Finance professionals looking to sell their client books can do so with greater
transparency, security and choice thanks to a new website that is geared to
shake up the market.
The site, www.buymyclients.com.au, was the brainchild of wealth manager,
Emanuel Millen, after his own desire to become a financial planner was
frustrated by the fragmented market for buying an existing client book.
“I discovered that building up a book of business was quite challenging,” he says.
Along with a colleague from the IT industry, Michal Wawruszak, and another
from financial planning, Mathew Walters, he decided to create a one-stop shop
for planners, accountants, brokers and other financial professionals.
“We wanted to create something like SEEK for people buying or selling financial
client lists,” he says. “The financial planning industry, in particular, has been
going through a lot of changes. The average age of advisers is around 55 to 60
and many are looking to exit the industry so the buying and selling of client
books is likely to increase significantly over the next few years.”
Client lists have traditionally been bought and sold through brokers who may
charge commissions of up to 8 per cent. Millen says while they will remain a key
part of the market, Buy My Clients will give buyers and sellers more options and
greater peace of mind.
“Since brokers are essentially market makers in client books, the seller does not
know if they are getting the maximum value out of their book,” he says.
“The buyer doesn’t know where they are in the pecking order when a broker
contacts them to offer them a book. Is it a good deal or has it already rejected by
10 other people?
“A buyer will be higher in the pecking order if they are a large firm making
recurring buys. Some prospective buyers also pay to engage the broker to obtain
a book for them that has sought after qualities.”
Buy My Clients hopes to attract both direct buyers and sellers and those using
brokers who want maximum exposure or choice – much in the same way leading
employment websites are used by both employers and employment agencies.
Millen believes it will actually benefit brokers as it could potentially lead to
increased exposure for their offerings and business.
Key features of the site include sophisticated search tools so that buyers can find
the types of client books they want, an alert system to notify potential buyers
and sellers of likely matches, and secure messaging so the seller can maintain
confidentiality until non-disclosure agreements are signed.
Millen says the site gives sellers maximum exposure to potential buyers while
ensuring all buyers have equal access to the client books for sale. While it may
disrupt some existing business models, he says both buyers and sellers stand to
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