M&A Webinar

M&A Webinar

Here we bring you a summary of our most recent webinar, hosted by IFA Magazine’s Alex Sullivan, where he gathers expert insights on Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) within the IFA market from an experienced and knowledgeable panel.

This Spring’s IFA Magazine webinar focused on a subject less widely discussed than the usual technical topics but one that has certainly garnered more attention in recent years.

Whether it’s triggered by an upcoming retirement of a business owner, a change in direction for the firm or the rising costs of regulation, more and more businesses are seeking to sell to or partner with other firms to allow their business and their clients’ legacy to continue.

Hosted by IFA Magazine’s Alex Sullivan, he was joined by a panel of expert speakers: Daniel Jones, Head of M&A at Succession Wealth, Sophie Colloby, Partner at Dow Schofield Watts, and Keith Brown and Kayleigh Fox, CEO and Acquisitions Manager at Wealth Holdings. They went through what you need to know about selling, purchasing, or retiring from an IFA business, and dived deeper into the changing environment of financial services M&A, the benefits of exiting, maximising exit value, and how to find the perfect deal.

With such a wealth of knowledge on the panel from a range of different perspectives, this webinar gave a detailed overview of M&A from all angles and left no stone unturned or questions unanswered.

The conversation involved a deep dive into the subject but here we’ve put together a brief overview of some of the main topics addressed in the webinar to give you a taste of what was discussed. But, if you missed it live check out the link at the end of this article and you can download the conversation to listen in at a time that suits you.

A broker perspective

Keith Brown, CEO of Wealth Holdings, is of the opinion that despite the ever-continuing changes to the financial services landscape, the fundamental driver for those looking to sell is still age. Inevitably those people who joined the industry some decades ago, begin to look to retire or slow down.

Keith has some practical advice to those looking to exit which is: “Start the process early, understand what is important to you overall, not just the financials but expectations post sale and be open about what works for you.”

The psychological shift in selling or merging a business can be as important as the sale price because it is such a huge change to a business owner’s life. Keith explains why he doesn’t think it’s all about the price as he says: “A successful deal has to work for all parties, seller, acquirer, staff and most importantly of all, for clients. You are effectively looking for a partner who will take on and continue to serve your clients’ best interests so try to ensure this will happen even if you are retiring. Remember the deals are normally contingent on clients staying with the firm so make sure you are happy with any changes that may be required.”

Kayleigh Fox, Acquisitions Manager at Wealth Holdings also gave her thoughts on what it takes to be a good broker. She stressed the importance of taking the time to understand sellers as people, to identify quite clearly what their attitudes are and what their level of risk tolerance is.

After the webinar, Keith shared some final thoughts for our listeners commenting: “The diverse panel was excellent and hopefully allowed the attendees to hear about the M&A process from all sides as it is such an important and normally once-in-a-lifetime decision.”

An acquirer’s point of view

Daniel Jones, Head of M&A at Succession gave us the acquirer’s point of view and shared that the ideal outcome would be a win-win-win situation for the seller, buyer, and client.

Daniel and his team don’t agree with forcing a deal through by offering as much as possible, it’s not just about the price at the end of the day. They work to look at businesses as a whole to make sure they are the right partnership or right fit in order to obtain the most successful outcomes.

One of the key things that Daniel touches on is that a ‘no’ to acquiring a business simply means a no for now. A successful outcome involves it being the right time and place for both buyers and sellers. Succession is happy to advise sellers on what they need to do with their businesses if they would like to be acquired and wish to ensure that they’re properly prepared.

The devil is in the due diligence

Sophie Colloby, Partner at Dow Schofield Watts, provided her insights into what due diligence (DD) looks like for the M&A market. She shares a relatable analogy, comparing the DD of M&A to buying your own home.

Buying a home includes price, negotiations, and a survey to make sure what you’re getting is actually what you think it is. The DD in business acquisition is the survey on the home. She highlighted some of the pitfalls that sellers can come across when they get into the DD and what you can do to avoid them. She said: “If you can, having undertaken sound preparation in advance will make any M&A process smoother, much like all aspects of financial planning! The better quality the preparation, the easier and smoother any transaction process would be. The earlier you start in preparation the simpler it will be to collect and collate data.”

It’s clear that this is such a detailed process and so should be undertaken by a professional. You wouldn’t get a layman to survey a new house, so don’t get them to do the DD for your business.

Sophie gave us her thoughts and final advice as she reflected on the webinar summing it up as: “The range of speakers covered the M&A process from a seller’s perspective from choosing timing, and planning, through to marketing, selecting an acquirer and nitty-gritty of negotiating a sales contract.”

Question time

Our audience was very engaged in this subject. We had a flood of questions come in during the webinar, demonstrating the level of curiosity and interest in this topic. This webinar clearly got business owners thinking about the future of their business, their staff, and their clients, as well as their own future going forward.

We had questions about minimum client size, what the ideal client bank looks like and how to position yourself to get acquired if you’re looking for the exit. To get answers to those questions and many more you will have to take a peek at the recording which is available on our website now.


The main takeaway from all our panellists was that if you’re considering selling your business at some point, to start now and reach out to get the valuable input of experts. There is no pressure to move forward following an enquiry and very few things are insurmountable, so don’t be put off by any negatives you may think about your business or client bank. Gathering information in advance is vital and starting the journey today is advisable.

Lastly, all panellists made the excellent point for business owners to set out to enjoy the process. Undertaking such a huge step can be daunting of course. It’s a big step. But remember that this is your chance to shape the future – and it’s not just about what’s in it for you as the owner. After all, a seller gets to build and leave their legacy even after they leave the business or move on to the next stage of their life. Ensuring that the staff and clients’ best interests are aligned and that they can move on to a rewarding future too means benefitting from the peace of mind of a job well done.

So, what are you waiting for?

For those who missed it in real-time, the webinar recording is still available on our website at the following link. Don’t miss out a second time, make sure to give it a watch here!

Meet the webinar panellists

Daniel Jones, Succession Wealth

Daniel is Succession’s new Head of M&A at Succession. He has been involved in all aspects of Wealth Management M&A for going on 9 years; starting at a small sell-side brokerage, Daniel then moved on to run his own brokerage for over four years before joining PwC’s FSLA team, where he led the team’s AWM offering advising clients on both the buy and sell side.

Sophie Colloby, Dow Schofield Watts

Sophie joined Dow Schofield Watts Transaction Services LLP in April 2017 as a Partner in the Yorkshire and Northeast practice.

She has provided specialist financial due diligence and transaction related services since 2003. Sophies extensive experience includes advising corporates, entrepreneurs, finance providers and private equity funds, across a range of industries and transaction types including buyside, sell side and vendor assistance. She has extensive credentials in the consumer products, industrials, technology, and real estate sectors.

Keith Brown, Wealth Holdings

Keith is the CEO of Wealth Holdings. He is a performance-driven individual who likes to drive change, working collaboratively as part of a team.

He is an experienced financial services professional, having worked in the sector for almost 30 years as a Planner, Business Owner, and Managing Director. Keith has held senior management and board positions including Group Training Director, National Operations Director, and Head of Business Development for one of the fastest growing independent wealth management companies in the UK. He has worked as part of a team to complete over 50 acquisition and integration projects and has had strategic responsibility for the planning And implementation of integration activities and processes.

Kayleigh Fox, Wealth Holdings

Kayleigh has over 10 years’ experience in financial services having worked in the UK and abroad. With a combination of excellent communication skills, organisation and a background that covers administration, and compliance and as a mortgage broker she is well placed to support firms through the sale of their business. A fearlessly self-motivated, reliable, and confident person who thrives under pressure with excellent communication skills. Kayleigh will be liaising with all our partners at Clifton Media and IFA Magazine as well as clients to help with the next steps in their career.

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