Worldsource Wealth Management Insight: Succession planning: Assessing your value

Setting your succession plan up for success

For many Advisors, the sale of their business will help shape the quality of their retirement. To transition a business and obtain a fair offer for it, advisors must look beyond a quantitative analysis of their practice and assess how qualitative elements contribute to its overall value as well.

When starting on their succession planning journey, many advisors begin by examining their business metrics in order to obtain a valuation of the practice. While client base, book value, demographics and other intrinsic metrics are important, they are not the only factors that make your practice uniquely yours. Understanding how your business structure, strategies, support, and future-proofing contribute to your assessment can help you better highlight the business potential that a prospective buyer should pay attention to.


Formalized processes can help give clients a sense of confidence that your business is well structured and efficient. They can also enhance the value to a prospective buyer of your business. If you are mentoring someone, having a robust structure can create a faster path towards their competency, client experience and growth as an advisor. Your business structure is the key to creating capacity for growth and efficiencies, and paving the way for a seamless transition of the business.

Consider these contributing factors:

  1. Branding & Messaging

    Your branding and messaging articulate your business values, your clientele and your impact. They may speak about your origin story, competencies, expertise, problems you solve or opportunities you create.

  2. Client Experience

    Do you have a structured presentation used to introduce each new client to your business? Do you have a segmentation system for your clients with a well-defined service model that is supported by automated CRM processes? Detailing the client experience can provide a framework for the various touchpoints that a client can expect and team members can easily share as ambassadors of your business.

  3. Processes, Roles & Responsibilities

    Behind the scenes, your business is built on consistent processes. You have defined roles and responsibilities that ensure the work that needs to get done is executed on time and accurately. You carefully assure compliance, operations, security, and safeguarding of client information is supportive of a positive client experience.


Strategy refers to how you execute on your unique value proposition using your expertise, experience and personal philosophies. The following are core strategies, but your holistic approach may integrate other value- added elements such as tax planning and business owner strategizing, and may have a focus on specific client segments and their unique strategic requirements.

Your value proposition


As difficult as it is to define, the level of support you provide your clients is where the transition to a new advisor may see success or failure. Support is hard to quantify or even qualify and it is here that you need to set expectations of both the client and the advisor. You should envision how the future value and relationship may look and feel, and ensure both parties understand where value is perceived and offered.

Assess your client/advisor ratio

One way to ensure your client’s expectations will be met is to understand the ratio of clients to each advisor. You should try to explore the roles on the succession team and their ability to respond to client needs. Consider your clients’ stage in life and how that aligns with the capacity and focus of the incoming advisor or team. Wealth accumulation needs and wealth decumulation needs have very different skill sets and time required.

Review your client appreciation initiatives

Clients are often appreciative of the way that advisors show that they care about them. Consider sharing how these client appreciation initiatives positively affect your relationships so that your successor is informed. Could client retention be negatively impacted if the new advisor is not on the same page about these things? What do your clients highly value? This may help the incoming advisor know how to cultivate better retention in the future.


No one has a crystal ball, but taking steps to ensure your business can transition and adapt to whatever the future may hold is a key selling feature for prospective buyers. With the right forward-thinking mindset, you can create an enduring business that is attractive to clients and future advisors alike. Key factors to consider include:

  1. Segmentation

    Defining the particular markets and clients you gravitate towards can help you better focus your services, impact and growth. As your expertise grows and your niche market narrows, your valuation can actually increase. This “boutique” approach is considered to be one of the enduring trends in a consolidating industry.

  2. Under-served clients

    Client book demographics were discussed earlier as an element to be included in valuation metrics. As you consider both the ideal time to sell a book and the strategy to increase valuation, dissecting your client book primarily on age is a key component that buyers will look at. Also, of great importance is the Baby Boomer wealth transfer from men to women and the transfer to the younger generations. Developing a strategy to engage these cohorts will improve your valuation.

  3. Contingency and continuity planning

    Every business should have a crisis management plan and advisors are no different. You owe it to your clients and your beneficiaries to clearly articulate what will happen to your business in the event of a sudden or unexpected catastrophic event. One way to further gain the confidence of your clients is to reassure them ahead of a crisis that there is a continuity plan as it pertains to their wealth journey. This plan is of greater urgency and importance than a succession plan, and you should consider putting this in place before anything else.

  4. Your legacy

    Conversations on legacy planning can be awkward, yet they are critical for your clients, families and yourselves. As an advisor, your greatest strength is the value you place on your clients, the trusted relationship you have with them, and ensuring their future needs are being taken care of. This is part of your legacy, and part of activating you to develop both continuity solutions and ideal succession plans that show you considered your client’s futures even as you rode off into the sunset.

Assessing a realistic valuation of your practice is an essential first step in your succession planning journey. Having deeper insight into both the quantitative and qualitative factors that contribute to this value, will help you better understand who your potential buyers might be and how you should position your practice in a prospective sale.


Worldsource is committed to strategic practice management and helping you take your practice to the next level.

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Worldsource Financial Management Inc. and Worldsource Securities Inc. are divisions of Worldsource Group of Companies Inc., operating as Worldsource Wealth Management. To learn more about the WWM group of companies please visit

The information provided here is intended for advisors and is based on various sources deemed reliable at the time of publication. It is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional or legal advice. The financial landscape is dynamic and subject to constant change, and therefore, the information presented may not be exhaustive, accurate, or up to date. Different advisors may have varying perspectives, strategies, or interpretations of the presented information. It is crucial for advisors to conduct their own research, analysis, and due diligence. Each client’s unique circumstances should be carefully considered, and tailored advice should be sought to address specific needs and objectives.


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December 04, 2023