TRANSITION TALK

Mid-Year Market Update - Key Insights

Posted by FP Transitions on Aug 9, 2021 3:07:11 PM

Last month our M&A Director James Fisher, JD and CEO Brad Bueermann delivered our 2021 Mid-Year Market Update and explored marketplace activity for the first half of 2021.

We all know that 2020 was a truly unique year on all fronts. The financial services M&A marketplace was no exception (as we discussed back in January).  The effects of 2020 have carried over into 2021 and have impacted transactions in some unexpected ways–and have potentially changed deal term norms from here on out.

Our full Mid-Year Market Update presentation was close to 60 minutes, including a live Q&A session, and covered up-to-date transaction data and trends, realities of today's industry, qualities of successful buyers, and common acquisition misconceptions.

To focus in on some of the most important highlights from the session, Craig Strauser sat down with James Fisher, JD to discuss them further. Watch their chat below.

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Topics: Compensation, Business Growth, Sustainability, Enterprise

Balancing Enterprise Strength and Revenue Strength

Posted by FP Transitions on Jul 30, 2021 3:29:19 PM

Balancing Enterprise Strength and Revenue Strength

Many financial services businesses focus on revenue strength while downplaying–or ignoring–enterprise strength. However, revenue strength and enterprise strength are both critical to the growth and sustainability of a business. When revenue is the sole driver of your value, you’re leaving money on the table and jeopardizing the long-term success of the business.

Since revenue and enterprise strength influence the value of your business in different ways, it's crucial to understand these differences and why balancing the two is so important. While clients, fees, and assets under management (AUM) pay the bills, the absence of a solid business infrastructure will put a company's longevity at risk. Whether you’re determined to create explosive business growth or have a sale–external or internal–on the horizon, knowing how to position your company now can result in a higher return on your efforts and investment for the years to come.

Revenue vs. Enterprise Strength

Revenue strength represents the source, quantity, and quality of your cash flow. This includes your active income generated based on advisory fees, commissions, and other financial planning services. Revenue strength accounts for your team’s compensation and other business expenses. Revenue strength represents the top-line accounting of the business.

It's the value of your book.

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Topics: Business Growth, Revenue Strength, Enterprise Strength, Cash Flow, Sustainability

The Fine Art of Enterprise Consulting

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on Jul 26, 2021 5:10:17 PM

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FP Transitions conducted most of its work by phone and video conferencing long before the virus made this approach commonplace. So, it is with a great deal of humility, and a little courage, that we admit that even after two decades of honing our craft, we’re still perfecting how to provide consulting solutions in this fashion, to this unique profession.

Providing advice over a phone line or a computer isn’t all that difficult; what’s harder is gathering enough high-quality and relevant information to diagnose the problem or problems and then to provide customized, accurate and practical solutions. To do all that, we’ve had to learn how to listen at a professional level–and we had to design those systems and processes almost from scratch.

The mistake that almost all consultants and coaches in this industry make is to try to get an advisor on board as quickly as possible so that, as information providers, they don’t give away too much up front or spend too long trying to help only to be passed over as the service provider. The process usually comes down to 30 minutes of discussion and then a quick diagnosis that best fits what the consultant or coach has to sell, rather than what the client truly needs.

We don’t do it that way.

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Topics: Compensation, Business Growth, Sustainability, Enterprise

Estimating Value Based on Recurring Revenue

Posted by Ryan Grau CVA, CBA on Jun 7, 2021 2:18:00 PM

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Recurring revenue is one of the most important single determinants of value. Revenue produced through management fees, trails, or renewals is ongoing and reasonably predictable. Transactional revenue is more elusive and difficult to predict. While this isn’t cutting edge news, it is important to understand that recurring revenue is more predictable and presents less risk of future earnings when compared to transactional revenue. As such, when a portion of revenue is generated from transactional revenue, buyers will require a higher rate of return (discount) when compared to other market alternatives that provide more certainty.

Rule of Thumb?

It is important to understand the difference between an adjusted pricing multiple based on the specific characteristics of the business being valued versus a “rule of thumb.” A rule of thumb for the financial services industry is that businesses sell for two-times gross recurring revenue and one-times non-recurring revenue, or that they are worth five-times Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA). Often sellers approach us asking if the offer they have received based on a rule of thumb is sufficient or fair. This question cannot reasonably be answered without understanding the revenue characteristics of the practice.

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Topics: Business Growth, Revenue Strength, Business Value, Multiples

Aligning Ownership Priorities for Success

Posted by Kem Taylor on Jan 28, 2021 2:17:34 PM

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In our over ten years’ experience helping businesses design and implement internal succession plans, we’ve seen that each generation—G1, G2, and G3—can, naturally, have their own distinct points of view and priorities. These differences are common and normal. By acknowledging these differences and communicating with each other, teams can adjust their expectations, align their priorities, and see their transition plans work out to the satisfaction of everybody.

But how do you align different priorities within your own ownership team? Below are three examples of how to facilitate this alignment. These examples are not of particular clients, but are taken from a conglomeration of advisor situations over the years.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Acquisition, Business Growth, Next Generation

The Four Greatest Opportunities for Financial Advisors

Posted by FP Transitions on Jul 16, 2020 7:27:21 AM

Four Opportunities for Financial Advisors

Today’s Independent financial advisors face an endless array of challenges and opportunities. Identifying challenges before they arise is key for finding solutions and developing strategies for tackling the issues that present the greatest opportunities for improvement and growth.

The four biggest opportunities are:

  • Balancing Growth and Profitability
  • Recruiting and Retaining Talent
  • Creating Business Sustainability
  • Growth Through Mergers and Acquisitions

Balancing Growth and Profitability

Growth and profitability are inextricably linked and balancing the two within a single practice is the difference between building a one-generational practice and a multi-generational, sustainable enterprise.

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Topics: Compensation, Succession Planning, Acquisition, Business Growth, Mergers, Talent Recruitment, Sustainability, Enterprise

Monitoring the Health of Your Business with Annual Checkups

Posted by Mike McKennon on May 28, 2020 10:57:46 AM

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Completing an annual valuation on your business is the financial service industry equivalent of undergoing your annual physical. I’ll turn 55 this year and I have resigned myself to the fact that prescription medications have officially become their own food group and an annual physical is no longer optional. My annual pilgrimage happens to take place in the spring tucked neatly amongst the sporadic appointments to see specialists for knees, elbows, near sightedness, far sightedness, rotator cuffs and something about my lumbar.

Now, the key word here is annual. If I had my cholesterol checked 10 years ago and then never again how am I going to know if what I am doing is working? An annual examination provides a historical record of your overall health including your vital signs enabling you to make changes in order to perform at your best. The good news is that, unlike my annual physical, your valuation results should get better as your business matures.

Your business is a living, breathing entity. Just like the investments you make on behalf of your clients, it needs to be nurtured, protected, and developed in order to realize its maximum value. It’s important that your valuation be updated annually. The monetary value of your practice is just one of many pieces of information to be gleaned from a professional business valuation.

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Topics: Acquisition, Business Growth, Business Value, Exit Planning, Continuity, Benchmarking

Synthetic Equity

Posted by FP Transitions on May 6, 2020 10:43:48 AM

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Equity-based compensation provides an excellent solution for practice owners who need a reward system that goes beyond the traditional salary/bonus structure and shares the economic value of equity, but not equity itself. 

A critical element in the success of any small business is its ability to recruit, reward, and retain talented advisors and support staff. To this end, equity compensation is often used to achieve these goals. Synthetic equity is a tool set that can provide ownership-level benefits without buying or selling actual stock in an advisory business.

To be clear, the process of transforming a single-owner practice into a sustainable business generally relies on equity. Equity, or stock, is what next-generation advisors invest in, and over time and with hard work benefit from, above and beyond what compensation alone can provide. Equity is the shareholder value created in a business managed from a bottom-line up perspective with a focus on earnings or profits as the ultimate financial goal. Equity is a powerful building and motivational tool, but with the opportunities come obligations. Because of these obligations, buying or selling equity isn’t the only way to offer key employees ownership-like benefits, nor is it always the best option.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Equity, Multi-Generational Ownership, Business Growth, Talent Recruitment

Virtual Meetings : Looking Your Best [Video]

Posted by Alex Moan on Apr 13, 2020 10:22:15 AM

Virtual meetings are becoming the new normal. Taking a few moments to arrange your visible workspace, leverage what have at home to improve lighting, and frame yourself onscreen can do wonders for looking your best through virtual communications. Our Video Marketing Specialist, Alex Moan shares some tips in the video below. 

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Topics: Education, Business Growth, Culture, Client Relationships

Controlling What You Can, Learning From What You Can’t

Posted by Marcus Hagood on Apr 1, 2020 4:44:25 PM

Controlling What You Can, Learning From What You Can’t

“Instead of focusing on the circumstances that you cannot change—focus strongly and powerfully on the circumstances that you can.” –Joy Page

One of my favorite movies of all time is Casablanca. This 1942 American romantic drama is revered for its cinematic quality, lead characters, fantastic writing, and pervasive theme song “As Time Goes By.” It is set in a time of war, upheaval, and great uncertainty; in fact, the movie is the perfect foil for the underlying message that we control our fate through direct action. There are many scenes that highlight that message, but Joy Page was a part of one particular scene that foreshadows the ending of the movie and reinforces her thoughts as expressed above.

In this scene, Humphrey Bogart, playing the lead character Rick Blaine, tells the husband of a newly-wed Romanian couple to make a bet on the roulette table at Rick’s Café Américain casino. To summate the plot line, earlier in the movie, Rick had turned down helping the newly-wed wife played by Joy Page citing that he helps no one to avoid the suspicion of the Vichy police.

As the plot line continues, Rick has a change of heart and whispers in the husband’s ear to make a risky bet on the rigged roulette table. With a little help, the husband wins enough money to buy a passage out of Casablanca for himself and his new wife. The action that Rick takes in this scene foreshadows his later actions that free Victor Laszlo and his wife, Ilsa Lund, from the Germans and Vichy Police in Casablanca. The rest is cinematic history.

In times of uncertainty, it is always wise to focus on what you directly control, as pointed out by Ms. Page’s quote. Whether we look at current politics, markets, regulation, news, or the current state of the financial services industry, there have been (and always will be) many events outside of your control as a practice owner that affect your work. How do you deal with this constant noise? Recognize it for what it is and focus on the things you can control with direct action.

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Topics: Commentary, Organizational Structure, Business Growth, Continuity, Talent Recruitment, Sustainability

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