Businesses, which account for around 4 percent of the industry, are typically built on a structure of equity ownership and are sustainable entities that can be passed on through generations.

The final 1 percent consists of  firms—established multiowner and multigenerational entities focused on attracting top talent which creates some bottom-line profitability.

Firms tend to buy businesses, businesses buy practices, and practices buy books, says Grau.

“Among the buyers, who are also younger, there’s a sense of optimism and that it’s time to grow,” says Grau. “They’re not interested in just retaining cash flowing clients and assets. They want to build businesses that are strong and durable, and so they want to buy.”

Grau wants to level the playing field between the typically larger, more organized buyers and the smaller, less organized sellers—he goes so far as to encourage buyers to study his advice to sellers, and vice-versa, so that each knows best practices for the party on the other side of the table.

While today’s market may look positive for sellers, with potential buyers outnumbering sellers by 50:1, sellers are traditionally disadvantaged when it comes to transitioning advisory practices, says Grau.

“The market functions differently in this industry,” Grau says. “While the numbers are in the seller’s favor, the M&A market price is tilted steeply in the buyer’s favor."

Among the reasons for this are that advisors usually only have one opportunity to sell a business that they have built over the course of their careers, while buyers often can perfect their acquisition skills by conducting multiple transactions.

With many independent advisors at or near retirement age, the book is being published at a key moment for the financial industry.

Mergers and acquisitions among independent advisors have increased at an unprecedented pace, also driven in part by the pending enforcement of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary ruling.

“It’s the cumulative effect—remember that these folks have also seen a lot of new rules and regulations come to bear over the course of their careers, so you might think that one more isn’t too much,” Grau says. ”If you look out into the future, though, it doesn’t seem like taxes are going to go lower, so if you want to monetize your investment and get paid, now is the time.”