Sentry supports SMEs through alliance with Succession Plus – first project focuses on ESOP national roadshow

Craig West

Craig West

Sentry Group CEO and Chairman Murray Hills and Succession Plus founder Craig West have announced that the national licensee group and leading business succession and exit planning specialist have teamed together to assist the rapidly escalating need by SMEs for assistance with their retirement and exit objectives.

Recent surveys and studies by Swinburne University of Technology Melbourne, Melbourne University and Succession Plus have confirmed that succession planning continues to be a major challenge and concern for Australian SMEs, especially Baby Boomer business owners.

“The depth of challenges facing Baby Boomers seeking to retire in the coming years is enormous with the greatest being trying to sell a business in a buyers’ market”, said Murray Hills.

“For many of these business owners, their retirement nest egg is tied up in the enterprise and if they are unable to maximise the value and then extract it on sale will face the prospect of a very gloomy existence in their twilight years”.

Adding his voice, Craig West said that it basically comes down to poor preparation on the part of business owners who fail to commence the retirement journey while time is still on their side.

“As a result, business owners are walking into retirement with far less than they could have – and in the worst case scenarios simply switching off the lights and entering into retirement with nothing from years of hard work, dedication and exertion in their businesses”.

Commenting on the alliance with Succession Plus, Sentry Executive Director and Head of Business Solutions, David Newman said the purpose was to support the licensee group’s advisers assist their small business clients to effectively deal with protecting the value of their enterprises and extracting value upon exit.

Succession Plus has developed an extensive program for Sentry advisers that comprise workshops, training and development, visits and consulting with adviser SME clients. The first program to be rolled out as part of the Sentry Succession Plus alliance focuses on Employee Share Ownership Plans (ESOPs).

Craig West continued, “For the hardworking business owner who has dedicated many years to his / her business and seeks to exit and retire, ESOPs can be the answer with benefits including a succession solution for the proprietor and certainty for the employees, customers and suppliers.

“The thought of a business being sold, merged or closed often fuels disquiet among employees with disgruntlement, insecurity and potential for key employees to jump ship heightened”.

“ESOPs allow for an orderly transition of ownership, the owner can scale back his / her involvement whilst employees are motivated to go the extra mile through increased morale that increases productivity, performance and engagement”.

Last week Craig West embarked on a national roadshow event that is sponsored and supported by Sentry and promotes ESOP as business succession and exit planning solution.

The roadshow will visit all mainland capital cities with the program divided to accommodate maximum participation:

  • Part A – for business owners will delve into ESOPs, their benefits and why they should be considered as an exit and succession option
  • Part B – for financial planners and professional advisers (accountants, lawyers, etc.) of the legal and taxation considerations for the effective implementation of ESOPs

“We are proud to support and sponsor the Succession Plus ESOP national roadshow and confident that the event will be of immense benefit to SMEs and advice practitioner attendees”.

“In addition, we are excited about the long term prospects the alliance with Succession Plus will provide as the Sentry advisers that focus on servicing the needs of the SME sector will benefit with increased clients and enhanced relationships with accountants, lawyers, finance/mortgage brokers etc.”, concluded David Newman.

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