The registered investment advisor space saw another record number of deals in the first half of 2022, although the average asset size of the acquired firms was lower, according to a new report.

The industry saw 181 deals announced during the first half of this year, 33 more than in the same period last year, Echelon Partners says in its latest RIA mergers and acquisitions report, adding that “[t]ransaction volume has remained high in the face of turbulent market conditions.”

Moreover, the second quarter of 2022 had a record 87 deals, up from 54 in the second quarter last year, according to the report.

But Echelon projects 308 deals for all of 2022, compared to 307 last year.

In addition, the average assets under management per deal in the first half of this year — excluding those with more than $20 billion — was $1.84 billion, down from $2.09 billion for all of 2021 but up from $1.75 billion in 2020, according to the report.

And the number of deals involving firms with over $1 billion in assets under management also fell, with Echelon projecting that it will be down by 17.9% by the end of 2022 compared to last year.

Strategic acquirers and consolidators, meanwhile, continue dominating the space, representing 83 deals, or 46% of the total, year to date, Echelon says.

Creative Planning topped the ranking for most deals, with 12 transactions year to date, followed by Mercer Advisors with 10, Beacon Pointe Advisors with eight, and Mariner Wealth Advisors with seven deals, according to the report.

The largest deal in the first half of 2022, representing $45 billion in assets, was Genstar Capital’s recapitalization of Cerity Partners, itself one of the top acquirers, with five deals year to date, Echelon says.

Other notable deals include Bain Capital’s minority investment in IIFL Wealth Management, representing $44 billion in assets, and Advisor Group’s majority investment in American Portfolios, representing $40 billion in assets, according to the report.

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