Mergers and acquisitions activity among RIAs and independent broker-dealers has ramped up significantly this year, according to a recent report.
The RIA channel saw 94 deals through the end of the third quarter, a 42% increase over the same period in 2018, Fidelity Investments says in its third-quarter M&A review.
The total asset value of the deals was $116.8 billion in the first quarter of 2019, a 35% increase over the same period last year, according to the report.
The IBD space, meanwhile, saw nine deals totaling $434.6 billion in assets in the first three quarters of 2019, Fidelity says. That’s a 50% rise over the number of deals but only an 8% rise over the asset value during the same period last year, according to the report, which says that M&A activity in the IBD channel is at a more advanced stage than in the RIA space, with the largest players controlling a large portion of advisors and assets.
Focus Financial Partners leads in the RIA space, with 19 deals in 2019, followed by Dynasty Financial, which had six deals, and Mercer Advisors and Mariner Wealth Advisors, which saw five deals each, Fidelity says.
Moreover, 17 RIAs that had multiple deals this year accounted for 64 of the deals, which suggests that the largest firms are increasingly concentrating their assets under management, according to the report. Forty-eight percent of the deals involved client assets of more than $500 million while 26% of the deals had assets of more than $1 billion, Fidelity says.