Considering Key Stakeholders

Posted by FP Transitions on May 8, 2024 9:10:51 AM

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Finding the right transaction partner, and executing a potentially complicated and emotional transition, can attract most of the consideration in an M&A deal. It’s important to also look beyond the immediate stakeholders–you, your ownership team, and your transition partners–to a few other groups who will be greatly impacted by the change: your family, your team, and your clients.

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Topics: Selling Your Practice, Acquisition, M&A, Deal Structure, Buying & Selling, Client Experience

Buyer and Seller – Finding the Perfect Match

Posted by FP Transitions on Feb 13, 2024 9:00:00 AM

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One could argue that the open market acquisition process is a bit like online dating. Using a finite amount of fields and characters you must convey to someone–whom you’ve never met and know a limited amount of information about–that you are worth their time. That you are worth their time conversing with, spending time together, and potentially making a binding commitment with.

And like dating, finding the right match isn’t about how much someone is willing to spend on dinner, but how many of your attributes complement each other, how well you get along, and how much you trust each other. These matters are paramount to making a relationship work–whether it’s friendship, love, or business acquisition. 

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Topics: Selling Your Practice, Acquisition, M&A, Deal Structure, Buying & Selling

The Dangers of Napkin Negotiations

Posted by FP Transitions on Nov 23, 2023 9:00:00 AM

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The financial services industry is a personable one. Professional networking and client prospecting depend on your charisma and ability to connect beyond surface pleasantries. But when it comes to selling your business, it’s important to keep your cards close to your chest.

It’s very easy to get excited about the prospect of transitioning your business and moving forward in life–especially, when you’re talking with a colleague you’ve known for years. However, the excitement can cloud your ability to think through details and maintain a healthy level of confidentiality. It’s important to avoid casual negotiations and hashing out deals without proper documentation.

These casual conversations–also referred to as handshake agreements, or napkin negotiations–can lead to a lot of problems, including a loss of realized value. 


The first issue that could arise from the casual mention that you’re even thinking about selling your business is the influx of phone calls or visits from people who want to buy. It’s like blood in the water. And while buyers flocking to you may seem like a boon, it can quickly become overwhelming. Without an efficient screening system, it becomes time consuming and difficult to sift through the phone calls to find serious and qualified candidates, let alone the person who fits your ideal criteria to take over your business. You also make yourself vulnerable to predatory buyers.

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Topics: Selling Your Practice, Acquisition, M&A, Deal Structure, Buying & Selling

M&A Trend Alert: Longer Post-Closing Periods - M&A Playbook

Posted by FP Transitions on Nov 22, 2023 12:05:00 PM

For a lot of transactions, the tail end of the transaction can be for 3 to 10 years.

That's kind of the new model of M&A right now. It used to be that we only saw transactions when an advisor was ready to exit. Now we're starting to see advisors think about M&A earlier and earlier in their career–whether that’s preparing for a sale or exploring a merger.

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Topics: Acquisition, Buying & Selling, Open Marketplace, M&A Playbook

Mergers - A Nontraditional Growth & Acquisition Strategy

Posted by FP Transitions on Nov 6, 2023 9:00:00 AM

Mergers & Acquisitions – everyone’s favorite topic. Understandably so when one of the fastest ways to grow is to acquire and as such, add exponentially more clients (and assets) to your business in one fell swoop.

But what about mergers? Mergers are often lumped in with conversations and statistics about acquisitions, but their role and effect on an advisor’s future is much different than an outright sale or purchase. In our book, “Buying, Selling, and Valuing Practices – The M&A Guide,” FP Transitions’ president, David Grau Sr., JD, clarifies that mergers are, legally speaking, “the joining together of previously separate companies into a single entity.” Unlike an acquisition or sale, a merger means that some or all of the owners of the previously separate companies become owners of the post-merger entity. 

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Topics: Selling Your Practice, Acquisition, Business Growth, M&A, Buying & Selling, Mergers

Making the Acquisition Process Work for You - M&A Playbook

Posted by FP Transitions on Nov 3, 2023 1:54:00 PM

This Playbook is all about maximizing your M&A efforts and going with the flow of the system for acquisition success. You don't need to do everything all at once from the jump. Winning gold is about taking it one heat at a time. 

There are people in the initial phase of inquiring on a practice on the open market who are trying to close the deal in that first inquiry message. And that's just the cart way ahead of the way ahead of the horse.

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Topics: Acquisition, Buying & Selling, Open Marketplace, M&A Playbook

What Sellers Want - Multi-Generational Buyers - M&A Playbook

Posted by FP Transitions on Oct 25, 2023 3:33:00 PM

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.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Acquisition, Multi-Generational Ownership, Buying & Selling, Open Marketplace, M&A Playbook

Fit Above Everything Else - M&A Playbook

Posted by FP Transitions on Oct 4, 2023 12:21:00 PM

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.

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Topics: Acquisition, Buying & Selling, Open Marketplace, M&A Playbook

What Sellers Should Ask About Instead of Multiples - M&A Playbook

Posted by FP Transitions on Sep 27, 2023 1:04:00 PM

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?

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Topics: Acquisition, Buying & Selling, Open Marketplace, M&A Playbook

Our Dealmaking Framework

Posted by FP Transitions on Sep 27, 2023 8:00:00 AM
FP Transitions has a unique process that is something that we have honed and developed over 25 years in the industry. We take a non-advocacy role. Let me explain what that is. Non advocacy is a different type of approach to M&A. Most of the M&A industry uses advocates on either side, a seller advocate, a buyer advocate, and these advocates, together with the principals, go hard at it in creating a deal.

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. 


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Topics: Acquisition, M&A