the industry.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Acquisition, Business Growth, Business Value, Benchmarking, Valuation & Appraisal

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Posted by FP Transitions on Nov 9, 2018 9:53:20 AM

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In 1953, a start-up business called the Rocket Chemical Company and its staff of three set out to create a line of rust-prevention solvents and degreasers. Toiling in a small lab in San Diego, California, they set about to create a “water displacing” formula for use in the aerospace industry. It took 40 attempts to get the formula figured out.

But figure it out they did, and WD-40 was born. The name stands for water displacement formula perfected on the 40th try. Imagine what would have happened if the inventors had given up after two dozen or so really solid attempts?

The story, and the point, of course, is bigger than trying hard and eventually succeeding. WD-40 was initially a product limited to special uses, an example of which was protecting the outer skin of the Atlas missile from rust and corrosion. But that was just for starters. The product actually worked quite well for a variety of other uses–so well that several employees snuck some WD-40 cans out the plant to use at home on more mundane tasks like squeaky hinges and rusty nuts and bolts. The product eventually became a household staple. By innovating and adapting to the market, this small group of entrepreneurs created something great.

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Topics: Acquisition, Buying & Selling, Sustainability, "Buying, Selling, and Valuing Financial Practices"

FPA Annual Recap : Elevating the Profession

Posted by Christine Sjölin on Oct 19, 2018 9:50:20 AM

The last few years I’ve been unable to attend the FPA annual conference due to personal commitments. It was great to be back on site for this year’s event in Chicago.

The Future of the Industry

As an Official Sponsor of the Next Generation, we are tapped into what young advisors are doing, hearing, and saying. It’s an energizing group to be around—the future advisors I met in Chicago view financial planning as a calling as well as a rewarding career. It does strike me as a bit ironic that the “NexGen” community stops at 37 years old, when the average age of a graduate in a financial planning program (as shared during a conversation with university staff) is 41. I suspect these more seasoned career changers will have an easier time making their way into the industry, but it’s important to incorporate the youngest professionals into existing businesses, as they will impact the industry for decades, if they don’t get discouraged. This new generation of advisors are more dynamic and driven than they’re often given credit for, and these savvy younger professionals will continue pushing the status quo to create opportunities for themselves.

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Topics: FPA, Next Generation, Talent Recruitment, Sustainability, Events

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