From an early age, David Selig was exposed to financial advisory because his father was a thirty-five year veteran of the stock exchange. But, after a significant life event took place that essentially forced his father to retire on the spot, Selig was inspired to pave his own way and help others avoid falling into a similar fate with no succession plan.
Before his interview with Pershing in New Jersey, Selig truthfully didn’t know what an RIA was, but despite mispronouncing the term and pulling terminology out of thin air to sound well-read, he landed the job. As Selig began his journey, he became familiarized with the world of RIAs, its opportunities, and its challenges. The RIA industry is extremely fragmented and there is a lot of difficulty surrounding the fundamental concepts of expansion, succession and scale, but Selig learned to navigate them while acquiring valuable lessons to take into the next chapter.
The Formation of Advice Dynamics Partners
After Selig left Pershing, he ended up in a consulting role for one of the industry’s largest aggregators, and the nine-month project forced a shift in mindset that would lead Selig to entrepreneurship. He liked the aggregator’s business model and the work he was doing, but he was faced with a huge window of opportunity that he couldn’t ignore. Selig started to look at the aggregator as his first client instead of his employer and was hungry for more; eventually, Selig would found Advice Dynamics Partners, where he is currently CEO.
The Evolution of the RIA Industry
At Advice Dynamics Partners, Selig has been focused on M&A advisory and succession planning from day one, and is approaching the eleven-year mark with undeniable success. Part of the reason for that it ADP’s ability to evolve in alignment with the evolution of the RIA industry. The statistics surrounding companies that have a viable succession plan has not necessarily changed during Advice Dynamics Partners’ lifespan, but what has changed is the number of options those businesses have in forging a succession partnership. The options for monetizing a business has expanded far beyond the banks and NFPs to include things like private equity firms with short or mid-duration investment timelines. In addition to bespoke M&A advisory, ADP has a specialty in helping large wealth managers navigate the complexities of evaluating financial sponsors to find the right permanent capital partner.
The buyer landscape has also evolved and afforded RIAs more choices, but with more complexity comes more challenges. Nevertheless, ADP’s job is to help their clients navigate the different options so they can articulate their value and choose the best partner for their business; the industry may have evolved but ADP’s fundamental function has just been adapted to match the changes.
There are a lot more options for external succession nowadays, but internal succession is extremely high on the menu for most advisors and their clients. However, there is a major gap as approximately 80% of businesses would prefer an internal succession plan while only 20% have the ability to carry it out. In order for internal succession to work, businesses need to have certain things in place such as the ability for the parties involved to compromise. There is always a tension between buyers and sellers when it is an internal context and the price becomes an issue, but it is still a lot easier to finance now than it was before.
Doing Deals in the RIA Industry
Aside from succession, there are some exciting things happening in the deal space of the RIA industry. A lot of entrepreneurial firms with younger management teams are seeking an outside partner to buy them and help them achieve scale. These deals are more attractive now because it is no longer a binary choice. Outside partners can enable these firms to achieve succession, growth, and scale while helping them accomplish their long-term vision. There are at least fifteen options in the investor category, and ironically, it is a lot more common for investors to prefer a lower-risk minority stake nowadays. The industry has matured as a whole, and it has been mutually beneficial for both the management team and the partner because the management can run the business with financial backing that will help them reach the next level.
Listen to David Selig’s interview on the Fueling Deals podcast episode.
Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.
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