"In many cases these are going to be their most important client relationships," Edwards says. "It's important that we demonstrate knowledge and professionalism and treat the advisor as our partner."
The division of labor is crucial throughout the process. Both firms keep their advisors involved and update them on relevant information as the talks proceed so that they can help with the relationship side of the transaction.
"It wasn't, 'Here's just a referral and you don't need to know anything. It was the opposite of that,'" Bill Boehmler, a financial consultant and senior vice president at Hilliard Lyons, says. "That's every financial consultant's fear. They don't want to ruin their relationship with a client that they refer to another division."
Having a close advisor-client relationship can also be especially useful when emotions crop up in the deal process. When Raymond James helped a client sell a propane distribution company in the Florida panhandle, the advisor played a key role in reassuring the client, who was second guessing giving up the business.
"Then came the task of helping the client to live off of the proceeds from a sale, which can be the hardest part," Edwards says.
It can, however, be the most rewarding. Raymond James has paid out over $700,000 in referral bonuses to advisors in the last three deals of the year.
"That's a huge opportunity for the financial advisor," Edwards says. "Not only did our financial advisors have referral fees for partnering with us, but more importantly they helped clients with their most important assets and are now helping them live off those proceeds as they move into retirement."
It can also result in new client referrals. At the end of last year, Boehmler of Hilliard Lyons helped the owner of a large company sell his business and ended up bringing the sitting chief executive of the company on as a client as well.
*Correction: This number has been updated from the original version as two-thirds of Raymond James' business was below the $250 million mark, not $50 million.