If a firm owner wants someone internally to take over, he or she has to consider how the person being groomed can pay for the business. “Younger people often cannot write the check that is required to buy the business,” Schoenbeck said. So plans have to be laid out in advance. It is easier to have someone from the inside take over for smaller firms. For large firms, that option is often a challenge.

“Whatever you do as a firm owner, do something,” Schoenbeck urged.

Selling a firm is not just a business deal; there is an emotional component that must be taken into consideration.

“For a lot of advisors, selling the firm and moving on means closing a very important part of their lives,” said Robert Martin, managing director of Symmetry Partners in Glastonbury, Conn. “Advisors need to be told they have to act to protect their clients. That will help motivate them to take action.”

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