2019 Advisor Mergers & Acquisitions Annual Review

2019 Advisor Mergers & Acquisitions Annual Review

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PORTLAND, Ore. (Jan. 21, 2019) — Succession Resource Group, Inc. (SRG) is publishing its fifth annual review on the M&A activities of RIA and securities professionals, recapping 2018 deal data and trends drawing on $88 million in third-party advisor sales and $6.7 billion in AUM transferred[1]. Based on the deals completed in 2018, total deal volume was up 37% and is expected to continue to increase into 2019, poised to see record deal volume should there be any major sustained market corrections. Other key findings from 2018 M&A activity include:


  • Buyers of small-cap RIAs and securities practices continue to focus on the gross revenue of sellers versus their earnings/profits, unlike M&A activity for larger firms ($1 billion+ AUM) where the focus is on the seller’s profitability
  • Average multiple of gross revenue for RIAs was 2.68 in 2018, up 2.2% from 2017
  • The gap in values paid for practices with sell-side representation widened, with represented sellers receiving a record setting average multiple of 3.11, while self-negotiated deals obtained a much lower 2.59 gross revenue multiple.
  • The multiple of commission revenue for securities professionals continued to decrease for the second straight year, averaging 0.88 in 2018 down from 0.90 in 2017
  • The highest multiple of gross revenue paid for an advisor in 2018 was 4.56
  • Discounts for distressed sales (sales triggered by the unexpected death/disability of the owner) was 27.7%

Deal Structure:

  • Third-party financing continued to gain momentum, with 71.2% of all deals leveraging bank financing for some, or all, of the purchase price
  • The average down payment rose, likely a result of the bank financing trend, with an average down payment of 64% in 2018, with an astounding 22% of last year’s deals being all-cash transactions
  • The average number of clients sold was 230, with an average AUM per transaction of $117 million

According to David Grau Jr., President of Succession Resource Group, demand remains strong for small-cap RIAs, with an average of 48:1 buyer-to-seller ratio, despite buyer reservations fueled by record setting market conditions and recent 4th quarter turbulence.

“Demand still far outpaces supply for RIAs which is bolstering values, but buyers are consistently concerned about projected cash flow being sustainable,” Grau said. “We are seeing increased values paid and more cash at close, but buyers have maintained a healthy level of skepticism – almost half of the deals contained a claw-back in case of unexpected attrition.”

Buyers have more experience than ever before, with 87% in business for more than 10 years, 48% generate more than $1 million in annual revenue, and 64% had previous acquisition experience.

In late first quarter 2019, SRG will publish its first annual Advisor Deal Guide, providing the most comprehensive and interesting data for independent RIAs and securities professionals, including information on industry rules-of-thumb, deal structures, and buyer profiles, information that has until now remained inaccessible to the masses.

About Succession Resource Group
Succession Resource Group is a boutique succession consulting firm based in the Pacific Northwest, serving advisors across the country. Founded by David Grau Jr., a well-known industry expert that has more than 15 years of experience helping advisors with valuation and succession planning, SRG’s team of experts leverage their industry expertise combined with best in class resources to help advisors, agents and accountants manage the equity in their businesses. With decades of experience on the team, SRG has helped thousands of clients value their business, improve their business’s value, setup and/or formalize their equity structure, share equity, and plan for their eventual exit.

For more information on Succession Resource Group, visit www.successionresource.com

David Pan
Marketing/PR Coordinator
(503) 427-9910 ext. 1307

[1] Deal data is comprised of small-cap independent Registered Investment Advisors and securities professionals with less than $1 billion in AUM

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