TRANSITION TALK

Structuring Ownership Compensation

Posted by Stuart Smith, JD on Mar 11, 2020 8:52:42 AM

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Professionals working in the independent financial services industry tend to organize their business the same way as other professional service providers. Whether a dentist, lawyer, or wealth advisor, chances are that the firm owner is both a full-time employee and an active manager of the business as well as a shareholder. We are often asked in our consulting work about this dual role; shareholder and employee, and the interplay between them, particularly as it relates to compensation strategies. For example, should employees be rewarded with stock, or the opportunity to buy stock for achieving certain targets? Or, now that I am an owner, shouldn’t I get a raise?  

There are no simple answers to these questions, but context should help to understand the thought process required to make informed decisions when these issues inevitably arise.

Salary vs. Profit Share

At a first level, ownership and pay are distinct concepts with unique rules, purposes, benefits and risks. These concepts represent the division between the return an investor receives on the capital put at risk and the reward received by an employee for the work that is performed. This division should be simple, self-evident and unbending, but the reality in a small business is often far different. The smaller the company, the harder it is to maintain a distinction between ownership returns and compensation. In the most basic model, a one owner company, the black and white lines dividing a return on investment and wages for work often disappear completely.

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Topics: Compensation, Business Growth, Enterprise

Financing for Successors

Posted by Christine Sjölin on Feb 21, 2020 10:32:39 AM

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Your principal advisor has invited you to become an owner. Congratulations! The majority of next-generation advisors are energized by the demand for and the opportunity of succession planning, but most founders are stalled leaving successors frustrated. Your challenge as a successor is helping to make the process work for everyone involved. One important way to do that is to recognize the principal owner’s impediments and to help him or her understand the process and how accessible it actually is.

The Primary Obstacle

Like you, most successors—hamstrung by student debt, mid-stride in buying homes, building families, and still growing in their careers and earnings potential—don’t have money to invest in a business. Eager founders (“G1s” or first-generation owners) may seek to remove these obstacles by gifting or granting ownership, but this can taint the relationship as G1 may ultimately feel short-changed by giving away part of the business they built with their own sweat and toil. Beginning a partnership where one side feels cheated isn’t an ideal way to launch a successful, satisfying transition. There has to be a better way. In fact, many founders and successors come together each year with plans that are truly win/win. So where does the money come from? In many cases, the answer is the business itself.

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

Targeted Growth Solutions for Financial Advisors - FREE eBook Download

Posted by FP Transitions on Nov 13, 2019 1:17:01 PM

Today’s independent financial advisors face an endless array of opportunities (and challenges). The key is to identify impediments before they arise and to develop strategies for tackling the issues that present the greatest opportunities for improvement and growth.

There are four main challenges essential to the success of your business:

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Topics: Compensation, Succession Planning, Acquisition, Business Growth, M&A, Next Generation, Talent Recruitment, Enterprise

Elevating a Legacy : A G2 Success Story

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on Nov 7, 2019 12:18:25 PM

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In our first book “Succession Planning for Financial Advisors,” founder David Grau Sr., JD recounted one advisor’s early succession journey, including his ownership team’s bumps and triumphs as they executed the first tranches of their plan. Today, David circles back to provide an update on the successor team and all they’ve accomplished in six short years:

Ten years ago, around 2009, the founder and sole owner of Diversified Financial Consultants in Wilmington, Delaware, hired a local business attorney to help him develop a succession plan for his financial planning practice organized as an S-corporation. Calling on a practice’s local business attorney is a common starting point, and interestingly, it seems to be a common failure point when attempting to mesh the goals of the founder and next-gen advisors.. In this case, the founder’s attorney strongly suggested that in order for the founder to maintain full and unfettered control, the best course of action was a phantom-stock plan.The first draft was professional and thorough. It was also rejected out of hand by the team of prospective owners – they wanted to be real owners and investors in the business they were helping to grow.

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

Next-Gen Impact

Posted by Kem Taylor on Oct 23, 2019 5:11:16 PM

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The sustainability of financial services businesses depends on the incorporation of new talent. The demand for next-generation talent continues to increase as longevity, continuity, and staying competitive become top priorities for many financial advisor-owners.

Next-generation advisors are in a unique position to leverage their generational experiences and opportunities that influence business value to carve out their ideal career path.

Opportunities Abound

The demand for financial advice is growing faster than the number of financial planners available to provide it. Household assets are increasing and the number of households with over $200,000+ in income has increased 10% in the last two years and is expected to climb.1 Along with accumulating their own wealth, younger investors are set to receive inheritances from their parent’s generation. The need for asset management is further exacerbated by the fact that the average age of financial advisors trends older so many are set to slow down or retire over the next ten years.

The battle for talent is upon us and it is important to recognize that as a next-generation financial planner, you have more career choices than ever. You can start your own business, or seek employment at a broker-dealer, bank, wirehouse, or RIA. Even those choices have many options within themselves. For instance, in terms of joining an RIA, 15 years ago, small firms were often the only option. Today, you can work for a smaller regional enterprise, a national company with hundreds of advisors and staff, or an RIA somewhere in between.

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

NEW Roundtable Talk - G2 Perspectives : Cultural Fit and the Ownership Mentality

Posted by FP Transitions on Oct 21, 2019 11:59:31 AM

In this Roundtable Talk, the next-generation ownership of FP Transitions discuss their own experiences in taking the mantle to shape the team and future of the business. They explore hiring for cultural fit and potential value, the definition of “ownership mentality,” and how they might identify potential G3 leaders in the generation beyond their own.

Watch a short clip below and click here to watch the full, unscripted discussion.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Next Generation, Talent Recruitment, Enterprise

Entrepreneurs Need Intrapreneurs

Posted by Kem Taylor on Oct 8, 2019 2:49:38 PM

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We all know what an entrepreneur is. Many independent financial advisors would likely identify themselves as an entrepreneur. 

Many entrepreneurs worked 18-hour days to get their business off the ground and wore all the hats in the company–CEO, Marketing Director, H.R. Manager, IT Coordinator, Bookkeeper, and Visionary. They are their own boss. They create new things. They continuously solve problems. They have initiative. And, importantly, they can tolerate risk more than most people. 

A lesser-known term is "intrapreneur."

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Topics: Succession Planning, Business Growth, Next Generation, Sustainability, Enterprise

Plotting Your Exit

Posted by FP Transitions on Sep 27, 2019 2:10:05 PM

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When should you start developing your exit plan or succession plan?

The short answer is: start the planning process early. Successful internal succession planning can be a 10- to 15-year process so give yourself adequate time. For advisors who want to sell externally, the planning process should start three to five years before you think you’re ready to actually sell.

Projecting an Off Ramp

As you forecast your exit timeline it’s important to consider factors like cash flow and how much will be required to move into retirement and maintain your desired lifestyle. You should also consider how long it will take to put your successor team in place and when you’ll be able to hand over the reins completely.

One of the best ways to make a timeline projection is to determine how much time you want to—or will realistically be able to—spend productively working in the office, and create a “workweek trajectory.”

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Topics: Succession Planning, Selling Your Practice, Business Growth, FP Transitions, Sustainability, Enterprise, Sell and Stay™

A Green Paper for Financial Advisors

Posted by Stuart Smith, JD on Sep 13, 2019 12:42:27 PM

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We write a fair number of white papers every year. As thought leaders, it is part of our job to share our thinking with independent financial professionals in order to advance the profession. In our consulting work, our clients often challenge us with thought provoking questions which open us to new ideas, help us to improve, and occasionally challenge basic assumptions behind the work that we perform. Sometimes questions are really out of left field and our curiosity leads us to an answer worth sharing.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Business Growth, FP Transitions, Sustainability, Enterprise

NEW Roundtable Talk - Time : An Essential Element of Succession Planning

Posted by FP Transitions on Aug 13, 2019 7:00:00 AM

In our newest Roundtable Talk, Elite Client Consultant Kem Taylor and President David Grau Sr., JD, discuss the importance of time when it comes to planning, executing, and evolving your succession plan. During the conversation they cover examples of how FP Transitions has helped business owners navigate any changes to their plan including accelerating the timeline, adjusting the next-generation ownership team, and falling back to “Plan B”–selling the business.

Watch a short clip below and click here to watch the full, unscripted discussion.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Next Generation, Talent Recruitment, Enterprise

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