RIA Deals Increased in 2011

Registered investment adviser (RIA) deals increased in 2011 despite a decline in the overall number of deals, according to an industry-wide RIA mergers and acquisitions transaction report from Schwab Advisor Services.


There were 57 mergers and acquisition (M&A) deals involving RIAs for the full year 2011, representing approximately $44 billion in total assets under management (AUM). The average deal size in 2011 was $798 million, the lowest average since 2005. In contrast, there were 70 deals in 2010 representing $63 billion in AUM, with an average deal AUM size of $895 million.

RIAs were the leading acquiring category, rising from 37% of transactions in 2010 to 44% in 2011.

“Market volatility and economic uncertainty led to a decline in M&A activity in the second half of the year,” said Nick Georgis, vice president of Schwab Advisor Services. “RIAs remain the dominant buyer category, but we observed a measurable increase in the number of transactions completed by banks.”

Of the 57 deals tracked by Schwab in 2011, 58% percent of deals represented less than $500 million in AUMs, 33% percent of deals were between $500 million and $2 billion, and 9% percent of deals were greater than $2 billion.

Schwab began tracking M&A transactions in 2004.