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

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Praise for Succession Planning for Financial Advisors

“At long last, a comprehensive, fact-based, and deeply insightful guide to overcoming excuses and giving all that is needed to build an enduring business. David Grau Sr. and the FP Transitions Team give a compelling account of a critical topic at a time that has never been more important, nor the need greater. The very essence of the independent advisor business is on the line. Clients, staff, and family members deserve a thoughtful approach and plan to ensure that their needs will be met and the true value of a life dedicated to helping others is celebrated through a long-lasting legacy of continuing to provide much needed independent advice.”
—Robert J. Moore, President, LPL Financial

“What is my practice worth? And how do I best recognize that value? Two straightforward questions with complex and nuanced answers. Nobody addresses those questions and answers better than David Grau Sr. and FP Transitions. This book will become the canon in the independent financial services industry on succession planning for years to come. In this book, Grau sets aside the myths and so-called ‘common sense’ approaches, and focuses the business owner on what is truly important in developing a real succession plan.”
—Kirk J. Hulett, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Practice Management, Securities America, Inc.

“Most financial advisors are deeply committed to their family, clients and employees, yet they put them at risk by not having a succession plan in place for their business. David Grau Sr. and the FP Transitions Team address this growing gap with Succession Planning for Financial Advisors—a wakeup call, a call to action, and much more. Grau’s astute and practical guidance will help advisors create and implement plans to secure the future of those who count on them—all while transforming their one-generational practice into an enduring business.”
—Valerie Brown, CEO, Cetera Financial Group

“David Grau Sr. and the FP Transitions Team accurately capture the industry’s dilemma while providing innovative outside of the box solutions to the problem. A must read for any advisor at any stage of their career. Outstanding!”
—B. Heapps, CLU, ChFC, President, John Hancock Financial Network (JHFN), Signator Investors, Inc.

“This book comes at an extremely important time in the history of the financial services industry as it approaches the potential loss of enormous intellectual capital possessed by the independent advisors of this country. Young professionals entering the industry are eager to find a vibrant organization requiring their dedication and talent as they progress towards a path to ownership. FP Transitions’ ‘secret formula’ provides such a path.”
—John Gilliam, PhD, CFP, CLU, Associate Professor and Director of MS Programs, Texas Tech University

“While passion is the catalyst for becoming an independent advisor, David and the FP Transitions Team offer the first practical guide to creating and monetizing real equity value as a business. In an industry where so much has changed, this book exposes the outdated assumptions of a by-gone era, arms you with the facts, and forges a clear path for achieving sustainable success for the future.”
—Sharon M. Theall, President, Strategic Management Advisors, LLC


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.

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