Advisors: What is Your Book of Business Worth?

By Hal M. Bundrick

NEW YORK ( MainStreet)--Ready to cash in that book of business? Financial advisors looking to sell their practices may wonder what their client base is worth, and a new service is offering to provide a "quick valuation."

Succession Link, a website launched last month by Phillip Flakes and Nicholas Gudz, has developed a valuation formula for financial advisors considering a sale. The service will also anonymously list a practice for sale without a transactional fee, listing fee or membership charge. Buyers pay a monthly subscription fee, allowing them to search and browse details about practices currently for sale.

"We found there was a real need in our industry for such a service," Flakes says. "That's why we created Succession Link -- to help bridge the gap between buying advisors and selling advisors."

Financial advisors register with the site as a seller or buyer. Sellers can offer all or a portion of their book of business for sale. Buyers can send inquiries on practices that they are most interested in through the website's private messaging system. Practice profiles include trailing revenue, the assets under management that are for sale, as well as the number of clients and accounts that would be included in the purchase. A revenue analysis shows commission sales compared to fees and a written overview offers additional details of the book of business being sold.

Practice profiles are anonymous, and sellers can opt to communicate directly with potential buyers or request to have Succession Link filter interested buyers and bring them only the buyers who meet particular criteria.

The website currently shows 38 total listings, with total assets under management of $1.2 trillion.

The initial valuation of an advisor's book of business is provided upon registration. A full appraisal of a firm's value would be completed prior to the closing of a sale.

The founders of the service are also partners in a San Diego-based financial advisor placement firm, established in 2009.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick

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