Guide to buying and selling a firm in 2017

  • To understand the current trends in advisory M&A activity.
  • To learn how to groom a firm for sale.
  • To understand how to protect the clients
Guide to buying and selling a firm in 2017


Several years after the retail distribution review came in and many advisers sold up and left the financial services industry, one might be forgiven for thinking the appetite for selling or acquiring a firm has abated.

Not so, if countless news stories of acquisitions are anything to go by. Large companies are buying advisory arms for distribution, small firms are making strategic partnerships and consolidators are still consolidating. 

So what are the drivers for merger and acquisition activity in the financial advice space? What sort of potential problems are rearing their heads and how can owners overcome these when buying or selling?

This guide covers some of the trends in the advisory marketplace and discusses ways to make the novation and data-gathering process better and easier for both buyer and seller. 

Contributors to this guide: Tom Hegarty, managing director of the New Model Business Academy and Aileen Lynch, head of technical at Compliance First, a trading style of SimplyBiz; Linda Whittle, senior associate at Fladgate LLP; John Joe McGinley, founder of Glassagh Consulting; Henry Blunt, managing director of Retiring IFA; Lawrence Cook, director of marketing and business development for Thesis Asset Management; Barry Neilson, business development director for Nucleus; Mark Rogers, co-founder of Clay Rogers and now Succession wealth planner; Mark Stokes, proposition and marketing director for Succession; Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society; Sanjay Shah, managing director, Succession Advisory Services; Matthew Meadows, corporate finance partner with Kingston Smith; James Dingwall, chief executive of Thistle Initiatives; the Financial Conduct Authority; Imas Corporate Finance.


In this guide


Please answer the six multiple choice questions below in order to bank your CPD. Multiple attempts are available until all questions are correctly answered.

  1. According to Mr Dingwall, the majority of firms are focusing on what now?

  2. What is one of the main reasons why people want to sell, according to Mr Stokes?

  3. If relationships are the basis of building a business, what does Mr McGinley says is the way to make money out of it?

  4. When does Ms Whittle advocate a seller should set out a 'data room'?

  5. How does Mr Meadows describe the communication of client contract novation?

  6. Mr Blunt claims that businesses selling due to a regulatory reason will experience lower prices. True or false?

Nearly There…

You have successfully answered all the questions correctly, well done!

You should now know…

  • To understand the current trends in advisory M&A activity.
  • To learn how to groom a firm for sale.
  • To understand how to protect the clients

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