TRANSITION TALK

The Case Against Revenue Splits [Article]

Posted by FP Transitions on Oct 28, 2020 6:16:00 AM

With all of the modern tools for practice valuations and equity management solutions available, some financial advisors still choose to use revenue splits, or a revenue-sharing arrangement, as a makeshift succession plan. For a practice owner, this can be a poor and shortsighted business decision for several reasons, including:

  • Unfavorable tax implications.
  • Potential asset and client disputes.
  • Reduced business value.
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Topics: Compensation, Succession Planning, Enterprise Strength, Cash Flow, Sustainability

Identifying Key Successor Traits

Posted by FP Transitions on Oct 21, 2020 6:19:34 PM

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As an owner of a successful financial advisory business, you understand that the team you’ve built is vital to that success. Taking the next step and giving your top talent the opportunity to become owners can increase your growth and ensure that the business will continue to be successful–for generations to come.

Assembling this successor team and committing to a long-term partnership are important and weighty decisions. How will you know who will make a good partner? What traits and behaviors suggest that someone will make a successful owner? Much of that depends on your own values and priorities as the majority owner of your firm.

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Topics: Succession Planning, Next Generation, Sustainability, Building Your Team

Benefits of Synthetic Equity for Next-Generation Professionals

Posted by Stuart Smith, JD on Sep 30, 2020 4:56:11 PM

Benefits of Synthetic Equity for Next-Generation Advisors

The term “synthetic equity” refers to a set of compensation tools that is commonly used to provide key employees some of the economic benefits of ownership without actual stock changing hands. While existing owners may benefit from synthetic equity by capitalizing on employee performance without relinquishing ownership, there are key benefits to next-generation advisors, too.

Reduced Financial Risk

One of the most beneficial aspects of synthetic equity for a next-generation advisor is that it does not require a financial investment in the firm. As a younger professional, you may already be juggling the financial obligations of a new family, a recent home purchase, or student loans, and you may not be interested in taking on the added burden of ownership buy-in–yet.

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Topics: Compensation, Succession Planning, Next Generation, Sustainability, Building Your Team

Remodeling Cash Flow [Article]

Posted by FP Transitions on Sep 10, 2020 10:23:33 AM

There are two ways to make money from a financial services business: wages and profit distributions. But, there are four ways to build wealth from the same model: 

  1. Wages (including bonuses)
  2. Profit distributions
  3. Equity income selling equity
  4. Equity value, or stock appreciation

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Topics: Compensation, Succession Planning, Enterprise Strength, Cash Flow, Sustainability

Don't Forget to Take a Vacation!

Posted by Kem Taylor on Jul 20, 2020 4:12:35 PM

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I recently checked in on a client and she mentioned that she had to remind her staff to take vacation. As a small business owner, she wears many hats including H.R. As she processed payroll week after week she noticed her staff wasn’t requesting PTO. Her immediate concern was that employees would lose their accrued time off if they didn’t use it. More importantly, time away from work is necessary to get rested and charge your batteries.

Admittedly, “going on vacation” in these times may just mean closing and locking the door to your home office or taking your laptop and files off of the dining room table and putting them away for a few days. However, depending on where you live, you may be able to go out and safely explore local parks and trails or even go camping.

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Topics: Culture, Sustainability

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

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

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

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