From the March 2009 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

March 1, 2009

Ironically, Maybe the Best of Times

Sidebar to the Cover Story "Patience"

In an era when most advisory firms are suffering revenue drops of 20% or more over the prior year, you might think this would be a bad time to try and sell your firm on valuation grounds alone, but Tim Welsh begs to differ. Welsh, the former Merrill Lynch and Schwab Institutional executive who now runs the consulting firm Nexus Strategy, says this is an excellent time to sell your practice, though he quickly adds that coming up with a sound succession strategy can take many years. "It's still a sellers market," Welsh told attendees February 11 at the second of the six-city Future of Retirement Planning conference in Hollywood, Florida, and the "value of independent advice" has never been clearer than it is now in the wake of the demise of the wirehouse firms and the Bernie Madoff scandal.

While Welsh, who has a strong marketing background, says that he is not normally a fan of "negative selling," now is the time for independents to toot their horn, prominently displaying on marketing materials and their Web sites that they are independent, have sharply reduced their conflicts of interest as opposed to employee brokers, and that they work with reputable third parties who will deliver account statements clients can count on.

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