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Why Wealth Management M&A Deals are Reaching Record Heights

July 9, 2019

The pace of mergers and acquisitions in the wealth management space has reached a new record in the second quarter, according to news reports.

Echelon Partners tracked 52 transactions last quarter and projects a total of more than 200 deals for the year, which would also be a new record, ThinkAdvisor writes. What’s more, 48 of those deals by the end of the year will be worth $1 billion or more, which would be 50% higher than in 2018, according to the publication.

In the RIA space in particular, Echelon marks a “multi-year bull trend” that’s not slowing down, ThinkAdvisor writes.

Growth in the second quarter had much to do with midsize RIAs, or those with $300 million to $1 billion in assets, Echelon says, according to the publication.

RIAs overall are stepping back into the acquisitions game after three years of declines of their market share in the overall M&A market, according to the report cited by ThinkAdvisor. So far in 2019 there have been 36 RIA-to-RIA deals, the publication writes, citing Echelon.

In addition, the second quarter saw 192 breakaways — an increase after a drop in the first quarter that should put transaction activity on track to reach 572 such deals by the end of 2019, which would be a 6.5% increase in broker moves over the year prior, Echelon says.

Echelon only expects just eight deals worth $1 billion or more, which is half of last year’s total, according to the publication.

So far, however, the biggest deal was the breakaway of five advisors overseeing $17 billion from First Republic’s private bank, ThinkAdvisor writes. Unidentified sources tell Echelon that 50 members of the bank’s wealth management unit are set to join the five advisors, who have set up two wealth management practices: Evoke Wealth in Los Angeles and IEQ Capital in Palo Alto, Calif., according to the publication.

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