Echelon Partners Deals and Dealmakers summit, a marquee event featuring many of the most influential mergers and acquisition thought leaders, will offer strategy and solutions for professionals navigating an active M&A environment despite market volatility and economic uncertainties.
Linda Paullin-Hebden, a partner at Warner Norcross + Judd LLP who has a national financial services practice, will offer her thoughts and best practices for negotiating key deal terms during the August 31 – September 1 event in San Diego.
Echelon invited Paullin-Hebden to speak at the conference in recognition of her increased activity supporting M&A deals for registered investment advisor firms. Echelon’s 2021 “RIA Deal Report” showed an all-time high for the number and size of transactions, breaking the record that was set just a year earlier. High valuations, aging firm ownership looking to monetize their business and talent acquisition were considered among the primary drivers behind the record setting year.
Warner is unique among law firms in that it provides both full service legal counsel and the highly specialized securities compliance guidance that investment advisers and broker-dealers require to navigate strict federal and state regulations. Understanding both the deal and compliance side of complex financial services transactions has positioned Warner as a go-to firm in the space.
“The RIA space is unique,” Paullin-Hebden said. “Valuations are high even though the firms themselves have few tangible assets. The value is in their client relationships which are subject to a complex network of regulations and disclosure requirements. Warner offers a 360-degree perspective by adding securities compliance services that help both buyers and sellers mitigate risks and ensure smooth transactions.”
Many RIA owners with a view to retirement previously sold to a second generation of family or employees, however the historically high valuations are making those internal sales difficult, if not impossible. As a result, much of the current consolidation is being led by national banks and private equity firms that can be particularly demanding on buyers.
“RIA firms are motivated to sell, but they don’t always fully grasp the complex groundwork required to become M&A-ready,” Paullin-Hebden said. “We’re able to prepare clients in advance, then work with them to efficiently move through the negotiation process and, ultimately, secure a successful close.”
Paullin-Hebden suggests RIA firms considering a sale start planning early with the understanding that it can be a years-long process. Since the RIA industry is relationship-based, firm ownership is often contractually obligated to continue to work for a period of time – often three years or more after the sale - to support the transition.
Paullin-Hebden concentrates her practice in mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, investment adviser compliance and general corporate matters. She holds leadership roles at the firm, including serving on the Management Committee and as immediate past chair of the Business and Corporate Services Practice Group, one of the largest groups in the firm.
Warner’s Funds and Investments Industry Group
In the highly regulated ecosystem of investment transactions, Warner’s Funds and Investments Industry Group does it all – from private fund formation and representation, to venture capital investments, to investment adviser and broker dealer work and securities compliance consulting. Warner’s team brings unparalleled experience in these areas, which encompass securities regulation, offerings, licensing, acquisitions, litigation and enforcement issues, and has the additional resources of a full-service law firm.
By providing discerning and proactive legal advice, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP builds a better partnership with our clients. An AmLaw 200 firm, we’re one of Michigan’s largest law firms focused on providing the best legal solutions and exceptional client service to organizations throughout the world. Connect with us on wnj.com, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
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