There are a number of headwinds facing retail financial advisors. Charles Schwab’s $30/month subscription model is going to take the industry by storm, said Paul Saganey, president and founder of Integrated Partners, a hybrid registered investment advisor and office of supervisory jurisdiction, speaking to advisors at the firm’s annual conference this week. The eventual possibility of big consumer brands getting into wealth management, including Apple, Google and Amazon, could be another headwind for advisors.
But Saganey believes his firm has a secret weapon against these trends, with an aggressive plan to go after business owners—those looking to sell within two years. The firm expects to add $1 billion in assets in the next year through the proceeds of these business transactions.
Integrated Partners, which recently rebranded from Integrated Financial Partners, has helped more than 100 CPAs create financial advisory practices within their accounting firms through its Professional Partner program. And those firms have about 20,000 business owner clients. That’s where Saganey sees a big opportunity for his advisors; after all, some two-thirds of mid- to large-business owners are over age 57.
“These business owners are looking at their retirement years and have to make a decision,” he said.
The idea is, the firm has built the planning infrastructure for the business owner, preparing them to get ready to sell.
“So that by the time he or she sells the business, it’s a no-brainer to give you the assets because you’ve already got this relationship and this level of trust and confidence with that client,” he said.
Integrated will help the business owner with deferred compensation, employee stock ownership plans and estate planning. It will also shop the business out to some 200 private equity firms, which are expected to fight over the business and provide the best price. The RIA will also advise on the transaction.
“That $30 a month person at Schwab isn’t going to do that kind of work,” Saganey said. “And I don’t think competitors will catch us—especially not in the RIA space—because they don’t want to invest in what we’re doing.”
Since last year, the firm has had 38 cases in the pipeline, totaling $250 million of sale proceeds, an average of $6.5 million per case. The firm currently has five cases going to market, totaling $160 million in sale proceeds that the firm will now manage, including a lumber company, construction company, professional services company, auto parts store and health clinic.
Saganey believes the strategy will give his firm a huge advantage; most FAs simply shop these cases out to the law firm down the street to do the estate planning, then try to get the case back to sell life insurance or investments. But most law firms aren’t equipped to structure ESOPs, deferred compensation and the like.
“No one’s doing this kind of planning,” he said. “If you give up the control—if you’re not seen in that circle of most-trusted advisor—you’re not going to get the same result.”