Wealth Industry M&A Accelerating Steadily

On the 12 transactions tracked by Fidelity in April 2019, 11 involved registered investment advisers and one involved an independent broker/dealer.

Fidelity’s April 2019 Wealth Management M&A Transaction Report shows the month brought a continued steady acceleration in the pace of wealth management industry mergers and acquisitions.

According to Fidelity, the registered investment adviser (RIA) channel saw 11 deals during the month, with a total transaction value above $36 billion. There was also one deal involving an independent broker/dealer inked during the month, representing another $12 billion.

Compared to April 2018, Fidelity says, the number of RIA transactions was up 83%, with total assets transacted up 201%. The number of year-to-date RIA transactions went up by 24% compared to the January-April 2018 period.

Recent exclusive coverage by PLANADVISER offers some context for understanding the fast pace of advisory industry mergers and acquisitions. At a high level, firms are embracing the idea that building a scalable organization that does private wealth, institutional retirement plans and potentially other forms of advisory business will deliver strong cross-selling opportunities in years ahead. 

Fidelity’s April 2019 M&A report shows the influence of external capital and the industry’s drive for scale, as just four of the 11 RIA deals represented 90% of transacted assets under advisement for the channel during the month. Two examples are the Lightyear-backed Cerity Partners’ $11 billion acquisition of Blue Prairie Group and HighTower Advisors’ strategic investment in LourdMurray. Among other deals inked in April, serial acquirer United Capital made two moves of its own, Fidelity’s analysis shows.

The full April report and list of transactions for the year is available here.