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What’s the primary goal for your firm? For many agency owners, the answer to this question is “to remain independent”—and with good reason. A commitment to independence is a positive story to tell employees, clients and carriers. It can help shape your organizational culture and can also provide an advantage in competing for talent.

But is it a realistic goal? Frequently, agency owners who anticipate perpetuating internally sell to an outside buyer instead. In some cases, this change in direction is due to an unexpected and compelling opportunity. Often, however, it’s not by choice: Internal perpetuation is difficult and the challenges are increasing. As the Baby Boomer generation moves toward retirement, a staggering amount of privately held agency equity must change hands over the next five to 10 years. And this demographic reality is creating a sense of urgency for many firms.

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