According to the Fidelity Wealth Management M&A Transaction Report for August, 12 firms with $12.89 billion in AUM changed hands in the month, showing that deal-making is keeping up the rapid pace it set in June.
From June to August, 39 deals have been announced totaling $51.8 billion in AUM, the highest deal and AUM volume of any three months since Fidelity began tracking RIA M&A in 2016.
Large deals with AUM of $1 billion or more by strategic acquirers like Hightower, Focus Financial Partners, Creative Planning and Mercer Advisors have characterized most of the activity since the resumption of RIA M&A following a near shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Fidelity said. Each of these firms closed another deal in August. And for the entire year, half of all transactions involved firms with over $500 million in AUM.
"This rapid pace of activity demonstrates the long-term attractiveness of the independent wealth management space, and the presence of both prepared, aggressive strategic acquirers and motivated sellers who recognize the attractive state of current valuations,” said Scott Slater, M&A specialist and Fidelity Institutional vice president of practice management & consulting.
The strategic acquirers demonstrate “careful planning and confidence in their acquisition strategies. They’ve been able to continually execute in the midst of a largely work-from-home environment by adapting their due diligence processes to accommodate these changes," he added.