Santa Barbara, California–based Mercer Advisors has picked up Blue Moon Wealth Advisory, a registered investment advisor based in Bellevue, Washington, with over $90 million of assets under management. This is Mercer’s eighth acquisition in just 17 months and brings its assets to $11 billion, with 7,700 clients nationwide.
The firm has been on an acquisition tear. It purchased Kanaly Trust in August, with $2.1 billion in AUM; Novos Planning Associates in February, with $100 million in AUM; Duckworth Wealth Advisors, also in February, with $160 million in AUM; and most recently, Wealth Design Services, with $160 million in AUM.
This is the second acquisition since Mercer brought on Dave Welling, who recently stepped down from his position at SS&C Advent to serve as CEO of Mercer. He succeeded David Barton, who is focusing on the firm’s M&A efforts in a vice chairman role.
Genstar-backed Mercer’s acquisition spree is representative of the company’s “Mayo Clinic approach to financial care,” as described by Barton following the acquisition of Kanaly. “We’re going to be a 30-branch, 40-branch firm in two to three years, and that is going to be very unique in the industry.” The firm plans to continue adding branches, which will serve clients locally and allow individuals to meet and build relationships with advisors and professionals.
Barton, who leads the company’s M&A activity, explained the value of such alliances: “Too often, smaller RIAs get weighed down managing non-core yet essential elements of the business: operations, systems, IT, investments, compliance, reporting, etc. While important to the business, these back-office tasks create distractions that often prevent planners from doing what they do best—growing their client base and providing valuable advice to existing clients. The Mercer team functioning across multiple departments, such as investments, marketing, training, accounting, IT and compliance, can relieve advisors of middle- and back-office responsibilities and provide leverage for planners to expand and service their client base.”
Mercer will consolidate Blue Moon's office with its other Bellevue location.