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Deal-Driven Growth

The Ideal Deal Partner

One of the recurring themes that comes up time and time again across the episodes of the Fueling Deals podcast is the importance of finding the right deal and the right deal partner. It is a topic I’ve revisited multiple times, because the importance of this step cannot be overstated.

Not long ago, I invited my friend Mary Ann Buchanan to join me on my Fueling Deals podcast. Mary Ann is the CEO and co-founder of RIA Match, a service that helps pair financial advisor firms with willing deal partners. Mary Ann’s company has more than five thousand clients all over the nation, and she is experienced in connecting her clients with the right deal partners. Mary Ann truly understands why the numbers don’t always tell the full story, and she helps her client firms look past the financial appeal of a deal to see the many other important key factors that need to be considered.

In our episode of Fueling Deals, I speak with Mary Ann about the role culture plays in making a good match between deal partners, and we discuss some of the deals Mary Ann has made in her own business that have helped RIA Match accelerate its growth. Mary Ann shares some surprising statistics about the financial advisor industry and discusses the work her company does for its clients in areas like succession planning, mergers and acquisitions. Mary Ann is truly an expert in the art and science of finding the right deal partner that meets an organization’s needs.

It’s More Than Numbers

As we’ve established before, numbers often don’t tell the whole story. A deal may look profitable on paper, but it can easily cause more negative effects on your firm than positive ones if the only thing you’re looking at are the financials. Culture is the other secret ingredient of a great deal, regardless of what kind of deal you’re considering. In the case of a merger or acquisition, a good culture match ensures that the merged teams can work together productively. In the case of a strategic alliance or brand deal, a good culture match can guarantee that both deal partners are on the same page about the goals of the deal.

In every case, compatible culture is at least as important as the financial impact of a deal. Identifying any cultural conflicts with your potential deal partner is a necessary step that needs to be completed before you agree to any deal. You will save yourself a lot of headache later by taking this key step now.

Understanding Your Firm’s Needs

One of the ways in which Mary Ann’s RIA Match service helps its client firms is by assisting them in understanding their unique needs and then pairing them with a deal partner who can satisfy those needs. That truly is the key to a great deal. By clearly articulating what you are looking for and what you hope to accomplish from a deal, you can have a much better sense of who would be an appropriate deal partner.

During our conversation, Mary Ann gave a fantastic checklist of considerations and data points that RIA Match examines. This is a phenomenal list to keep in mind when you’re looking for your own deals. Things like geographic location, number of clients, what technology is being used, and what sort of growth trajectory you are looking for are all things a potential deal partner wants to know about your organization and things that you should consider in your own deal partner to help evaluate if the deal is the right one for you.