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Mariner Wealth Readies $1 Billion for Acquisitions

October 25, 2017

Mariner Wealth Advisors plans to acquire seven to 10 RIAs in 2018, writes Financial Planning.

The Leawood, Kan.-based indie RIA will focus on firms with $250 million to $1 billion in assets under management, Mariner CEO Marty Bicknell tells the publication.

The money will come from the pending sale of the asset-management firm Tortoise Investments by Mariner Holdings, Mariner Wealth Advisors’ parent company, to Lovell Minnick Partners, according to Financial Planning. Financial terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed but are expected to net the firm more than $1 billion.

In signaling its willingness to start buying again, Mariner prepares to end a two-year period of abstinence. In 2015, the firm decided to “take a year off” to digest the seven firms it had bought over the previous three years, Bicknell tells Financial Planning. At the time, he said the firm was aiming to make two or more acquisitions by the end of this year or early 2018. Earlier this year FA-IQ reported that Mariner was setting its sights on recruiting new talent and striking deals with smaller rivals.

But in returning to the fray more aggressively than ever, Mariner has to compete with an increasingly voracious array of rivals, Financial Planning writes. These include private-equity outfits KKR and Lightyear Capital, RIAs including Aspirant, Bronfman Rothschild and Savant, and aggregators such as Focus Financial and HighTower Advisors, according to the publication.

Bicknell isn’t fazed, however. "All that competition is great,” he tells Financial Planning. "It creates interest in the minds of the sellers."

However, Bicknell adds, the advent of a bear market — which he would view as an opportunity — could cause other buyers to pull back.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Financial Planning article cited in this story, click here.