Merge or partner with a peer

When the right businesses combine, great success can be achieved, but there’s lots to think about.

You may know other firms local to you, or you may be approached by a firm who has specifically sought you out to discuss the idea of merging or partnering. When done right, this approach offers some real advantages.

For example, merging or partnering with a local peer could provide greater efficiencies in the form of reduced costs for both businesses. It may lead to savings for clients due to a stronger position of negotiation with platforms and providers. And it might also solve recruitment issues, providing access to quality support or more advisers.

A merger or partnership could also be a step towards a future internal exit route, providing the scope for a management buyout, or employee ownership trust where currently you don’t have the breadth in your team to explore these options. Or where you’re looking to exit at the same time as your new shareholders or partners, on the open market a firm with a larger profit figure and a stronger management team may receive a better offer financially and/or the ability to sell the firm as a ‘going concern’.

In principle, this route may appear attractive. And when the right businesses combine, great success can be achieved. But when reviewing this option, there’s lots to think about, so consider these key questions:

  • What value are you both bringing, and how are you setting your valuation at outset?
  • Does one business carry risk the other doesn’t?
  • Is there really such thing as a true merger?
  • Who is going to take those key managerial roles across the newly formed union?
  • Is there a strong alignment in your approach, proposition and charging structure? Can these be harmonised?
  • What are your future objectives, and is there an alignment here?
  • Are both parties going to contribute similarly to future growth of the business?

You may like your peers as people, but going into business together is like a marriage. You should see the shareholder or partnership agreement as a pre-nup – hope for the best but plan for the worst!

How we help

Understand what you want

We can’t help you achieve your objectives without understanding them. So that’s exactly where we start. This means we’re both working in partnership towards meeting your goals.

Making the right choice

You only sell your business once. You’ve got to get it right. We’re independent, and we work for you, so we’ll give you an unbiased and honest list of potential options. We may encourage you to speak to a range of types of buyers for that reassurance you are making the right decision.

Maximising value

Putting the hard work in now pays off when due diligence starts. We’ll prepare you for the process ahead, provide time for improvement and help you to make the best first impression. This will instil confidence in buyers, open doors and improve value.

Acting for you, not the buyer

When it’s appropriate, our Partner Route means we represent you and not the buyer. This option can open up a wider range of opportunities and means we can negotiate all aspects on your behalf. Remember too, we never take a fee from both parties.

A partner through the process

We’ve been in your shoes and know how stressful the process can be. Our knowledge of running a regulated business, as well as the acquisition landscape, means we are perfectly placed to remove the pressure on you and deal with the inevitable bumps in the road, so you can get on with the day job.

Building your team

We’ve built up a strong network of professional connections who can help you build and exit your firm, all with significant experience in this regulated space. From outsourced suppliers to legal and tax experts, these are all at your disposal. As you’d expect, we never take any fees for making an introduction.

We’ve been in your shoes

Victoria Hicks and Brian Hill have been in your shoes. Over the past few years, they’ve both successfully exited their advice businesses. Now, their mission is to help advisers, planners and wealth managers do the same by providing help, insight and support that sellers haven’t previously had access to. At the same time, the pair want to enhance the profession they care greatly about and which provides such value and education to clients.

Find out more