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Buying a small book

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May 24, 2007 1:09 am

Rep in my office is leaving to go back into the family biz. We’re in a

wirehouse. He wants a check for his book, any ideas how to value this

thing? I thought a check for $45,000, based on the short transition and too

much of it commission based.

30 Mil assets, 300K trailing 12. 100% commission based. Retired clients,

needs income (bonds and some equity income stocks). All local to my

office. Broker will stick around 2 months to help transition.

May 24, 2007 2:38 am

Seems waaaay tooo high to me.  He only has the book to sell until he leaves.  $45k for two months' work?  If he doesn't get you, or someone in the office to pay, he still leaves the business, the branch office still has the client accounts and the branch manager splits them up.  He's not going to work in the business, so what choice do the clients have, lots of them will stay where they're at, at least for a while. 

Two months isn't nearly long enough to transition the clients to stay with you.  How many clients are we talking about?  How many could he and you meet with in two months? 

And you're going to pay $45,000 in after-tax dollars to him for accounts that belong to the wirehouse? 

Now, I've never bought a book, so perhaps my initial reaction is off-base..... I'm interested to see what others think.

May 24, 2007 3:45 am

1.  I wasn't aware that wirehouse reps were able to sell their books...or maybe I was and just forgot it.  At any rate, that's a nice plus for him.

2.  If you retain the bulk of the accounts, $45K or $300K annual seems like an excellent deal to me.  Independents are asking for a lot more than that, but I assume that the reason the price is low is that he doesn't have as much lattitude on selling his book since he's captive.  OL's point about the rep duly noted, it still seems cheap.  If I wanted the book, I'd pay that for it.

3.  Velocity of 100 bps is a bit higher than I see so your production from this book may not match that going forward.  Even if it's 70bps, $45K seems very reasonable if you get assurances from your firm that the accounts are yours and won't be subject to poaching.

4.  I've seen 100% of trailing 12 for commission-based and 150% of trailing 12 for fee-based, but those are for indy books.

May 25, 2007 12:51 am

That seems like a very reasonable price.

If most of the clients are retired, with stock/bond portfolios and an income need, the book would be a potential goldmine for you.  Show a couple lifetime income VA's, possibly holding the same funds they're currently in, and they'll go for it in a second. 

Good luck.

May 25, 2007 2:16 am

Does he want $45K in a lump sum?  I would ask to pay $4K/month for a year (even $5K/month for a year), that way the book could essentially pay for itself.

May 27, 2007 2:00 pm

If you’re at a wirehouse  you can’t write a check.  But, your firm will have retirement succession agreements that let’s the guy retire tomorrow and share in the revenue over a 4 yr period.  Depending on where you are he’ll get 1.5 to 2 times his net production over a 4 yr period.  I know of another firm that will pay the retiring broker 85% of gross and the buyer pays the firm back over several years.