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Mark Rogers: why I sold my firm to Succession

Mark Rogers explains why he sold his advice firm to consolidator Succession.

Mark Rogers: why I sold my firm to Succession

Last month, Tim Clay and I sold our 21-year-old financial planning business, Clay Rogers, to Succession Group, in a cash and share deal that could eventually be valued at over £10 million.

We had many congratulatory calls from clients and industry figures but one client said they heard the news from their former financial planner who we had taken over from six months ago.

Their former adviser said that now I had achieved reasonable financial security I would not be delivering a service with the same focus, drive and enthusiasm.

However, as a significant shareholder in Succession, the ongoing satisfaction of clients remains high on my list of priorities and my excitement for the opportunities ahead extinguished my competitor’s attempt at foul play.

No let up

The Succession deal was never intended as an exit route. I am looking forward to a long career with Succession and will continue providing a financial planning service to my clients, supporting colleagues and making a meaningful contribution to the profession I joined 35 years ago.

I intend to take professional financial planning to the next level, with greater clout and impact. I shared the Clay Rogers journey with my clients with a lot of pride.

Behind the headlines of our acquisition there is a story about a remarkable group of individuals working hard and making sacrifices to create a successful, professional and independent financial planning business. This deal is recognition and reward for their efforts.

Good intentions

When Tim and I created Clay Rogers in 1995, we had ambitious plans to build a reputable firm. We amassed a wonderful array of clients, and to this day remain proud that we are trusted by multiple generations of the same families to create, protect and distribute their wealth.

Our business grew rapidly through professional connection referrals, recommendations from existing clients and business acquisition.

We played an active role in our professional community and were proud to contribute to the development of our local business community.

But we were professionally lonely, and as the regulatory burden grew, we were in real danger of becoming just a group of IFAs who shared a sign above the door.

Important choice

Meeting Succession chief executive officer Simon Chamberlain at the annual Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) conference changed all that. What was important was how central cashflow planning was to Succession’s proposition.

We joined Succession as a member firm in 2012 with a clear agenda to become more professional, and to introduce greater operational consistency across our business.

We had to remain alert to market developments and carefully consider the options, as more consolidators entered the picture. We held numerous meetings and signed a barrage of non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements.

The only acquirer to encapsulate the IFP’s financial planning process was Succession and it was the only business that never asked us to compromise our independence.

Some of my colleagues at Clay Rogers were understandably wary of the change. However, once they saw it was never our intention to use this as a retirement plan, they were more comfortable and excited about the opportunity to build a client servicing hub in the Midlands.

We achieved this without U-turns or compromising the standards that have been the hallmark of our business over the past 21 years.

Mark Rogers is a wealth planner at Succession Group.

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