Craig West (left) and Venn Williams

Succession planning is becoming a big area of opportunity for financial planners as baby boomers retire in droves.

Craig West, executive chair at Succession Plus explains that many baby boomers are business owners who require additional support along the journey to retirement because their affairs are more complicated.

“They’ve got more assets, investments and multiple structures,” he tells Professional Planner.

“During Covid-19, many delayed their exits because business prices were deflated and the economy was full of uncertainty. They held on for longer, sometimes for an extra three to five years.”

Succession Plus partner Venn Williams notes that while many advisers target high-net-worth clients, the small business owner market is quite neglected. Many of these are mom-and-pop operations and have been putting their money into their businesses rather than into shares or other investments.

Venn adds that their business premises – be they factories, warehouses, offices or shops – are often held by the owner’s SMSF. “That is where we work with financial advisers,” he says.

“Also, many of these owners have never used a financial adviser in their lifetimes and we often introduce them to an adviser.”

Teamwork required

Even though he is a succession planning expert, West says there’s a lot of work that his business simply cannot do.

“We are not licensed financial advisers so we can’t advise clients on what to do with their SMSFs and other assets, where to invest the money when they sell the business or on insurance to protect their assets,” he says.