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Mercer Fetches First Iowa Firm

Marrs Wealth Management of Ames, Iowa, joined the Mercer platform for its succession planning and back-office support.

Mercer Advisors deepened its hold in the Midwest as it tucked in Marrs Wealth Management, an 11-year-old firm located in Ames, Iowa, according to a company announcement. The Denver-based firm closed the deal on Marrs on Dec. 31, 2020, making it Mercer’s seventh acquisition since November.

Marrs Wealth provides advisory services to 275 clients and manages approximately $215 million in assets under management. The firm, located in the same town as Iowa State University, focuses on high-net-worth professionals such as engineers and business owners.

Craig Marrs, 59, founder of Marrs Wealth Management, said the firm had been mulling over its succession plan for some years when he and partners Andra Reason and Nathan Brammer decided a national partner would be the best fit.

“The goal is to have less hats to wear so I can just focus on the clients and have a longer shelf life,” said Marrs. “You don’t want to get burnt out before you feel like you don’t want to do this anymore.”

In addition to providing financial advice, Marrs was responsible for researching mutual and exchange traded funds for investment selection and keeping the firm's technology current. Reason, 43, said compliance, human resources and bookkeeping were the other hats she wore outside of the financial, tax and estate planning services she performed for clients. 

“[Mercer] really is a nice solution to get down to the basics and to have a deep bench of people that just run the business for you,” she said.

Marrs started the firm in 2010 shortly after wrapping up 25 years of work under Ameriprise Financial Services. Marrs said he left Ameriprise with former partner William Ross when the company asked the two, who were part of Ameriprise’s private wealth advisory group, to change its business model from charging only on AUM to charging on AUM and adding extra fees for financial planning.

The new model didn’t fit Marrs’ ambitions, so he launched an independent firm, he said. 

This article has been updated to remove comments from Mercer Advisors' vice chairman, David Barton, that Marrs was a Raymond James firm. Marrs Wealth Management said it has been independent since its launch.

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