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How do you sell a book of business?

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Dec 7, 2009 5:49 pm

Hello Forum,

Looongtime lurker here but this is my first post. I am an indy at a small firm and am negotiating with my partner to take over my book of business. An ill parent has left me a family business to run starting next year. What is the going rate for the sale of a book of business. I have a mix of commission and advisory clients. I want top dollar and my partner is willing to pay it because of minimal risk of losing clients. But what is the going rate? A percentage of AUM, revenue? Any advice would be appreciated.

Dec 7, 2009 6:08 pm

have you looked at They do this all the time and could structure the deal for you.

Dec 7, 2009 7:05 pm

For basic business, as a rule fo thumb figure 1-1.5X T-12 for Commissions, and 2-3X for fee business.  Break it down like that and it’s a basic estimate.  But as CALI said, you should talk to experts about structuring the deal.  I think you wanting “top dollar” due to ease of transition should be offset by the simpicity of the deal.  You are in an enviable position of having a partner willing to buy the book.  And I would come down further if the purchase is with all upfront money.

How big a book is it?
Dec 8, 2009 8:51 pm

36M give or take a few sandwiches. a rough estimate is what I was looking for and that is about inline. I also heard a % of AUM that is about inline with % of t12 too. That’s the ballpark The plan is for all upfront, so I will come down like you said B24. Gonna miss this business…

Dec 9, 2009 7:09 am

I checked out FP transitions recently ( stopped by their office). For a small commission ( paid half by buyer and  half by seller) they will quantify the book and lend a lot of experience. I would use them if I was buying or selling, unless I could find someone better. 

Dec 9, 2009 7:15 am

I was also told there are plenty of buyers, and lots of cash for buying. Allow a minimum of six months to stay with the transition, meaning, you have to stay licensed and available for about six months, to be a credible seller. That also allows the buyer enough time to look back, and see about retention, which is a part of the price formula. I bet if you just called one of their sales reps, you could get a ton on info, whether you ended up using them or not. They have proforma contracts, and so on, you still need to run things by your own attorney. I wouldn’t mind doing something different, myself, but where are you going to make such an efficient living?