One of the other things that I see a lot more sellers asking for is multi-generational ownership and multi-gender ownership. I encourage my clients to diversify their ownership group as much as possible.
The biggest mistake that I see people make–the single biggest mistake–when they are in pursuit of an offering that we have on the open market, is they position themselves as a great practice, they don't position themselves as a great fit. Really not understanding what fit is and just thinking I can afford this practice and I'm 50 miles from it. And while those things can be important, there are other things that are critical in what fit is and what goes into us finding the perfect fit.
Ultimately, I think sellers come to us and they want to know what kind of multiple they can get to their business. And the question is really well-intentioned, what I think would be better for sellers to ask is: How do I position my business to get the most value or to achieve my strategic objective?
Here's what's different in the wealth management industry, the value of what is being traded are client relationships. Sometimes that gets lost in the entire equation. What we're trying to do is take care of those clients and make sure that they have been transferred in the best way possible. So why does an M&A deal get in the way of that?
What most are trying to do instead is to maximize dollars or be the one that has the best advantage on a contract. What gets lost in that is the partnership that is needed between buyer and seller when this transaction is done. Unlike traditional M&A, buyer and seller need to leave the table, if not as friends, at least as good working partners. This is a place where you can totally win the battle and lose the war if they don't depart that way. And that's where we have a problem.
Oftentimes it's the advocates themselves fighting for the best interest of their particular client. But those interests oftentimes get muddied with contract negotiations. Then who wins? We take a different approach.
Our approach is to act in the fairness of the transaction, helping both buyer and seller. Does that mean that we don't advocate for the seller? Not at all. We absolutely advocate for our seller clients and we help our buyer client as well. We help them reach the perfect deal by starting out with the best match possible. If we have the fit right, the rest of the transaction goes together.
We do something unique in that we mediate our deals and put them together with lawyer dealmakers. That's helpful because our lawyer dealmakers are able to talk to the other advocates in the transaction: seller, lawyer, buyer lawyer to help them understand what the overall objective is and to get to a better solution.
Not only does this result in better deals, but important to both buyer and seller.
We close 80% of the transactions we embark on. So in the end, this is less expensive, less grueling, and people leave having understood that, the most important thing is the transfer of the client relationship.
Whether you’re buying or selling a business, there are a few players that are “must-haves” on your transaction team: personal lawyer, CPA/Tax professional, representative of your IBD/Custodian, personal stakeholders, and a non-advocate, industry-experienced mediator.
The role of each of these players is important to the overall success of your deal, however, the mediator can sometimes be overlooked–often to the disadvantage of your deal. So, why are they so important?
How has marketplace strength held on throughout 2023?
We've seen a really strong M&A marketplace in 2023. Demand is still really strong. As we've consistently had at least over the last five years, we've got an inverse in terms of there's a really strong demand and not a whole lot of supply. And that trend has continued in through 2023.
Even though it had been in the works for years, last month’s Schwab/Ameritrade merger left both organizations’ advisors wondering what it meant for them. The good news is that the transition has been seen as largely successful, with only some tech snafus which, let’s be honest, is to be expected when you’re talking about huge platform changes for millions of accounts. Adapting to change rarely happens overnight.
In this episode of the M&A playbook, James Fisher, JD, VP of M&A and Principal at FP Transitions, shares why your leading next-gen talent should be included in your decisions to buy, sell, or merge your business. As future leaders and owners of your business, you should consider their opinions and priorities for the future of the business.
The decision to sell a financial services practice is a difficult one for any advisor to make. After a lifetime of work to build your business, and after years of earning your clients’ trust, how do you turn the job over to someone else? Will they work as hard as you have? Will they care as much as you do? Will they always put your clients’ interests first? When selling your practice, you get just one chance to do it right. The following case study provides some unique insights into the process and illustrates the opportunities, and the mistakes, that many first time sellers make:
This week's playbook highlights very important insights for first time borrowers from our friend Susie McEuen at Oak Street Funding.