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RIA Merger Mania and the Medical PPMC Fiasco

What is Old is New Again -or- Lessons Learned

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

 dr-david-marcinko9According to the article Great Expectations-Disappointing Realities that recently appeared in Registered Representative, a trade magazine for the financial services industry, by John Churchill, the booming stock market of the last five years saw many Registered Investment Advisory [RIA] firms sell a portion of their future cash flows in return for cash and stock in an acquiring consolidating firm. This is known as a roll-up, or consolidator, business model. I am quite familiar with it, as both a doctor and financial advisor. I believe my dual perspective of both camps is somewhat unique, as well.

The NYSE Collapse

As the stock market collapsed in 2008-09, many RIAs who previously sold stakes to these “roll-up” consolidator firms began scrambling to pay quarterly preferred disbursements.  What gives, many implored? As a reformed Certified Financial Planner™, RIA representative, financial advisor and insurance agent, I can draw many parallels from these present day RIA consolidators to the similar Physician Practice Management Corporation roll-up fiasco of 1999-2000? Indeed, I can, and will [www.HealthcareFinancials.com]

My Experience with Medical Practice Consolidators

As a clinician and surgeon, I was the past president of a privately held regional Physician Practice Management Corporation [PPMC] in the Midwest. I assumed this route about a decade ago, by happenstance and background, when I helped consolidate 95 solo medical practices with about $50 million in revenues. But, our small company’s IPO roll-up attempt was aborted due to adverse market conditions, in 1999. Fortunately, a conservative business model based on debt, not the equity which was all the rage at the time, saved us right before the crash of 2000. So, we harvested fiscally conservative physicians who lost only a few operational start-up bucks; but no significant dollars.

On the other hand, those PPMCs roll-ups based on equity lost much more. In fact, according to the Cain Brothers index of public PPMCs, more than 95% of all equity value was lost by doctor-investors hoping to cash in on Wall Street’s riches they did not rightly deserve; not by practicing medicine but by betting on rising stock prices. So, projecting a repeat disaster from medicine, to the contemporary RIA consolidator business model, was not a great leap for me. And unfortunately, this was one of the few times I was all too correct in my prognostications.

PPMC’s Today

The type of medical consolidator or roll-up, formally called the Physician Practice Management Corporation [PPMC], was left for dead by the year 1999. Even survivors like Pediatrix Medical Group saw its stock drop precipitously. And, more than a few private medical practices had to be bought back by the same physicians that sold out to the PPMCs originally.

RIA Example

I sure hope this does not occur with FAs, as well. But, if an entity is being bought back and accounts receivables are being purchased, FAs should be careful not to pick this item up as income twice. The costs can be immense to the RIA practice, as later clients of mine learned the hard way.

Buy-Backs

For example, let’s say a family practice [or RIA?] purchased itself back from a PPMC, or RIA consolidator. Part of the mandatory purchase price, approximately $200,000 (the approximate net realizable value of the accounts receivable), was paid to the PPMC to buy back accounts receivable [ARs] generated by the physicians buying back their practice. Now, if an office administrator unknowingly begins recording the cash receipts specifically attributable to the purchased accounts receivable as patient fee income; trouble begins to brew. If left uncorrected, this error can incorrectly added $200,000 in income to this practice and cost it (a C Corporation) approximately $70,000 in additional income tax ($200,000 in fees x 35% tax rate). The error in the above example is that the PPMC [or RIA consolidator] must record the portion of the purchase price it received for the accounts receivable as patient [advisory] fee income. The buyer practice has merely traded one asset – cash – for another asset, the accounts receivable [ARs].  When the practice collects these particular receivables, the credit is applied against the purchased accounts receivable (an asset), rather than to patient [RIA] fees.  

RIA Revolution Follows PPMC Evolution

Today, surviving medical PPMCs are evolving from first generation multi-specialty national concerns, to second generation regional single specialty groups [my type], to third generation regional concerns, and finally to fourth generation Internet enabled service companies providing both business to business [B2B] solutions to affiliated medical practices, as well as business like consumer health solutions to plan members [healthcare 2.0]. I trust this sort of positive morphing will occur, over time, with the RIA consolidators. Perhaps yes, or no [www.HealthDictionarySeries.com]

RIA Consolidators

Among the most distressed RIA roll-up entities today may be the publically traded National Financial Partners and its more than 180 acquired firms, with more than 320 members in 41 states and Puerto Rico. NFP specializes in life insurance and wealth transfers, corporate and executive benefits, and financial planning and investment advisory services. Jessica M. Bibliowicz has been NFP’s President and CEO since inception in 1999. She is the daughter of Sandy Weill, and a member of the Board of Overseers for the Weill Medical College and Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University. NFP’s stock has declined from a high of $56 more than a year ago, to a current trading range of $3-4.           

And the Question Is?

And so, the question that MDs and RIAs should have asked when contemplating this business model was simply this: would I but the stock of an acquiring roll-up company if I were not part of the deal?

Valuable Consideration

Why? When MDs and RIAs sell to a consolidator, part of their “valuable consideration” is stock equity, so confidence and a conscientious work ethic is important. But, these “‘sell-out” entities are not retirement vehicles according to former financial advisor Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA, CMP™ – a nurse executive and managing partner for www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com. Hope is also managing editor of this blog forum.

Assessment

More pointedly, according to one seller mentioned in the Churchill article,

“the whole [consolidator] pyramid is built on cash flows based on incremental growth and hugely optimistic projections of that growth”.  

Conclusion

Rest assured, the consolidator business model can be very successful; just think H. Wayne Huizenga’s Blockbuster Video and Waste Management, Inc. And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated? Why didn’t consolidation work in medicine, or with the RIAs? Or, reframed, why did consolidation work in the garbage collections industry and video store space? Can the fiercely independent RIA space learn something from the fiercely independent medical space?

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com  or Bio: www.stpub.com/pubs/authors/MARCINKO.htm

Our Other Print Books and Related Information Sources:

Practice Management: http://www.springerpub.com/prod.aspx?prod_id=23759

Physician Financial Planning: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763745790

Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

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About National Compliance Services, Inc.

Want, Need or Risk Reduction Mechanism?
Staff Reporters

cmp-logo6

As readers and subscribers to the Medical Executive Post, and our related print periodicals, dictionaries and books are aware, choosing the right financial consulting firm, or consultant, is always a challenging task www.HealthCareFinancials.com Today, this is true more than ever, given the financial meltdown and the all too obvious shenanigans of Wall Street www.HealthDictionarySeries.com Lay and physician investors alike are affected; along with related financial advisors of all stripes, degrees and designations [spurious or more credible] www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com

National Compliance Services

According to the National Compliance Services, Inc. [NCS] website, an experienced team of customer-oriented professionals is in place that strives to meet personal and corporate compliance needs so that clients can focus on areas of expertise www.NCSonline.com

A Protean Focus

NCS operates in the financial compliance and regulatory services industry. Its strength may be in providing efficient, and reasonably priced products and services for many different sub-arenas, such as: investment and financial advisors, hedge and mutual funds, stock-brokers and broker-dealers. Their customized services are designed to structure a compliance program that is appropriate for any individual, or firm’s unique regulatory needs. NCS works to ensure compliance with applicable federal and/or state rules and regulations.

Range of Products and Services

NCS has offered its personalized services to more than 6,000 clients, both domestically and internationally. Their consultants include former regulatory examiners, accountants, attorneys, and other individuals with extensive hands-on industry experience.

Verification Services

NCS also offers a standard or customized line of verification services to Mutual Funds, Hedge Funds, Custodians, Broker-Dealers, Investment Advisers, and Third-Party Vendors. Verification services can be customized to include any or all of the following:

  • Firm Registration/Notice Filing with the Proper Jurisdiction(s)
  • Adviser Representative Registration(s)
  • Adviser Representative Degree(s) or Professional Designation(s)
  • Firm Reported Disciplinary History
  • Adviser Representative Reported Disciplinary History
  • Proper Registration of Solicitors
  • Proper Registration of Wholesalers and Third-Party Vendors
  • Bank Background and Activity Reports, and
  • OFAC Checks, etc.

Assessment

Moreover, claims of verification for over 15,000 Registered Investment Advisers, and Investment Adviser Representatives, seem plausible. For example, NCS recently contacted www.CertifiMedicalPlanner.com to verify the good-standing of a member and charter-holder.

Contact Info:

For further information, please contact:

Alex Aghyarian
National Compliance Services, Inc
Verification Technician
Phone: 561.330.7645 ext 302 and Fax: 561.330.7044
aaghyarian@ncsonline.com

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Verification in most any space is worthwhile of course; but is membership in a vague or nebulous organization helpful or harmful to the uninitiated?

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com  or Bio: www.stpub.com/pubs/authors/MARCINKO.htm

Our Other Print Books and Related Information Sources:

Practice Management: http://www.springerpub.com/prod.aspx?prod_id=23759

Physician Financial Planning: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763745790

Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

Subscribe Now: Did you like this Medical Executive-Post, or find it helpful, interesting and informative? Want to get the latest E-Ps delivered to your email box each morning? Just subscribe using the link below. You can unsubscribe at any time. Security is assured.

Link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/HealthcareFinancialsthePostForcxos

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