A succession plan for business owners is something that our clients are always interested in.
Business owners have been severely impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the benefits of long-term planning have never been more apparent. We were asked, by the Financial Planning Association of Australia, our thoughts on how the rapidly changing nature of business and how financial planning owners are responding to this.
FPA asked James McFall how he is responding to the challenges facing businesses around the country in the wake of the shake-up of the Banking Royal Commission and in dealing with COVID-19.
Read the September issue of the Financial Planning Association of Australia’s ‘Money & Life’ magazine, and look out for us on pages 10 and 11!
“Have recent changes to the business environment made succession planning more or less of a priority for owners?”
The dramatic reduction in financial planner numbers over recent years would suggest that this is definitely the case.
Future changes to adviser education standards, the abolition of investment commissions, the reduction of insurance commissions, and the heightened regulatory environment have likely led all advisers to question whether they want to continue.
Whilst several have already left, I am aware that several more are preparing to exit.
Those that stay must reinvent themselves or are already part of the new wave of thinking, which is transforming the financial industry in Australia.
“How has COVID-19 changed the risks owners face when it comes to the continuity of their business?”
The obvious change we have had to make is shifting how central our office is to our services.
COVID-19 has demonstrated to us that we can function as a team and continue to service our clients efficiently and remotely.
At Yield Financial Planning, we have been particularly negatively impacted by lockdowns, but technology has helped us to manage this.
The trade-off is a heightened cybersecurity risk. Other risks include market risk and the risk this presents to practice revenue, anti-money laundering challenges and it makes attracting new clients harder.
“What are the challenges owners might face when it comes to succession planning during a recession?”
Technology is the key here. Effective succession planning centres around transferral of process and relationship.
Business owners that do not already rely heavily on technology in how they run their practice will struggle to create an effective succession plan, as they are relying on physical documents.
Buyers should naturally be wary about buying books of business on multiples of earnings, that are market-linked. Banks are more cautious about lending, making funding harder to come by.
People are naturally more cautious when there is uncertainty, preferring instead to focus on making their own position secure, which could result in fewer motivated buyers too.
Dealing with external challenges to your business is often going to be out of your control.