Welcome to Financial Advisor IQ

Advisor Moves: Mercer Continues Its Acquisition Spree, and More ...

By Alex Padalka January 7, 2019

Mercer Advisors Inc. is showing no signs of slowing down its recent acquisitions push, starting the year off with the addition a California RIA.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Dragon Financial Group, owned and operated by principals Joseph Mah and Marie Chao, manages more than $110 million, according to a press release from Mercer.

Dragon, which has seven members, offers investment management and financial planning to clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mercer says. The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the deal.

"Mercer Advisors has the scale to offer a robust set of financial planning and investment services while still offering individualized attention and a high level of client service that has been a hallmark of Dragon Financial,” Chao says in the press release.

The addition of Dragon marks Mercer Advisors’ 38th office and seventh in California, Mercer says. It follows an aggressive acquisition spree in the last quarter of 2018, during which Mercer added several firms, including one in Portland, Ore., and another in Michigan.

Denver-based Mercer Advisors is also the parent company of the RIA Mercer Global Advisors, which manages around $14 billion, the company says in the press release.

* * *

Pennsylvania Wealth Management Practice Gets Acquired by Bank

In a sign that smaller banks are increasingly interested in growing their wealth management operations, a Pennsylvania bank has signed an agreement to buy an 18-year-old financial advice practice.

Lancaster, Pa.-based Fulton Bank, N.A., a subsidiary of Fulton Financial Corporation, has agreed to acquired Altoona, Pa.-based Forney Financial Solutions, according to a press release from Fulton.

Forney was established by John and Sherry Forney in 2001 and oversees around $250 million in assets under management or administration, Fulton says. The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the deal, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter this year, according to the press release.

“As part of our succession planning, we have searched for almost a year to find a like-minded firm with which to align, and we were delighted to find Fulton,” John Forney says in the press release. “After the transaction is complete, other than a change in our name, clients will see very little change in the way we do business. Sherry and I will continue to be involved in providing the best service, with the size and strength of Fulton Financial and our continued relationship with Raymond James supporting those efforts.”

Fulton Bank has around $11 billion in assets under management or administration, overseen through its wealth management division, Fulton Financial Advisors, the company says.

Buying Forney expands the company’s reach in central Pennsylvania, Curtis Myers, president and COO of Fulton Financial Corporation, says in the press release.

* * *

Ameriprise Poaches Former Morgan Stanley Manager

Ameriprise Financial has lured a career Morgan Stanley manager who had left the firm last year, according to news reports.

David Turetzky has joined Ameriprise’s Saddle Brook, N.J. office, where he’ll manage 34 advisors, a spokesperson tells FA-IQ sister publication FundFire.

Turetzky had been with Morgan Stanley for over 17 years before leaving in 2017 for Liberty Partners Financial Services, according to the publication, which cites Finra records. After less than a year there, Turetzky came to Ameriprise, FundFire writes.

Morgan Stanley lost several financial advisors to Ameriprise in recent weeks, including one in Illinois and two more in New York.

* * *

Madison Wealth Acquires $500M RIA

In Ohio, Madison Wealth Management has acquired Greystone Investment Management, according to news reports.

Founded in 2001, Cincinnati-based Greystone oversees $500 million for 100 clients, InvestmentNews writes.

Madison, founded in 2000, is also based in Cincinnati and has additional offices in Leesburg, Va., and Bethesda, Md., according to the publication. It manages clients with $1 million to $25 million in assets, InvestmentNews writes. Madison’s clients include individuals, families, business owners and charitable foundations, according to the firm’s website.

The combined entity will oversee $800 million, InvestmentNews writes. The publication did not disclose the terms of the deal.