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Pershing Real Deals Report Sees Bright Spots In RIA M&A Activity

JERSEY CITY, N.J., April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Pershing Advisor Solutions LLC, a BNY Mellon company, today announced the release of a report analyzing deal-making activity among registered investment advisors (RIAs). Real Deals Trend Report: The Powerful Potential of the RIA to RIA Deal, found that despite unfavorable deal-making conditions, 37 percent of all deals in 2012 consisted of an RIA entering into a "one-off" transaction with another RIA or an RIA making a series of acquisitions. These types of deals were typically driven by a desire to gain one of four strategic objectives: achieve economies of scale, access a new geographic or segment market, bring in new skills and experience, or enable a succession in ownership.

"The biggest trend in M&A is same-model marriages— RIAs rolling into other RIAs instead of into consolidators," said Mark Tibergien, chief executive officer of Pershing Advisor Solutions. "Three big reasons why this will be a boon— the economics of these deals, the economies of scale that they create and the doors these opportunities open to all."

The Real Deals Trend Report offers strategic advice and key considerations to achieve synergies and create competitive advantages through RIA to RIA transactions, including:

  • Realizing the benefits of scale—Joining forces should provide opportunities to generate economies of scale. Some of the key elements to consider are the management of the human capital of the combined entity, implementing "best of" operational processes and technology to drive growth and profitability and the development of a cohesive marketing strategy to identify cross-sell opportunities.
  • Gaining access to a new market—A merger or acquisition can accelerate market penetration by expanding a firm's geographic or industry footprint. Owners should consider the barriers to entry, setup costs, as well as operational, marketing and human capabilities that may enable growth organically. If a merger or acquisition is the best way to access a new market, advisors should quantify the financial benefit of expansion for shareholders and define a clear integration plan.
  • Acquiring new skills or capabilities—Prior to considering a deal, advisors should identify current capability gaps and calculate how the cost of hiring or training and developing desired capabilities internally would impact profitability and deliver new skills and capabilities. The benefit of a merger or acquisition should be assessed by comparing these costs and quantifying the value of increased share of wallet per client, expanded offerings and greater appeal with prospects.
  • Effect a succession in ownership—Advisory firm leaders should consider all viable alternatives before pursuing a succession-focused deal. Internal succession options should be assessed, such as recruiting a future successor into the firm or selling the firm outright. To move forward with a succession-oriented transaction, owners should identify what they want in a successor, reach an agreement regarding the succession plan with the other party and develop strategies for the exiting owners to continue to enhance the firm's performance and value.

"The rewards linked to transacting with another RIA are compelling," Tibergien added. "If done right, advisory firms can become more competitive, enhance profitability, accelerate growth and increase flexibility related to ownership succession. However, owners must be meticulous in their planning in order for this type of deal to yield rewards. In general, the greater the upfront investment in deliberate planning, the greater return you deliver to shareholders."

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