Preparing for the Largest Generational Wealth Transfer: Interview With MSP Capital’s Kyle Bryant

The largest wealth transfer has begun, and it’s not stopping anytime soon.

As baby boomers retire from their professional ranks, they’re passing an estimated $68 trillion to their heirs and business associates (yes, that’s trillion with a “t”). Experts believe the handoff will continue for upwards of a quarter-century, directly impacting roughly 45 million households. This emerging transition will be experienced by thousands of American businesses, as business owners plan for succession.

Greater Chattanooga is not exempt from this economic impact. That’s why three leaders from the Chattanooga-headquartered, multi-market accounting firm, Market Street Partners, launched a spinoff entity, Market Street Partners Capital (MSP Capital)—guiding area business owners through the impasses of this once-in-a-generation changeover.

I spoke with Kyle Bryant, founding partner at Market Street Partners, about MSP Capital’s launch and the timeliness of such an endeavor.

What is MSP Capital’s purpose? How do you help business owners?

MSP Capital focuses on transactions and transitions. We help business owners take the next step with their businesses. Many business owners don’t have a next step for their organization. They’re busy with the day-to-day operations of their businesses and haven’t dedicated the brain space toward planning their exit. Or, they might have mapped out a plan years ago, but the landscape has shifted so much that their game plan doesn’t make sense now.

For most leaders, there isn’t a marketplace to list a business for sale–like with your house or other type of property. At Market Street Partners, we get questions all the time like, “what is my business worth?” “Who would buy my business?” Or, “when should I be thinking about selling my business?” These are all great questions, but there isn’t a silver-bullet answer to any of them, especially when we consider market changes.

My advice is to be constantly thinking about these things. Don’t wait until you have limited options, or stay in business past the time you should leave. A proactive mindset helps business owners see emerging options, and those options create freedom. If someone waits too long to think about these things, their options are fewer and they could be forced into a decision that is less than optimal.

Running Market Street Partners, we found ourselves having these conversations over and over again. One thing we’ve gotten good at is listening to our clients and using our skills to help them achieve their goals. We’ve helped many families transition their businesses to the next generation. We have also helped clients that are approaching retirement, or just ready to transition the business for other reasons, by finding a buyer or an investment group to purchase their company.

There is a lot of work that goes into successfully navigating these impasses. Kevin Rose, my co-founder and partner at Market Street Partners, specializes in structuring the tax piece of this puzzle. There are certain ways specific things need to be structured from a compliance perspective, as well as a strategy to use the tax code effectively.

James Purgason, a principal at Market Street Partners, joined us in 2020 and has made a huge impact by focusing on consulting services as well. He has worked in the private equity space and understands transaction work. The three of us, while continuing our work at Market Street Partners, will be the driving force behind MSP Capital.

Why launch MSP Capital now?

Our society is at the beginning of the largest wealth transfer ever. I know that sounds huge, but it’s true—and it’s going to last for the next two decades or longer. Baby boomers currently hold over half of all wealth in the country. Their mass retirement is the biggest driver for launching MSP Capital right now. Many of them are business owners who don’t have a transition or transaction plan. We have been able to help provide value and ultimately sell their businesses, sometimes for more than expected. It’s a great feeling to know we can help someone advance to the next phase of their life and find some unexpected value to make life easier.

Who can benefit from MSP Capital’s services?

Small, privately held businesses with owners who want to start thinking about an exit strategy. If they’re selling their business to a family member, we can help find value and work through the transition together. If they want us to help package and sell their business to a non-familial entity, we can help too.

What are you most excited about when thinking of MSP Capital’s future?

Selling your business is a very emotional event that can be incredibly rewarding. I love being able to help someone see the value of the hard work they put in over the years. It’s a great feeling to know I played a part in someone’s story and helping them reap the rewards of their lifelong professional efforts.

How will your role with MSP Capital overlap with your work at Market Street Partners?

It’s a natural extension of the work we’re already doing, but it gives us the opportunity to continue in a more formalized manner. We’re currently just doing this for our Market Street Partners clients, but taking this strategic step allows us to help others. It also gives us a chance to further serve our clients in a more holistic fashion. In the end, that’s what we’re here to do.

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