National registered investment advisor Mercer Global Advisors announced its third acquisition this week with the addition of Bivin and Associates, a wealth management firm headquartered in Ponca City, Okla., with assets under management of approximately $130 million.
Founded in 1994 by President Wm. Stan Bivin, the firm tailors strategies for investing, financial planning and estate planning for individuals and business owners. The entire Bivin team will also be joining Mercer Advisors.
The transaction is Mercer's third this week, following the additions of Fure Financial Corporation with $260 million in AUM and Berkson Asset Management with $185 million AUM.
“In searching for a new partner to help us grow and add needed scale and leverage, we looked for a partner that shared these values,” Bivin said in a statement announcing the acquisition. “The fact that we could offload onerous back-office services and add new services like in-house estate planning, tax return preparation and corporate trustee was a huge plus,” he added. “We couldn’t be more excited.”
“The consolidation of the fragmented RIA industry is in full swing as smaller firms seek to join larger, platform RIAs that can provide the scale and leverage they lack. Biven, Fure and Berkson all fall squarely into this camp,” said Dave Barton, who led the transactions on behalf of Mercer.
Barton noted increasing competition among RIAs as clients demand more from advisors to justify their fees, such as additional in-house services, tax preparation and corporate trustee services.
“Just doing financial planning is no longer enough to be competitive with larger RIAs that provide a full suite of professional services in addition to financial planning, which is now just table stakes,” he said. “These acquisitions are beneficial to Mercer outside of the obvious add of revenues and clients, with the real value being the addition of highly talented, seasoned financial planners and other client support professionals—as our industry is talent-starved.”
“Stan and his team have built a great business, a strong team and they are a highly respected group of wealth management professionals,” said Mercer CEO Dave Welling. “We are thrilled to be opening a new location in Ponca City, Okla., and look forward to working together to help deliver meaningful results for our shared clients.”
Established in 1985, Mercer provides fee-based investment management, financial planning, family office services, retirement benefits and distribution planning, estate and tax planning, insurance solutions, and corporate trustee and trust administration services.
The firm has added 62 firms through M&A since its inception, announcing 10 new additions in the first half of 2022 alone. In January, Mercer also announced three acquisitions in a single week, with the additions of Cordasco Financial Network, HawsGoodwin Investment Management and Wrenn Financial Strategies.
Majority-owned by both Oak Hill Capital and Genstar Capital and a subsidiary of Mercer Advisors Inc., Mercer Global is now among the largest RIAs in the nation, with more than $34 billion in AUM across 25 states, per its latest Form ADV filing.
Headquartered in Denver, Mercer Advisors is privately held, has more than 670 employees and operates through more than 60 offices across the country.