Pershing Sees Bigger RIAs in 1Q Merger Pool

Data from Pershing Advisor Solutions observes the same first-quarter trend that Charles Schwab noticed last month: M&A deals in the registered investment advisor market are getting bigger.

Pershing today said it tracked eight deals with assets under management totaling about $14 billion. That’s just one deal greater than those that were closed in the fourth quarter of 2011, but the AUM is nearly seven times larger, Pershing said.

Nearly half of the firms had $1 billion or more in assets, it added. Median AUM was $544.5 million, up more than three times the level seen in the sequential quarter.

The last quarter didn’t set records. The market saw bigger AUM in deals in the third quarter of 2011—about $15 billion.  Pershing tracks deals with AUM of at least $50 million, or $500,000 in revenue.

The biggest deal last quarter was AMG Wealth Partners’ equity stake in Veritable LP, a wealth manager with more than $10 billion in AUM and a mainstay on many “Top RIA” lists in the industry’s media.

Banks, which had sat out the RIA merger market for a while, also are creeping back in. Pershing noted that Bryn Mawr Bank last quarter acquired Davidson Trust Company, with $1 billion in assets. A year earlier it had bought Hershey Trust Company.

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