Meet the Top Four Partners for The 2023 Exit Planning Summit

Meet the Top Four Partners for The 2023 Exit Planning Summit

The 2023 Exit Planning Summit will be the largest exit planning conference in the world. With three full days of sessions, over 35 speakers, supplemental workshops, and over 25 trusted industry partners, the 2023 Exit Planning Summit promises to provide exit planning professionals with the resources, education, and experiences that will improve their advisory practice. 

This year we are lucky to have worked with four top industry organizations as our Title, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Partners. Learn more about these partners and the resources they can provide for our exit planning community. 

Title Partner: REAG

REAG is a lower-middle market investment banking firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions, business valuations, strategic ownership planning, and private capital markets advisory. For over two decades, REAG has helped leadership teams, private equity groups, and family offices optimize cash flow and overcome challenges to grow, maximize the value of their businesses, and successfully transfer ownership.

Gold Partner: Capitaliz

Created by Succession Plus, Asia-Pacific’s leading business succession, and exit planning specialist firm, Capitaliz takes the tedium out of business advisory to vastly improve evaluations and the client experience.

When Craig West first started succession and exit planning in 2009 there were few tools available, and nothing specifically designed to evaluate businesses and map out the best course of action to maximize business value and achieve a successful exit.

He started to build tools, templates, and checklists for each client he worked with, added to them and updated them along the way, and built a five-stage, 21-step process that forms the core methodology which underpins Capitaliz. Having worked with over 700 mid-market businesses, their owners, and advisors for over 10 years, Craig knows the process works and has constantly refined the tools – to deliver these tools to be used by any advisor, anywhere, at the scale he created Capitaliz.

Capitaliz has a core group of very talented professionals focused on using this platform to help as many owners as possible to maximize business value.

Silver Partner: The Founders Group + Strazzeri Mancini LLP

The Silver partnership and Charity Giveback partnership is shared by Strazzeri Mancini LLP and the Founders Group.

Strazzeri Mancini helps affluent families and family businesses get to the heart of highly relevant matters and resolve messes in the areas of integrated tax and estate planning, business succession, and family governance counseling.

The Founders Group leads business owners through all phases of transition where increased clarity, net cash flow, and market value expands and solidifies choices for business transition: if, when, how, how much, and to whom.

Bronze Partner: UBS 

As the world’s largest wealth manager, UBS Global Wealth Management provides comprehensive advice, solutions, and services to wealthy families and individuals around the world. Clients who work with UBS benefit from a fully integrated set of wealth management capabilities and expertise, including wealth planning, investment management, capital markets, banking, lending, and institutional and corporate financial advice. Clients have access to a wide range of products from the world’s leading third-party institutions that complement UBS’s own offerings.

We interviewed our four Top Partners to learn what interested them in the Exit Planning Summit, how they benefit the exit planning community, and what they are looking forward to at this year’s Summit. We spoke with Scott Mashuda of REAG, Craig West of Capitaliz, Joe Strazzeri and Shelley Lightfoot of The Founders Group, and James Jack of UBS.

What interested you in Partnering with Exit Planning Institute for the 2023 Exit Planning Summit? 

REAG: The Exit Planning Summit is an invaluable opportunity to share ideas and build community while developing personal relationships. Additionally, the Summit provides us with a forum to guide CEPAs in better understanding our firm and how it fits into the exit planning process.

This year’s Summit should be especially important for advisors as they help guide their business owner clients through strategic planning initiatives amongst macroeconomic uncertainty, geopolitical tensions, rising interest rates, and the lingering effects of COVID-era dealmaking.

Capitaliz: I have known the EPI and many of the key people for many years, starting in 2011 when I completed the CEPA course in Chicago and have attended several Summits since – including in Florida and Texas in 2015, I was named Exit Planner of the year. Some of these people are industry and thought leaders, and I love learning and developing, so it is a great place to come (there is nothing like this in Sydney, Australia, where I live). 

I attended last year and saw an amazing change – growth in the number of people who attended, the quality of the event, and the speakers – it was great to catch up with so many people I have known for years.

The Founders Group + Strazzeri Mancini LLP: EPI has been a fabulous partner for our Family of Resources for years now. Both Strazzeri Mancini and The Founders Group have been huge supporters of the Charitable Giveback component of the Summit since it was implemented back in 2017. In fact, Scott often credits us with the idea when he attended our own Southern California Institute’s Circle of Friends Gala, which we have been doing since 2005. 

UBS: This year will mark the fifth year that UBS will be partnering with the Exit Planning Institute at the Summit, and we are incredibly excited to continue this relationship. As a wealth management firm with hundreds of CEPAs, many of UBS’s Financial Advisors view the Exit Planning Summit as a tremendous opportunity to learn and deepen existing relationships with their fellow CEPAs, as well as creating new relationships. Exit planning is the ultimate team sport and the Summit brings all these resources together so that we can not only learn from each other but genuinely “change the outcome” for the business owners that we work with. 

As a trusted partner of EPI, how does your business benefit the exit planning community?

REAG: We facilitate the actual exit. This means, we create a market for the business, and execute the transition of ownership, converting the value-add of the exit planning process into consideration for the business owner.  

Capitaliz: Our software has been built specifically for exit planners to accelerate value – it is based on the 21-step methodology we have been using in our consulting firm in Australia. Succession Plus is the country’s largest business succession and exit planning firm, and we have helped over 800 businesses maximize business value and achieve a successful exit. We are now operating in the UK and NZ, but we are very keen to operate within the scale of the USA marketplace. 

The business has been built using our IP, and the Capitaliz platform is built by exit planners for exit planners. The software follows the five stages of value. It will help exit planners attract and retain better clients, deliver better outcomes and be more efficient and effective than other tools.

The Founders Group + Strazzeri Mancini LLP: Both entities are built to partner with collaborative advisory teams who want to help clients with business succession planning, specifically:  

Strazzeri Mancini LLP helps reduce the tax burden to cause business succession engagements. 

The Founders Group provides a detailed 7-step process for multi-disciplinary teams to lead owners through the Business Succession Journey.

UBS: UBS is a global wealth manager with a 160-year history of working closely with business owners to help them build, grow, and ultimately monetize their life’s work. Our role is to both educate and advise business owners on their personal, business, and financial plans to help create strong outcomes, achieve their goals, and leave a legacy that matters for the people and causes they care about and prepare for their next chapter. 

What is one piece of advice you would give an advisor like you who wants to establish themself as a leader in the exit planning community?

REAG: You get what you give. We all have the drive to become successful. But every ‘overnight success’ is built on years of hard work – getting to know your industry, learning to anticipate your clients’ needs, understanding the market, and building a network of people that can help you and your clients accomplish their goals. To do this, you must engross yourself in the process, spend time in the trenches, build relationships, and learn as much as you possibly can about your craft.

Capitaliz: Surround yourself with a good team, both internal staff and external partners, who offer the expertise you don’t have. Exit planning is highly collaborative, and the “team” needs to be high quality, working to the same plan and coordinating to ensure the business owner gets the best possible outcome.

The Founders Group + Strazzeri Mancini LLP: Don’t make it about a product or strategy. We strongly believe in leading with Benefit & Process. That is, explain the benefit you offer and your process to get there. When we jump to solutions too quickly – by offering a product or a strategy – we drastically reduce our opportunity to do more with a client. To develop a culture of benefit and process, and increase client engagement, it may be necessary to adjust your mindset a bit and fine-tune your quiet confidence. If you’d like to explore this concept more, check out our Behind the Conversation workshop (which is offered as an add-on the two days following this year’s Summit in Scottsdale) 

UBS: Our first recommendation would be to learn and listen to all of your incredible peers within the exit planning community, and not just those performing the same role as you. Understanding what a financial advisor, value advisor, or an M&A advisor does and the roles that they play will significantly improve your odds of delivering great results for your clients. And second, everything that we do is about the client. It is imperative that the entire exit planning team functions as one unified group to deliver for the client. It is always and only about the client. 

What motivates you to help business owners transition successfully?

REAG: It’s been said that “success is best when it’s shared.” When we help business owners transition successfully we share in this success. 

We’ve seen hard-working entrepreneurs pour their life into what they do. For us to unlock the wealth they’ve built in their business and return it to them in multiples – during the sale or transfer of a business – is intensely rewarding, knowing that we’ve helped them to monetize their life’s work, successfully retire, create generational wealth, or move onto their next entrepreneurial effort is extremely gratifying.

Capitaliz: When I ran a CPA business in Australia 25 years ago, I helped one client sell the business – we originally valued the business at $8 million and then worked with him without the benefit of any methodology and software tools over 4 years – we eventually sold to a strategic buyer for $25 million. The owner donated $5 million to a charity and sent me a thank you note with a copy of the receipt for the donation. On that day, I decided to stop doing accounting work and start helping people maximize business value and achieve a successful exit – a successful exit for that business owner was life-changing for him and his family and for that charity. I started Capitaliz so that as many people as possible could achieve this type of outcome.

The Founders Group + Strazzeri Mancini LLP: We love expanding the business owner’s options and then helping them choose. When entrepreneurs are referred to us, many of the conversations they’ve had already have not addressed the design of the transition itself. The topic has been prematurely narrowed: keep versus sell. The business owner wants to do something, but no one has helped them navigate the tributaries and ramifications of their potential choices. When their greatest potential is discovered, they have a choice to gear up or back away. If the choice is to gear up, we can help them navigate choices around internal versus external, and in whole or in part.  

UBS: Our motivation to help business owners as they transition stems from the fact that the vast majority of them are unprepared to do so. Our focus is to change this narrative by incorporating exit planning early into their financial plans and by continuously educating them on the numerous issues that arise throughout the process that could derail a successful exit. It is incredibly rewarding for us when we engage a client with no formal business, personal, or financial plan, and then to fast forward sometime later, for them to now be living a life that would never have been possible without the hard work and determination to realize their goals.

What are you most looking forward to at the Exit Planning Summit this May 21-23 in Scottsdale? 

REAG: Any opportunity to get in the same room with our peers or make new connections – to really connect on a personal level – is priceless. The work we do is built on trust. Having the amazing opportunity to develop and deepen these relationships is what the Summit is all about.

Capitaliz: A few things, catching up with some of the people I have now known for 12 years, learning as much as possible, and catching up with lots of our Capitaliz clients as well.

The Founders Group + Strazzeri Mancini LLP: Other than the parts of the Summit we have the pleasure of being directly involved in (such as the Charity Giveback Social, the Learning Lab discussion about the 7 Step Business Succession Journey and the Behind the Conversation workshop), we most look forward to connecting with our EPI friends around the country, taking the pulse of Exit Planning from many other perspectives, and listening to the nuance of new trends for 2023.

UBS: I am looking forward to being in person with the absolute best community of subject matter experts and learning from them and sharing great stories and a few laughs. It only makes sense for the Super Bowl of Exit Planning to be in the same town as this year’s actual Super Bowl!

Register for the 2023 Exit Planning Summit

The Exit Planning Summit is the premier conference for professional advisors who are committed to accelerating business value, aligning personal and financial strategies for their business owner clients, and meeting the top professionals in the exit planning industry.

Register for the Summit here!

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