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Succession Planning for Financial Advisors: Building an Enduring Business, + Website

ISBN: 978-1-118-86647-4
224 pages
June 2014
Succession Planning for Financial Advisors: Building an Enduring Business, + Website (1118866479) cover image

This book is going to challenge you and everything you think you know about succession planning.

For independent advisors, succession planning is quickly becoming the cornerstone to a strategic growth strategy designed to perpetuate their business and their income streams beyond their own lifetime, while providing a multi-generational service platform that attracts and rewards younger advisors. This makes succession planning one of the most, if not the most, important practice management tools in this industry today.

As an independent financial advisor, now is the time to address the question of what will happen to your practice and your clients after you “exit the building.”  In most cases, the answers are right in front of you. Thankfully, Succession Planning for Financial Advisors: Building an Enduring Business has arrived to transform today’s practices into businesses designed to endure and prosper and serve generations of clients.

  • Learn how to create a “Lifestyle Succession Plan” that can provide a lifetime of income and benefits to the founder even as he/she gradually retires on the job
  • Unlock the power of equity management – the best planning and building tool an independent advisor owns
  • Learn how to attract and retain the best of the next generation to help you build a great business and to support your succession plans and care for your clients and their families
  • Determine precisely when to start a formal succession plan and related continuity plan so that your business can work for you when you need it most
  • Understand why succession planning and selling your business are completely different strategies, but how they can complement each other when used correctly 

95% of independent financial service professionals are one owner practices.  To the positive, these practices are among the most valuable professional service models in America. But almost all advisors are assembling their practices using the wrong tools – tools borrowed from historically successful, but vastly different models including wirehouses, broker-dealers, and even OSJ’s and branch managers.  Revenue sharing, commission splitting and other eat-what-you-kill compensation methods dominate the independent sector and virtually ensure that today’s independent practices, if left unchanged, will not survive the end of their founder’s career.  It is time to change course and this book provides the map and the details to help you do just that. 

For independent practice owners and staff members, advisors who want to transition to independence, as well as accountants, attorneys, coaches and others involved in the financial services space, there are invaluable lessons to be learned from Succession Planning for Financial Advisors. Written by the leading succession planning expert in the financial services industry, former securities regulator, M&A specialist, and founder of the nationally recognized consulting and equity management firm, FP Transitions, David Grau Sr., JD, has created an unmatched resource that will have an enduring and resounding impact on an entire industry.

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Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

CHAPTER 1 The Succession Conundrum 1

Practices Built to Die 1

What Exactly Is a Succession Plan? 2

Why You Need to Create a Succession Plan Now 4

Your Clients Are Watching You! 8

Why This Industry Struggles with This Concept 9

The Evolution of the Solution 11

Mind Your Own Business 14

The Opportunity at Hand 16

CHAPTER 2 How to Start Creating Your Succession Plan 19

Defining Your Goals 19

Building a Foundation for Success 24

Facing Your Biggest Challenges 26

Equity—A Powerful Business-Building Tool 33

Valuing a Financial Services Practice 35

Practicing Equity Management 47

Building Profit-Driven Businesses 49

CHAPTER 3 Transforming Your Practice into a Business 51

Assessing What You Have Built 51

A Building Problem, Not a Planning Problem 55

A Parable 58

Building Your Ship 60

Rethinking Your Compensation System 61

Balancing Revenue Strength and Enterprise Strength 63

Selecting the Right Entity Structure 65

Remodeling Your Cash Flow 72

Production Model versus Business Model 77

CHAPTER 4 Creating Your Succession Team 81

The People Problem 81

The Secret Formula: G-1 + G-2 + G-3 82

Plan Before You Build and Hire 85

Mining the Talent Pool 87

Turning Employees into Equity Partners 89

Onboarding Talent with a Book of Business 91

The Case of the Super Producer 94

Help Wanted Ad 96

Solving the Talent Crisis in This Industry 98

A Conversation with the Next Generation 99

CHAPTER 5 The First Step—A Continuity Plan 103

A Dress Rehearsal for Succession Planning 103

What Exactly Is a Continuity Plan? 104

Basic Components of a Continuity Plan 105

Types of Agreements 106

Funding Your Continuity Plan 111

Continuity Plan Dos and Don’ts 112

A Powerful Acquisition Tool 115

Communicating Your Plan 115

CHAPTER 6 Charting Your Succession Course 117

Exit Strategies versus Succession Plans 117

Selling Your Practice 118

Mergers 124

What Doesn’t Work in This Industry 126

Employee Stock Ownership Plans 129

What Does Work? A Lifestyle Succession Plan 132

Goals of a Lifestyle Succession Plan 134

The Family Business—A Special Case 136

“Yes, but . . .” (Obstacles to Overcome) 139

CHAPTER 7 Succession Planning Step-by-Step 147

Where to Start 147

Assembling Your Support Team 150

Enjoy the Planning Process 152

Doing the Math 153

Establishing a Fair Price 154

The Nuts and Bolts of a Plan 155

Documentation 166

Bank Financing—Expanding Your Options 167

Beware of Benchmarks and Survey Results 169

CHAPTER 8 A Tale of Ownership 171

Succession Planning Case Study 171

CHAPTER 9 Course Corrections 179

Returning to the Harbor 179

Empowering the Next Generation 180

Growth Is a Sign That Your Plan Is Working 182

What to Do When Your Plans Change 183

What to Do When Their Plans Change 184

Handling the Culture Shift 185

Conclusion 187

About the Companion Website 189

About the Author 191

Index 193

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DAVID GRAU SR., JD, is the founder and president of FP Transitions, a firm that specializes in building financial services businesses of enduring and transferable value. He has authored over 85 nationally published articles, white papers, and manuals on complex succession strategies, equity management, business continuity, income-perpetuation plans, and mergers and acquisitions. Grau Sr. was named one of the most influential people in the profession in an industry survey by Financial Planning magazine and is a nationally recognized expert on succession planning and business-perpetuation strategies in the financial services industry.

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