Challenging Questions to Answer About Moving, Merging, or Selling a Financial Advisory Business.
Finding like-minded partnerships as a Financial Advisor or Firm Owner can be incredibly difficult and time consuming. Yet almost every Financial Advisory Professional at some point in their career, will make the decision to either move into a partnership with a successor, partner with a different firm for scale and growth, or sell their business outright. For many, it’s not uncommon to make a transition of some sort, several times.
Many advisors seek out a new firm to partner with so they can provide a better client deliverable/experience, have a better economic structure, or further grow and scale their business through lead generation and operational support. Finding the right firm for them and their clients is often at the foundation for achieving their best vocational life.
Although there are many reasons for Wealth Managers to seek out a better platform for their practice, there are also many challenges that come with the territory. Because each Advisor’s situation is so unique, there are many questions that the internet or a colleague simply cannot answer. Because of the magnitude and impact of such a transition, a poor choice can be devastating and a good choice can change the trajectory of an Advisor’s entire career.
Because of the significance of such a decision, it is often best to have an expert assess your specific scenario and walk you through the process of discovering specifically what you are looking for and what all of your options are. Among other vital questions that need to be answered in order to make a successful transition, the ones listed below are some of the most common:
1. What is my business worth?
There are some commonly known anecdotes that can be used to estimate the value of an Advisor’s book of business. However, the Financial Services Industry is constantly changing. Having realistic and up-to-date expectations that are backed by a valuation specialist, can be key when it comes to structuring the economics of a deal.
Even if an Advisor is not selling their business but simply moving it to a new firm and maintaining ownership of their client relationships, it is still of utmost importance to know what their market value is or what their business is worth. Having this information is imperative to understanding whether or not the economics of a partnership are fair and competitive.
2. What do I really want in a purchaser or in a partnership?
Beyond the economics of a partnership, there are countless other factors that create value for Advisors that some firms provide, while others do not. Creating a thorough list of desires and needs is going to ensure that little to nothing falls through the cracks while vetting options.
In many cases, it is advisable to seek out the opinion of an expert. Someone who knows the landscape of what is available can walk with you through the creation of a list and suggest items that may have been missed. A common mistake is to overlook the qualitative items such as culture, values, biases and behaviors. Yet in many cases, these are as important as the economics.
3. What are my options and how do I make sure I am truly compatible with my choices?
Determining one’s options is undoubtedly the most time-consuming step in the process and the options are endless. Nearly every advisory firm wants to recruit or acquire new Advisors. Be that as it may, only certain firms have invested enough time and resources into creating a platform that will actually take Advisors to their next level of success in their career.
To sift through the noise and narrow down the search in an efficient manner, it is again advisable to allow an expert who has already done the research and due diligence, to be a guide in the selection process. Utilizing the expertise of a third-party consultant can significantly streamline the process. If they truly know the landscape of what is available, they can help determine which options best align with an Advisor’s wants and needs.
4. How do I make sure I’m making the right decision?
Having a list of non-negotiables and desires is vital. However, checking boxes on a piece of paper often does not seem like enough reassurance when it comes time to sign documents. This again is where the subjective human guidance of a well-seasoned expert comes into play.
Having a holistic opinion about your unique scenario from someone who has helped hundreds through the process of a transition, will not only help you make the right decision, but it will help you sleep at night during the process. That being said, a decision should never be made solely based on the opinion of a third party. It must be clear to the Advisor that the transition will not only benefit them, but their clients and staff as well.
5. How do I mitigate risk and limit sunk cost?
Most all of the previous points fall under this one all-encompassing question in some way or another. How do I lower risk, find the proverbial force-multiplier, and limit the time and resources spent throughout the partnership process? Working with a third-party consultant is often the best way to holistically answer these questions.
As with any business relationship, trust must be built between Financial Advisory Professionals and the consultants they choose to work with. Once trust is established and the consultant proves their expertise, the process can begin.
If you are currently in the process of researching your options or you have just begun to contemplate a transition, Advisory DNA would love to help you on your journey. If you would like a complimentary consultation with one of our experts and would like to learn more about our unique technology platform and compatibility process, please email us at info@AdvisoryDNA.com or contact us through our website.