FA-IQ reached out to advisors to ask: Has the feverish pace of RIA M&A activity made you consider either acquiring another firm or selling your own?

Jack Petersen, managing partner, co-founder and advisor at Summit Trail Advisors. New York City-based Petersen has been in the industry for 30 years and his firm has $14.7 billion in client assets.

“We have been very consistent in our M&A strategy and execution since our launch in 2015.

Jack Petersen
We look for like-minded advisors who are equally committed to serving ultra-high-net-worth clients and feel they can better serve their clients with the resources and approach of Summit Trail Advisors.

The influx of PE capital is having an impact on the M&A landscape within the RIA channel. Competition, deal volume and valuations have increased measurably and that has quite an effect on our industry. While it may be tempting for many to jump in, as either a buyer or a seller, we have not changed our plans.”

Jim Pratt-Heaney, founding partner of Coastal Bridge Advisors. Westport, Connecticut-based Pratt-Heaney has been in the industry for more than 30 years and has $2.85 billion in client assets.

Jim Pratt-Heaney
“We are interested in acquiring and adding to our firm and/or combining with a larger firm.

Going forward, size and quality will indeed matter more. Well-curated, often larger, teams can lead to more input, refined management practices, greater opportunities for staff development, streamlined client service — and more fun.

M&A remains a challenging process to manage, and we have found that price is not the only important factor nor the most challenging to determine. It is the culture and ‘fit’ that are worth the extra effort to discern before deciding to pursue.”

Gerald Goldberg, chief executive officer and co-founder of GYL Financial Synergies. West Hartford, Connecticut-based Goldberg has been in the industry for 26 years and has about $9 billion in client assets.

Gerald Goldberg
“In the past three years, we have done two transactions through which other firms joined the GYL family. These transactions provided several advantages to us, not the least of which is the ability to recruit highly talented professionals who are a good fit for our client-centric culture.

You can anticipate additional M&A activity going forward. This is not driven by industry trends but rather because we have a strategic plan that contemplates growth through a combination of organic and inorganic initiatives.”

Michael Leverty, founder of Leverty Financial Group. Hudson, Wisconsin-based Leverty has been in the industry for 20 years and has around $450 million in client assets.

Mike Leverty
“We have a close eye on the M&A activity, along with the increased activity of private equity ownership within the RIA space.

Our plan is to continue growing through organic growth; however, we are always open to evaluating opportunities.

A future M&A opportunity would need to provide synergies and value to our existing clients and staff, while complementing our culture and current management philosophies.”

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