Actuary helps owners sell their companies

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 11:00 am

Thomas More Chiappetti, owner of Thomas More Group, wants to help business owners plan their financial futures. However, unlike many of the other financial consulting and planning firms, Chiappetti doesn’t want to take away business from other advisors. He wants to work with them.
Thomas More Group works with business owners who want to sell or transfer their business in the next five to 10 years. Ideally, Chiappetti will help clients build their businesses, protect and maximize their sale value, and then assist in wealth planning and management once they have received a windfall from the sale.
Getting involved early in the sale process enables Chiappetti and his team members to examine the business, its cash flow and its long-term viability and make recommendations to improve its long-term value.
Chiappetti is an actuary, with experience designing retirement plans for businesses and helping business owners develop plans for wealth management once they’ve sold those companies.
He also has helped business owners create buy-sell agreements, handle succession planning and deal with life, disability and group life insurance plans.
Actuaries are mathematicians, Chiappetti said, who design insurance polices by calculating risk and also determine premium prices. When new retirement plans are developed, actuaries assist in calculating necessary investment levels that businesses need to make.
“There is complexity with all of these things,” he said. “And actuaries are good at complexity. They’re good at quantifying complex systems and making them easy to use.”
Over the course of the past year, Chiappetti has refocused his business to serve the long-term financial planning needs of business owners. The change, Chiappetti said, follows the progression of his career.
“When I started (as an actuary) I wrote complex retirement programs to figure out how much to put into their retirement and pension programs,” he said. “As it progressed, I learned about estate planning and exit strategy planning – how to make that money last the rest of (clients’) lives.”
The complexity of tax laws, retirement and investment plans and selling a business made Chiappetti believe there was no one-stop service that could help a business owner prepare a company for sale, help take it to market and then handle wealth management after the sale.
“The world is getting more complex,” he said. “And it was clear that no one professional could do the job to help the business owner leave their business in style.”
To guide clients through the process, Chiappetti has developed an exit planning process. Each client receives a customized plan that includes:
•    Setting exit objectives.
•    Valuing the company.
•    Protecting, preserving and increasing value.
•    Designing a sale or transfer.
•    Contingency planning.
•    Wealth preservation planning.

Chiapettti’s plan requires building a team of professionals that will assist in the planning process.
“What we do is form a team,” Chiappetti said. “The owner picks the members. I act as the lead advisor or quarterback on the team. There is usually me, a mergers and acquisitions attorney and an accountant or (business) valuation person. That’s the core of the team.
“We’re not a threat to existing relationships,” he said. “We’re there to work with existing relationships. I’m not an accountant or an attorney. I’m an actuary … I’m trying to prepare my clients to differentiate myself from brokers. My clients are asking me to manage this process. That’s a natural thing. We can act as someone who organizes and keeps the process under control. And that can be very valuable to the client.”
Chiappetti creates a fee structure for each client depending on the complexity of their situation, he said. That structure is based on his perception of the project.
The Thomas More Group begins each project by creating a business exit road map for the client.
Currently, The Thomas More Group only employs Chiappetti and an assistant. However, because so many baby boomers in metro Milwaukee will want to sell their businesses in the next 10 years, Chiappetti believes his business will grow significantly. As the business attracts more clients, it will hire more actuaries, he said.
“That’s dependent on client flow and finding the right person,” Chiappetti said. “There is so much potential for this work, once all of the marketing comes through.”

Thomas More Group

Address: 1425 W. Mequon Road, Suite D, Mequon
Industry: Actuary
Web site:

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