How to Exit the Industry:Client Care Post Sale

18th November 2019

We have discussed the Legal Fundamentals of a Sale and The Tax Implications - but what about your clients? What happens to them post sale? Mark Stone, the Financial Planning Director at Whitechurch provided an informative talk on how to ensure your clients are appropriately cared for after you sell your business during our Adviser Retirement Event. We have summarised the key points from his presentation below. 

Why is Client Care Post Sale Important?

You’ve worked hard to generate a good relationship with your clients and it’s important that who you sell to can maintain this. You want your clients to be pleased with their new adviser, this will uphold your good reputation and guarantee your future profits if you choose a deal based upon client retention.

What to Look For 

It is important to consider a range of aspects when looking at potential buyers. Make sure you do your background research and investigate the make-up of the company, who they are and what they do. Make sure you are selling to advice specialists rather than investment managers who may not be able to advise to the same standard as you. It is also important to check they have a good financial grounding to ensure they can make the agreed payments to you, particularly when you are being paid over several years.

Look at the company ethos and how they will deal with your clients. At Whitechurch Financial Consultants, we put the client first before the asset, if this is similar to you, you want to make sure your buyer will carry out the same standard of service so that your clients remain happy. With this in mind, ask for testimonials from both previous sellers and clients – what their clients think of them can shape your decision.

Do their services and fees match yours? If not, how flexible is the buyer to reach a new agreement with you for your clients? Ask how they will replicate how you deal with clients, this way you can be confident in knowing when you see your client’s post-sale they remain completely satisfied and your reputation has been upheld.

Look at their IT systems and reviews, your clients are used to a particular service and they will want continuity receiving the same level of interaction, reports and reviews. For example, Whitechurch will match what you do where possible via home visits across the country, financial surgeries in offices beyond Bristol, video conferencing, telephone calls and initial meetings at our expense. Additionally, ensure the company has enough people, adequate controls and systems in order to carry out these services the company agrees to. Look at the team and back-office, be sure you’re happy with who they are, and that your clients will continue to receive a good level of care.

Ensuring a Smooth Handover

Prior to sale, look at where the buyer holds their data, which systems do they use? If you can get all your data in the same format would help to limit possible client loss, as this may result in a delay in communication between the buyer and your clients. Additionally, joint meetings with you, your clients, and their new adviser should be carried out where possible. For example, Whitechurch will arrange introductory meetings with you and your top clients as well as agree on a plan with you for all clients so that everyone involved is aware and happy with the situation.  

Primarily, be thorough in presenting what you provide to clients and explore what potential buyers can do to continue this. Negotiation is key, it is unlikely to find a buyer that will be exactly the same in all aspects of your business, but you want to get the service as close as possible.

For more information about retirement and how to exit the industry, click here