Given the average age of Canadian advisors is anywhere from the mid-50s into the 60s, succession planning is one of the hottest topics discussed by industry professionals.
Maryland-based wealth manager Mark Avallone is president of Potomac Wealth Advisors. Earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal Avallone discussed why it makes sense to go younger when it comes to new clients.
“A reason to work with these clients [younger] is that when it comes time to sell your practice, it’ll be worth more, and it will be more attractive to potential buyers,” Avallone wrote. “This is because you will be able to offer a client base with a low average age that is also in an attractive stage in their investment cycles.”
That might be so in the U.S. but it’s not necessarily the case here in Canada.
To find out whether advisors north of the 49th
parallel need to be transitioning their book so that it skews younger, WP reached out to Steve Meehan, head of Mississauga-based Evolution Wealth Advisors to find out what advisors are looking for when it comes to buying a book.
“I think [advisors] are generally looking for bigger clients and a lot of advisors are going through the process right now of streamlining their books,” said Meehan. “If you’ve got a wealthy client you don’t want to jettison the kids because they’re part of that relationship. You want to preserve the relationship with them because ultimately you’re going to inherit that benefit.”
At the end of the day most of the advisors Evolution are working with aren’t looking at the age of clients when buying a book tending to focus on assets under management.
Buying another advisor’s book is a time consuming process. A big book is often more lucrative than the potential number of years you might be able to work with a client because there’s no guarantee a young client will stay with you for 30 or 40 years.
Mark Avallone doesn’t necessarily agree.
“A practice that skews heavily toward older clients in the distribution phase will be less attractive to a buyer than a practice with happy, young clients who are adding to their accounts, not withdrawing from them,” he wrote. “After all, a buyer wants to create long-term relationships with their new clients and a client with a short life expectancy doesn’t help their cause.”