How the Buyer and Seller Relationship Has Evolved

How the Buyer and Seller Relationship Has Evolved

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 5 years since we launched RIA Match.  Our last blog focused on the importance of ‘Being Curious’ – a key trait we found among our most active and successful subscribers. In this blog, we focus on our own curiosity themes that we’ve seen between the buyer and seller relationship over the past 5 years and some key takeaways:    

Takeaway #1: Inorganic Growth is a Challenge. 

Advisors by nature are alpha dogs and regardless of age, AUM or value proposition, most advisors think of themselves and present themselves as buyers. Growth mode can be discouraging. Do not be deterred by what an advisor claims are his stated goals. The advisor’s age and current succession plan are more indicative of his future needs. A buyer will become a seller if they see a reasonable path forward for themselves and their clients. Advice to buyers; be reasonable, know and communicate your value proposition. 

Takeaway #2: Those Who Envision a Broader Goal are More Successful.

Instead of engaging in dialogue focused on your own acquisition vision or sale price, reset your approach. As simple as it sounds, when you first engage with a potential partner, determine if you like each other, if you can work together and if you value the same things. Yes, it is important to share a similar investment philosophy, client experience, and valuation assumptions, but if you can’t develop a relationship based on trust and a healthy working exchange, it won’t go well, regardless of how well aligned the rest of the deal terms. 

Takeaway #3: Your Definition of Success Defines its Probability.

If your vision is fixed and it’s your way or the highway, your negotiations will be ineffective. If you are a seller and you are rigid on a valuation or business model with no room for discussion, then you may be yielding to maturity without a liquidity event and more importantly, your clients will be left in a lurch when you can no longer care for them. A buyer who is determined to win every negotiating point decreases their chances of closing a deal they worked hard to develop.  

Related: Exploring the RIA Phenomenon: The Buyer's Bias

Takeaway #4: The Art of Compromise.

Both sides must have a winning outcome. If the seller perceives they are getting the bare minimum value and is concerned for their client’s after they’re gone, they will consider bailing, even after months of discussions and deal making. If the buyer feels as though they have met every concession and the seller is still sore, they may likely walk away as it is only the beginning of the relationship for them.  

Takeaway #5: Synergy is Required to Cross the Finish Line.

The deal terms matter but if your clients don’t see the value and make the switch, the seller’s earn out is compromised and the buyer retains less of the AUM pie. With a joint vision and mutual respect, the buyer and the seller must communicate the increased value of the joint firms to all stakeholders; that means both your clients and staff. 

Bonus Takeaway: Know Thyself

RIA Match subscribers that take the time necessary for true self-discovery, looking hard at where they may have gaps, and then determine their ideal business vision, are the most effective on the platform.  Need help in this process? Contact us for our Concierge Consulting Services and be sure to check out the additional resources in our website’s Knowledge and Insight Digest, Store, and Support sections. 

Mary Ann Buchanan
Advisors in Transition
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We match financial advisors, future financial advisors and advisory firms. RIA Match provides insightful resources, facilitates your search and puts the power in your hands. S ... Click for full bio

Here’s Why Bitcoin Won’t Replace Gold So Easily

Here’s Why Bitcoin Won’t Replace Gold So Easily

What a week it was.

First and foremost, I’d like to acknowledge the horrific mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas, the deadliest in modern American history. On behalf of everyone at U.S. Global Investors, I extend my sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families.

The memory of the shooting was still fresh in people’s minds during last Tuesday’s Hollywood premiere of Blade Runner 2049, which nixed the usual red carpet and other glitz in light of the tragedy. Before the film, producers shared poignant words, saying that in times such as these, the arts are crucial now more than ever.

I had the distinct privilege to attend the premiere. My good friend Frank Giustra, whose production company Thunderbird Entertainment owns a stake in the Blade Runner franchise, was kind enough to invite me along. Despite the somber mood—a pivotal scene in the film even takes place in an irradiated Las Vegas—I thought Blade Runner 2049 was spectacular. Even if you’re not a fan of the original 1982 film, it’s still worth experiencing in theaters. Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch’s synth-heavy score is especially haunting.

CNET recently published an interesting piece examining the accuracy of future tech as depicted in the original Blade Runner, from androids to flying cars to off-world travel read the article here.

Still in the Early Innings of Cryptocurrencies

Speaking of the future, I spoke on the topic of the blockchain last week at the Subscriber Investment Summit in Vancouver. My presentation focused on the future of mining—not just of gold and precious metals but also cryptocurrencies.

Believe it or not, there are upwards of 2,100 digital currencies being traded in the world right now, with a combined market cap of nearly $150 billion, according to

Obviously not all of these cryptos will survive. We’re still in the early innings. Last month I compared this exciting new digital world to the earliest days of the dotcom era, and just as there were winners and losers then, so too will there be winners and losers today. Although bitcoin and Ethereum appear to be the frontrunners right now, recall that only 20 years ago AOL and Yahoo! were poised to dominate the internet. How times have changed!

It will be interesting to see which coins emerge as the “Amazon” and “Google” of cryptocurrencies.

For now, Ethereum has some huge backers. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), according to its website, seeks to “learn from and build upon the only smart contract supporting blockchain currently running in real-world production—Ethereum.” The EEA includes several big-name financial and tech firms such as Credit Suisse, Intel, Microsoft and JPMorgan Chase, whose own CEO, Jamie Dimon, knocked cryptos a couple of weeks ago.

To learn more about the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, watch this engaging two-minute video.

Understanding blockchain in two minutes

Will Bitcoin Replace Gold?

Lately I’ve been seeing more and more headlines asking whether cryptos are “killing” gold. Would the gold price be higher today if massive amounts of money weren’t flowing into bitcoin? Both assets, after all, are sometimes favored as safe havens. They’re decentralized and accepted all over the world, 24 hours a day. Transactions are anonymous. Supply is limited.

Have gold and bitcoin peaked for 2017

But I don’t think for a second that cryptocurrencies will ever replace gold, for a number of reasons. For one, cryptos are strictly forms of currency, whereas gold has many other time-tested applications, from jewelry to dentistry to electronics.

Unlike cryptos, gold doesn’t require electricity to trade. This makes it especially useful in situations such as hurricane-ravished Puerto Rico, where 95 percent of people are reportedly still without power. Right now the island’s economy is cash-only. If you have gold jewelry or coins, they can be converted into cash—all without electricity or WiFi.

Finally, gold remains one of the most liquid assets, traded daily in well-established exchanges all around the globe. Every day, some £13.8 billion, or $18 billion, worth of physical gold are traded in London alone, according to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). The cryptocurrency market, although expanding rapidly, is not quite there yet.

I will admit, though, that bitcoin is energizing some investors, especially millennials, in ways that gold might have a hard time doing. The proof is all over the internet. You can find a number of TED Talks on bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, but to my knowledge, none is available on gold investing. YouTube is likewise bursting at the seams with videos on cryptos.

Bitcoin is up 350 percent for the year, Ethereum an unbelievable 3,600 percent. Gold, meanwhile, is up around 10 percent. Producers, as measured by the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index, have gained 11.5 percent in 2017, 23 percent since its 52-week low in December 2016.

Related: Gold and Bitcoin Surge on North Korea Fears

Look Past the Negativity to Find the Good News

The news is filled with negative headlines, and sometimes it’s challenging to stay positive. Take Friday’s jobs report. It showed that the U.S. lost 33,000 jobs in September, the first month in seven years that this happened. A weak report was expected because of Hurricane Irma, but no one could have guessed the losses would be this deep.

The jobs report wasn’t all bad news, however. For one, the decline is very likely temporary. Beyond that, a record 4.88 million Americans who were previously sitting out of the labor force found work last month. This helped the unemployment rate fall to 4.2 percent, a 16-year low.

Have gold and bitcoin peaked for 2017

There’s more that supports a stronger U.S. economy. As I shared with you last week, the Manufacturing ISM Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to a 13-year high in September, indicating rapid expansion in the manufacturing industry. Factory orders were up during the month. Auto sales were up. Oil has stayed in the relatively low $50-a-barrel range, which is good for transportation and industrials, especially airlines. Small-cap stocks, as measured by the Russell 2000 Index, continue to climb above their 50-day and 200-day moving averages as excitement over tax reform intensifies.

These are among the reasons why I remain bullish.

One final note: Speaking on tax reform, Warren Buffett told CNBC last week that he’s waiting to sell assets until he knows the plan will go through. “I would feel kind of silly if I realized $1 billion worth of gains and paid $350 million in tax on it if I just waited a few months and would have paid $250 million,” he said.

It’s a fair comment, and I imagine other like-minded, forward-thinking investors, buyers and sellers will also wait to make huge transactions if they can help it. Tax reform isn’t a done deal, but I think it has a much better chance of being signed into law than a health care overhaul.

Frank Holmes
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Frank Holmes is the CEO and Chief Investment Officer of U.S. Global Investors. Mr. Holmes purchased a controlling interest in U.S. Global Investors in 1989 and became the firm ... Click for full bio