An IFA asks: "I'm worried about the welfare of my clients when I retire"


As a financial adviser, the foundation of your role is trust – you are responsible for your client’s financial welfare; this will eventually involve finding a buyer who will continue to put your client’s needs first when you retire. 

In some industries, retirement will only affect the individual employee and the organisation, but financial advisers need an exit strategy that will also take into account the potential impact on clients.

A vital part of this process is finding a buyer who shares the same cultural values as you and is the right fit for your clients, with regard to both personality and investing style. This could even mean turning down your first offer if, for instance, you feel as though the business doesn’t appreciate the importance of building close, trusted relationships with clients. 

Finding an external buyer is going to require plenty of research. For example, you could choose to hire a business broker to manage the process for you and they will carry out their own investigations of prospective buyers.

Once you have found the right buyer who will continue to service your clients to the level they are accustomed to, you will need to carefully manage the transition. There should be some overlap between you and the new owner servicing clients; you are likely to have long-standing and personal relationships with your clients and this should be reflected in any takeover deal.

Key components of a smooth transition:

  • Continual communication with everyone involved; including your staff, the new owner and your clients. If you are transitioning over a period of years, make sure your clients are clear on what the process will be, as they need to know how they will be taken care of – if something changes, keep them updated.
  • Meet with large clients, as well as the new owner, in order to discuss the transition and their portfolios. This will allow them to feel confident that decisions will continue to be made based on their best interests.

While selling your business at retirement is going to take plenty of planning ahead, carefully managing the impact on your clients means a better deal for everyone.

If you’re thinking of selling your business, you might find our Sell an IFA guide helpful – a resource we’ve created to help you navigate the complex process of selling your business with ease.

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