Acquisition strategies are varied and diverse; how an advisor or a firm pursues acquisitions will depend on their business model and philosophy. While the approach to acquisition should be personalized, it is a mistake to do it alone. In addition to the successful transactions presented in this report, FP Transitions works with many advisors who have endured failed sales or stalled deals.
The story of a failed transaction often begins with one or both parties hesitating to hire a mediator, the perception being that their deal is “simple,” and that buyer and seller can save money if they do it themselves. The information we gather from these clients about their failed sales gives our consultants broader perspective on what works and what doesn’t in an evolving marketplace. When we combine this information with the data gathered from successful deals, it is clear that investing in a mediator improves results for both buyers and sellers in terms of success rate, speed, and value.
One misconception advisors often share with us is the belief that one-on-one negotiations are easier and brokers will just get in the way of a personal connection between buyer and seller. This perception is understandable, as it is essential that buyer and seller have a mutual affinity and have aligned interests in order to transfer and retain client relationships after the deal is done. However, mutual affinity is not sufficient to get buyer and seller over basic negotiating factors, such as valuation, deal structuring, and tax allocation of the purchase price. These are complex topics where a mediator can provide expertise and perspective to both sides and advance the deal forward.
Financial services is such a regulated industry, with the added complexity of requiring a long transition, that it is common for a sale to get bogged down in “paperwork.” So, while each party does need representation, there also needs to be a knowledgeable and neutral mediator who can be responsible for keeping everyone on track, offer solutions, and has data to show why one side’s objection is or is not valid.