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Succession Resource Group is a boutique succession consulting firm based in the Pacific Northwest, serving clients across the country. SRG was founded by David Grau Jr., MBA in 2012 after nearly a decade of 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...

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3 min read

RIA M&A Decade in Review: 2010-2019

Feb 11, 2020 8:00:08 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. (Feb 11. 2020) — Succession Resource Group, Inc. (SRG) is publishing its ten-year retrospective look at the state of the mergers and acquisitions for independent RIAs and advisors, recapping deal data, trends, and predictions for the coming decade. SRG’s data for this period draws upon more than $250 million in third-party transactions and over $20 billion in total assets under management (AUM) transferred1.

From 2010 to 2019, the investment advisor industry experienced several major events that impacted the M&A market for RIAs:

  • Improved market conditions with an incredible bull market run.
  • Increased regulation, compliance requirements, fee compression, and competition drove consolidation of advisor businesses.
  • Availability of capital: PPCLOAN was the first lending solution committed to providing capital to RIAs, followed by Live Oak Bank who began providing 100% financing options. for advisors, increasing the capital available to buyers pursing M&A as a growth strategy.
  • Expanding demand for deals outpaced the available seller inventory. Based on SRG’s deal data, demand for RIAs steadily increased, with a buyer-to-seller ratio in 2019 of 54:1.
  • Higher values: RIAs saw a steady increase in values, with a 13.81% increase in multiples over the last decade.
  • Changing Terms: How deals are structured changed completely. The average down payment in the first half of the decade averaged 20-30%, but by the end of the decade, the average down payment had reached 81%, with more than half (56%) of deals paid all in cash at closing.

According to David Grau Jr., President of SRG, deal volume in the last ten years grew steadily and is expected to continue into the next decade, driven by: 1) low interest rates, pressure on fees; 2) the current bull market inflating AUM and therefore values of RIA practices; 3) the continued graying of the industry (the average advisor is 55 years old2; 4) the declining total number of advisors over the last decade (CAGR of -0.7%3); and 5) the industry’s complete lack of succession planning (73%4 of advisors lack a succession plan).

From 2020 to 2029, Grau predicts:

  • The average multiple of revenue for RIAs will exceed 3.0x. In 2019, 20% of deals exceeded a 3.0x multiple of revenue.
  • All cash deals will become the standard until interest rates begin to climb, at which time sellers may choose to assume the financing and interest, causing down payments to plummet.
  • There will be fewer, larger buyers, reducing the ratio of buyers-to-sellers.

On February 20, 2020, SRG will be hosting a panel discussion with David DeVoe of DeVoe & Co. and Michael Kitces looking back at the last decade and making predictions for the coming decade of deals. For an exclusive look at 2019 M&A deal data, view the recording of SRG’s annual webinar here.

1. Deal data is comprised of independent Registered Investment Advisors and securities professionals with less than $1 billion in AUM from SRGs Internal Database
2. D. Power Press Release, July 9, 2019
3. The Cerulli Report U.S. Intermediary Distribution 2019
4. FPA and Janus Henderson Investors, “The Succession Challenge 2018”

About Succession Resource Group
Succession Resource Groupis a succession consulting firm specialized in helping financial advisors’ value, protect, merge, buy and sell their financial advisory business. With decades of combined industry experience, SRG brings a unique combination of skills, resources and industry expertise to help provide solutions to advisors.

For more information on Succession Resource Group, visit

Succession Resource Group
David Pan – Marketing and Brand Manager


Topics: Press Release
David Pan

Written by David Pan