Succession Planning, Exit Strategies and Shareholder Protection

Every sensible business owner has a succession plan.  Failing to plan is planning to fail. Some entrepreneurs will make their businesses less dependent upon themselves and be happy to continue to derive economic benefit notwithstanding limited personal or family involvement.  This may represent sensible wealth management where there is a loyal management team that can be trusted.  In other businesses, success may depend upon personal involvement and there may come a time when an owner feels that he or she has taken a business as far as he can or may wish to take life a little more easily.  The prudent business owner will also consider the impact of their own death or critical illness upon the business or the death or critical illness of a fellow shareholder.

Succession Planning and exit strategies

Succession planning should be bespoke. For some individuals retirement cannot come soon enough and for other involvement in their business gives them their purpose in life! We take time to get to understand our clients and what makes them tick.

Where business is in multiple ownership, it is important to ensure that insofar as possible the interests of all owners around exit strategy are appropriately aligned. Circumstances and attitudes may change from time to time so it is important that this is kept under regular review.

Succession planning may involve an intention to sell the whole business at some point in the future, a partial exit for some or all shareholders, a reconstruction of the business or some incentive to management if they are being asked to assume additional responsibilities, or perhaps some combination of these.

We are at our most effective where we enjoy a long term relationship with our clients and a deep appreciation of the evolving nature of their businesses as circumstances change.

Where there is an intention to sell, we can assist clients in preparing a business for sale.  This often entails a review of key documents and contracts, verification of ownership of material assets and rights and mitigation of identified risks.

Shareholder Protection and keyman insurance

Shareholder protection involves insurance against the death or critical illness of business owners with a view to facilitating a purchase of the interest of the person suffering that event upon such an occurrence.  Keyman insurance provides a financial cushion to the business to assist it in overcoming challenges arising from the death or critical illness of a key employee.  This may include some financial offset to any deterioration in trading performance arising from such an event or may fund costs associated with the recruitment of replacement staff.

Shareholder protection may take a number of forms and life assurance cover is typically arranged by a wealth manager or independent financial adviser.  Life assurance companies often have proforma documentation to sit alongside their policies, but the documentation may not always be suitable. 

We can provide specialist advice in this area and George Green’s corporate and private client teams work closely together in this field.