M&A Requires More than Securing Financing

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What first-time buyers are missing is that, despite popular opinion, most transactions are not propelled solely by a seller’s desire for monetary gain – they simply want to feel that by joining a larger organization, they can experience the next stage of career growth.

With headlines in the RIA industry dominated by M&A transactions, I am receiving more calls from advisors interested in completing their first acquisition. They will ask, “Where can we get financing so we can start having conversations with sellers?”

I reply, “Before you bog yourself down with debt, have you laid out what you have to offer a seller?” Unfortunately, this question is usually followed by silence and then a confused, “I don’t understand the question…”

It is incumbent on you, the buyer, to convey all the areas in which your firm can help a potential seller grow, should they choose to move their life’s work to your organization.

Below are some areas buyers should focus on when developing their presentation to potential sellers.


The seller must be confident that your brand is strong and will excite their clients with the possibility of transitioning to your firm. This also applies to prospective clients – can the seller see themselves winning more clients with your brand and marketing materials than with what they are touting in the marketplace? Additionally, will the seller’s employees be excited to go to work for your company?

You must articulate your core values, what you stand for as an organization, and where you see the business headed before you can expect a seller to get excited about joining your firm.