Choosing advisers for a business exit

Planning to exit your business is about more than just financials. It is about planning for the life that you and your family want beyond the point of sale. 

Whilst an exit marks a significant milestone of success for an entrepreneur, the reality can often represent a loss of identity and community. Rather than financial rewards, most entrepreneurs measure their success by the degree of freedom and potential legacy that their success allows them. However, newfound freedom post-exit can be difficult to adjust to and some entrepreneurs struggle with how best to use it, this period of adjustment can often take time.

Developing a vision for your personal journey and legacy which your wealth can support is key, and the right combination of professional advisers (wealth, legal and tax) can help greatly with this complex and, at times, daunting process. This is especially true when they are prepared to communicate effectively and share ideas.

Transactions remain at the forefront of UK corporate strategy, according to Ernst & Young’s CCB21 survey. 69% of UK respondents expect to engage in M&A in the coming 12 months, representing the highest level of deal appetite recorded in the history of the survey.

But in a market where M&A activity is expected to remain buoyant, are entrepreneurs and owner managers of mid-market businesses ensuring their personal affairs are optimised? Are they in contact with the right combination of advisers? If not, how are they able to appoint the right people?


Look for experts in their respective fields that have seen it before and understand you


Investing the time to find the right fit for you will generally mean stronger working relationships and ultimately better outcomes. 

Take your time but make sure the basics are covered, simple housekeeping actions in the run up to, or soon after, a liquidity event can have a big impact. It is key to understand the personal impact of any corporate decisions. 


Be wary of companies who appear to offer all things to all people. 


If a company seems to offer you everything and anything in the wealth management space, take the time to really understand how they will work with you. They are often over-diluted in terms of resource with a confused corporate strategy, doing a lot in a mediocre fashion as opposed to one or two things very well. 


Understand what you are paying. 


Be wary of opaque fee structures and companies who want to charge every time you pick up the phone. Your wealth and your needs will evolve over time, especially after selling a business, and your wealth planning service should be able to flex to accommodate your changing requirements.


Go for bespoke. 

As a successful entrepreneur, rarely will an off-the-shelf solution be the most appropriate fit for you. You should be able to demand more of your wealth manager and ensure a specialised approach that works for you.



Choose a wealth manager who will genuinely manage your risk first. 


Wealth managers need to appreciate the time and energy that entrepreneurs put into growing their businesses, and respect that risk management is key. Staying wealthy is often more important than chasing further upside by running unnecessary levels of risk. 

Recent high-profile liquidity disasters have, understandably, led to questions about the real benefits of actively managed funds, yet the issues of risk control within a passive approach is equally of concern. Working with a wealth manager who has the expertise to deal directly in the market can mitigate liquidity risk and you should consider this option.

Dan Sawyerr, Director at London & Capital

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