Creative Planning Acquires Dashboard Wealth Advisors

This is Creative Planning’s second recent deal, underscoring how adviser industry M&A volume continues at a rapid pace.

Creative Planning Inc. has announced the acquisition of Dashboard Wealth Advisors, which was founded in 2013 by Scott Schuster and has more than $800 million in assets under management (AUM).

Earlier this month, Creative Planning announced a deal with Lockton to combine forces, with the goal of creating a “best-in-class advisory offering designed to serve corporate retirement plans and the plans’ participants.” The partnership, named “Lockton Retirement Services, an Offering of Creative Planning,” seeks to help clients create more value for their people through personal retirement, estate planning, legal, tax and other advice resources. 

The new deal between Creative Planning and Dashboard is in line with overall industry merger and acquisition (M&A) trends that show deal volume has hit another record high. A third quarter 2021 analysis by Echelon shows large strategic acquirers, many of which are backed by private equity firms, maintained their status as the most active dealmakers in the wealth management and advisory industry.

Echelon researchers expect the number of 2021 deals to outpace the total 2020 deal count by a significant margin. Prospective tax code changes might have helped fuel the new record quarter, which saw 78 deals announced. The previous record was 76 deals, set in the first quarter of this year. Echelon researchers point to strong secular trends buoying the M&A activity, such as overall financial services industry consolidation, growing competition and a need for broader succession planning.

Adding fuel to the fire are supportive capital markets, cheap debt and heightened corporate cash balances—as well as the “transitory trend” related to potential changes in tax rates that could be included in the federal budget legislation making its way through Congress.