TRANSITION TALK

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

G2 Perspectives : Advice for Next-Generation Owners

Posted by FP Transitions on Feb 27, 2020 1:39:54 PM

As industry leaders in designing and facilitating internal succession plans for financial advisory firms, the leadership team at FP Transitions has its own talented, multigenerational ownership team in place. Our next-generation leaders have unique strengths and perspectives that keep our business constantly innovating and growing.

 

“If you could give one piece of advice to prospective G2 candidates what would it be?”

“Build up your skillset.”

Being an owner is about more than just advising clients and producing revenue. You need to look at–and contribute to–the broader picture. Know where your knowledge gaps are and spend time understanding these areas to expand your contributions to the business. Owners may focus their expertise in one or two areas, but to be successful they need to have a solid understanding in every aspect of running a business.

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

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

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

Preparing Yourself (and Your Boss) for Ownership

Posted by FP Transitions on Aug 13, 2019 11:22:15 AM

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As a next-generation advisor, pursuing ownership as part of your career path is an important decision. Business ownership requires a variety of skill sets and comes with both benefits and responsibilities that go beyond the role of advisor. Before you consider asking for ownership from the existing owners of your firm, you need to demonstrate that it is not only something you are capable of, but something you have earned.

Starting with these four steps as early as possible will help you build a strong case for ownership:

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

Accessing the Next Stages of Growth

Posted by Kem Taylor on Jul 17, 2019 11:02:25 AM

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Over the last ten years, increasing numbers of advisors have begun the process of creating sustainable businesses. Many advisors started out as a book or a practice—one-generational models. They took steps to create much more valuable, multi-generational businesses by focusing on enterprise strength and setting up or restructuring essential business structures.

The M&A marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive. Businesses need a strong value proposition to step away from the crowd. Owners who have taken steps to work on building their enterprises are in the best position to leverage their unique business aspects to access more growth opportunities and become successful acquirers or merger partners. 

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Topics: Succession Planning, Multi-Generational Ownership, Organizational Structure, Business Growth, M&A, Sustainability

Impact of Consolidation

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on May 8, 2019 1:09:44 PM

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There has been a fair amount of talk over the past decades about consolidation in the financial services industry. Most of the white papers and articles addressing this concept have presented it in a negative light as though it signals the end of the lifestyle practices that dot the landscape in this profession. Industry regulation, growth, technology, fee compression, competition, and aging advisors forced smaller practices to consolidate just to survive. At least that was the working theory.

As the original organizers of the open marketplace for independent advisors seeking to sell or to acquire, we have a slightly different perspective on consolidation; we view it in a very positive light. Consolidation looks very different than what the prognosticators laid out decades ago. From our vantage point of working with businesses below $2 billion in AUM, we’ve observed the industry is indeed experiencing some consolidation, but not only due to acquisitions or roll-ups by companies like Focus Financial, United Capital, or Dynasty. The consolidation that we see every day is owners of stronger, sustainable enterprises acquiring smaller, one-generational books and practices.

Viewed in this light, how better to look after 250 clients or households when a single-owner advisory practice nears retirement than to find a very similarly structured business that can step in, take over, and provide for the staff members as well? This process works for the buyers, the sellers, and, most importantly, the clients.

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Topics: Multi-Generational Ownership, Organizational Structure, Business Growth, M&A, Sustainability, Trends in Transactions Study

Rights and Obligations of Equity Ownership

Posted by Kem Taylor on Apr 18, 2019 9:21:21 AM

Rights and Obligations of Ownership

As more wealth management businesses look to internal succession, more new owners are being created. As a next generation advisor, you should consider whether ownership is the right path for you, and it is important to understand what ownership entails. Owners of a privately-held business, even with a minority position, enjoy several rights and privileges in exchange for their investment in the company, but they are also responsible for meeting certain obligations.

The following rights and responsibilities apply to all owners whether the business is a corporation governed by bylaws or a limited liability company with an operating agreement.*

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

A New Goal for a New Generation

Posted by David Grau Sr., JD on Jun 9, 2015 1:30:00 PM

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Founding (G1) advisors are asking the wrong question: “How do I hire and retain employees with an entrepreneurial mind-set?” It should be, “How do I attract and retain employees with the skills and expertise to take my business to the next level?”

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

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