Santa Barbara-based Mercer Advisors, a registered investment advisor with $9.5 billion in assets, has acquired Novos Planning Associates, a New York-based RIA with $100 million in client assets, as part of a strategy to expand along the East Coast.
“We continue to identify outstanding advisor firms as part of our ongoing efforts to build our national presence, and Novos is an excellent fit for our organization,” said Mercer CEO David Barton.
In the last 12 months, Mercer acquired three other investment advisors as well as a trust company, expanding the range of services it provides and adding $3.3 billion in AUM.
Mercer made a big splash last March, when it announced it would merge with Houston-based Kanaly Trust, which had $2 billion in assets. The deal added trust services to Mercer’s wealth management offerings. (The deal was also part of an industry trend in the first quarter of 2016, when firms selling in record numbers were large RIAs with assets between $1 to $5 billion, according to a DeVoe & Company report.)
“We’ve been trying to build out a family office model, and I think we’ve now done that,” Barton said, adding that Mercer offers trust and other tax services, in addition to investment management, financial planning and retirement benefits and distribution planning.
Over the course of the next two years, Mercer plans to open or add through M&A an additional 18 offices to its current total of 22 branch offices. It specifically wants to increase its presence in Florida and the Carolinas. Barton said that he wants Mercer to be considered the first national family office.
In 2015, Genstar Capital, a private equity firm based in San Francisco, acquired a majority stake in Mercer from Lovell Minnick.