Selling a business can be one of the most joyous moments in life. It can also be one of the most challenging. The deal is signed. The champagne corks have popped. And the cohort of advisers head for the exit, leaving the entrepreneur alone to contemplate their new situation
In the weeks that follow a major financial transaction, the seller will need to address some critical questions. How to handle the capital? How much spending is prudent per year? Is a high-risk and high-reward strategy best or are more conservative investments now appropriate? Then other issues emerge. Is there going to be enough? What am I going to do with my time? Who will I trust with my money?
These are profound questions arriving at a moment when the individual is uniquely indisposed to contemplate them. Shane Mullins of Fiscal Engineers has helped scores of entrepreneurs and business owners at precisely this moment. He says: “Selling a business often ends up in a cocktail of euphoria and anxiety for the vendor. At these critical moments of transition, it is imperative to take time to decompress and respond to the challenges now faced, rather than simply react.”
A couple of factors can complicate things, says Mr Mullins. “The flywheel effect of building the business over time, grooming it for sale and the intensity of the deal process itself can lead to poor decision-making immediately post-transaction. The other point is not to rush back into the game. The combination of the boredom factor and invincibility mindset can lead to wealth-destroying behaviours and decision-making.” The result? “I have seen people literally implode financially,” he warns.
Others react differently: “Some people’s reaction is fear. They want to protect their wealth and can become almost recklessly conservative in their outlook. Making the right choices is critical,” he says.
Fiscal Engineers is a specialist advisory service with a rich heritage of helping people navigate the receipt of large capital sums
Generic advice won’t cut it at this level. Each individual will have unique requirements. What they need is detailed guidance on how to think about and manage their wealth, and in a wider sense to orientate themselves in their new environment.
Fiscal Engineers is a specialist advisory service with a rich heritage of helping people navigate the receipt of large capital sums. Mr Mullins says the first step is to assess the individual’s full landscape. When the situation has been mapped out, working with the individual to articulate what they want to achieve is fundamental. The only way to create a complete strategy is to consider all factors: financial, lifestyle expectations, family, health, and the knowledge base of the individuals involved.
“We find busy executives and entrepreneurs come to us with a diverse set of affairs. We run through stress-testing scenarios to work out exactly what returns are required rather than invest without reference to a risk-management framework. We ask clients to think about risk at the balance-sheet level and run financial models that can span many decades,” explains Mr Mullins.
The approach taken by Fiscal Engineers resembles that of a family office, rather than a private bank or high-end wealth manager. It means the firm can advise on situations in which money isn’t the primary concern.
Being a boutique advisory firm, Fiscal Engineers is not wedded to any line of products. They build their own strategies. Its charges are very competitive and totally transparent. In a sector where hidden costs are an ongoing issue, this is an important ingredient in cementing trust between client and adviser.
This impartiality and fierce independence has led to Fiscal Engineers’ reputation as an industry leader in post-transaction services. The firm has won a long list of awards and accolades. “We have the advantage of pre-wisdom and having gone through this process many times,” says Mr Mullins. “Listening to peoples’ stories holds a deep fascination for us as a firm, that’s why the coffee pot is always on the boil.” Perhaps meeting them for a coffee might be a worthwhile investment?