The RIA M&A market is shifting. In 2023, M&A activity dropped for the first time in 12 years, down 5.6% from 2022, according to Echelon Partners. Yet, a recent survey by MarshBerry and WMIQ, WealthManagement.com’s research arm, shows wealth management firms are still very much engaged in dealmaking, but in a more selective way.
The fall survey of 445 firms found that a third were engaged in at least one transaction over the previous 24 months. Moreover, 77% planned to do a deal by the end of this year.
Buyers and sellers revealed what kind of deals they’re pursuing, what would sink a transaction and what they prioritize. They also weighed in on the market environment and perceived value of their own firms.
“Buyers are getting more rational and disciplined in really understanding what it is they’re looking to acquire,” said MarshBerry Managing Director Kim Kovalski.
“Sellers are starting to see different kinds of value-add in partnering with someone sooner in their life cycle,” she said during a recent webinar discussing the results. “I think we’re starting to see some interesting trends emerge which, to me, make a lot of sense and make me feel like we’re in a very rational, sensible place.”