It may sound contrarian, but if you are interested in buying a business, do yourself a favor and never ask the question, “Can I buy your practice?” Experienced advisors that have bought a business before know this to be true, and the reason is simple. The question ignores the fundamental realities of practice acquisition in the financial services industry. In the financial services business, the person who says “yes” to the question, “do you want to sell?” is not necessarily the type of person from whom you want to buy a practice.
2 min read
If you asked us five years ago about financing the acquisition of an advisory practice in the financial services industry, there would not have been much to talk about. Until recently, almost all deals were done using a combination of buyer’s funds and seller financing. Bank financing was not a viable option for most deals because lenders generally struggled with the collateral on the loan – an advisor’s most valuable asset in their business is the client relationship and cash flow those relationships produce. Before the market drop in September 2008, some advisor buyers were able to leverage home-equity lines of credit or large business lines of credit, but most had to use personal funds to finance their deal, which priced many otherwise qualified successors out of the market. Until recently, the typical deal for advisors with less than $5,000,000 in annual revenue involved 20-40% cash down from a buyer, with the balance seller-financed over 4 to 5 years at 5-7% interest. That is changing, and the results seem to be good for everyone involved in the deals.
3 min read
On Thursday, March 15th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit struck down the DOL Fiduciary Rule. It is not known at this time whether this ruling will be appealed, or if it will apply to the entire country or just the states residing inside the 5th Circuit Court’s jurisdiction (Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas). Nevertheless, the decision will have an impact on the value of advisor practices in 2018 and beyond, due to the expected shift in the supply-demand curves for advisor practices that are for sale.