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Mercer Advisors Bolsters M&A Team with Fidelity, Schwab Veterans

The private equity-backed RIA is adding team members to support dozens of deals in the works.

One of the fastest-growing registered investment advisory firms is adding deal veterans with stints at Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab to its mergers and acquisitions team.

Mercer Advisors, the Denver-based RIA with more than $12.3 billion in assets under management, said Wednesday that they hired three new managing directors: Paul Stetz, Vince Gimarelli and Sandra Nesbit who will support “several dozen” active deals and accelerate the firm’s growth going forward, said Dave Barton, Mercer’s vice chairman who leads mergers and acquisitions.

“We’re seeing more and more sellers coming to market,” Barton said. “Not only coming to market, rushing to market.”

But Barton said the market is still competitive and he’s looking forward to working with the new team members, each of which come with their own extensive industry experience.

Stetz, who will co-lead merger and acquisitions in the Great Lakes Region and the Northeast with Barton, joined Mercer Advisors after stints at Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab. At Fidelity, where he was a regional vice president, Stetz was responsible for the relationship management and strategic business development of 1,300 RIAs.

Prior to that, Stetz was the managing director of the Great Lakes Region at Charles Schwab and consulted with over 270 large RIAs on business management issues and growth strategies.

Before holding a few executive-level positions and serving most recently as the managing director of Freestone Capital Management, Gimarelli held managerial roles at Charles Schwab, where he focused on sales and consulting expertise, and practice management for RIAs in the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco areas. Gimarelli was also previously a national director of business development at a $25 billion multi-family office.

He will co-lead merger and acquisitions on the West Coast for Mercer.

Nesbit, who will co-lead deals on the Southeast, was co-founder, principal and managing partner of GFS Private Wealth, an RIA acquired by Mercer Advisors. She and a partner formed GFS Private Wealth after working at Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch.

Last year, Mercer Advisors added 830 clients and well over $1 billion organically, but it’s ramping up inorganic growth—through mergers and acquisitions—nonetheless, Barton said.

“We took our time in hiring and I think we’ve come up with three highly talented people that can really make a huge difference in our M&A activity and our ability to create more outreach to firms seeking a partnership,” he said.

He said Mercer Advisors is exploring deals with firms anywhere between $100 million in assets under management all the way up to multi-billion dollar firms if they are a cultural fit.

The total amount of assets Mercer Advisors currently tallies includes those with advisory firms that have agreed to join the RIA but the custodial accounts have not been transferred yet.

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