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

Mergers - A Nontraditional Growth & Acquisition Strategy

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

Blog Banner Refresh Mergers - A Nontraditional Growth &  Acquisition  Strategy (1)

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

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

Independent Advisors Will Unlock the Future (If They Can Hold Onto the Keys)

Posted by FP Transitions on Sep 5, 2023 9:15:00 AM


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.

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

Selling Your Practice, One Chance to Do it Right

Posted by FP Transitions on Aug 30, 2023 9:30:00 AM

Blog - Selling your practice, One chance to do it right

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:

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

Price, Not Value, Is a Product of Negotiation

Posted by FP Transitions on Jul 24, 2023 9:00:00 AM

Blog Banner - Price, Not Value, is a Product of Negotiation

Price is usually the most difficult hurdle for buyers and sellers to overcome. The value of a business is different for each party participating in a transaction and is based on opinion and the specific set of circumstances for each individual. Price, on the other hand, is the number at which the transaction is executed. Yes, value informs price, but it is not the only influencer. Price is also the result of good faith negotiations between buyer and seller. While negotiation does not necessarily impact each party’s perception of value, it allows for dialogue so that both sides arrive at a price where the value for each individual overlaps and a mutually beneficial deal can be struck.

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

Tips for Increasing Firm Value

Posted by FP Transitions on Apr 11, 2023 10:00:00 AM


You invest a substantial amount of energy into running, growing, and evolving your business. Knowing when, where, and how to best direct your efforts could mean the difference in thousands, or even millions, of dollars long-term. Having spent two decades accruing and organizing essential datapoints on more than 15,000 businesses, we’ve got a tight grasp on what matters most at each step of the way.

Depending upon your goals, certain areas will move the needle faster than others. Rather than guess at the best use of your limited resources, our team has compiled a list of places where your ownership and C-Suite team can start assessing opportunities for increased firm value.

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Topics: Selling Your Practice, Business Growth, M&A, Revenue Strength, Business Value, Revenue Sharing, Multiples, Benchmarking, Valuation & Appraisal, KPI

2023 Financing Update - An Interview with Live Oak Bank

Posted by FP Transitions on Feb 27, 2023 9:26:00 AM

2023 Financing Update Live Oak

We’re coming off an incredible year from mergers and acquisitions yet again. In fact, we closed out 2022 as one of our greatest ever for FP Transitions, and the same goes for Live Oak Bank. We took a moment to reconnect with James Hughes, SVP of Advisory Lending for Live Oak Bank, to break down the key areas advisors should consider before they enter the 2023 mergers and acquisitions environment. 

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Topics: Acquisition, M&A, Business Value, Deal Structure, Financing, Bank Financing, Buying & Selling, State of the Market, Next Generation, Valuation & Appraisal, "Buying, Selling, and Valuing Financial Practices", Sell and Stay™, Trends

Surviving Deal Fatigue

Posted by FP Transitions on Jun 28, 2022 9:30:00 AM

Surviving Deal Fatigue

Despite the continued surge of wealth management M&A activity, one surprising fact remains: most of these market participants are engaging in a transaction for the very first time.  While there are aggregators and larger RIAs that will continue to build up their business through strategic acquisitions, the majority of today’s deals spark from a mutual attraction either from aligned competencies, or complementary competencies, that allow both firms to amplify their growth and sustainability.   

According to James Fisher, Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions at FP Transitions, “Many practices are looking to be acquired or merge with a larger business to spur growth, to benefit from economies of scale, to offload compliance and day-to-day operations, to increase bandwidth and offerings to clients, or to assist with the retirement of one or more senior owners/partners, among other reasons.”   

Regardless of experience, it takes a lot of patience, communication, time, and expertise to navigate the entire deal process. For firms going through this, on any side of the table, negotiating and documenting the transaction can often be more time consuming than anyone anticipated, creating the perfect environment for an all-to-common problem: deal fatigue.  

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