The owner of Acumen Financial Planning in Aberdeen, whose own firm has acquired four Financial Planning businesses, told the CISI 2019 Financial Planning Conference that planners could choose their takeover partners more carefully by finding firms with 'similar DNA.'
He said his own company had only bought firms which shared similar values to Acumen's.
Speaking at a session on 'How to grow your client base by acquisition' he said it had been a shame that so many firms had been acquired by consolidators who may have little in common with the firm they were taking over.
Answering a question, he said he was sometimes "fearful" of consolidators with their "financial pressure and targets."
He told delegates: "If you want to acquire you need to be looking for a 75% DNA match. You need to look for someone who looks like you."
"Just because the owner is proud of what they have built doesn't mean it's a good business for you. You are looking for a values, professionalism and ethics match."
He said he had turned down one acquisition in Scotland because the firm's "planners didn't look like our planners."
He said the best option for many firms considering selling to a consolidator was to get their succession planning right and look to continue in business or seek like-minded firms.
"The best model is succession from within. This is about cascading business down to the next generation or people like us or peers."
The CISI's annual Financial Planning Conference – one of the biggest events in the Financial Planning calendar – is taking place over two days, today and yesterday.
The two-day event is at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel at the NEC for the second year running.
• Financial Planning Today will be reporting and Tweeting throughout the event – check back for more coverage.