By Hal M. Bundrick NEW YORK ( MainStreet)--Pilots looking to make a smooth landing into retirement have an expanded resource to help navigate their financial plan. Two registered investment advisors (RIAs) have combined to form a financial consultancy specializing in serving commercial airline pilots. Smith Anglin Financial, LLC, a Dallas RIA managing $357 million in assets under management has merged with Rhoads Lucca Capital Management. The combined firms will manage nearly a half billion dollars in assets. The process began over a year ago as Rhoads Lucca, the selling firm, began a national search to locate a suitable merger partner as part of the firm's succession planning strategy. Smith Anglin was selected out of a group of 10 regional and national RIAs including 3 well known consolidators, and highlights the growing trend of RIA mergers and acquisitions. "I cannot stress enough how important it was to us to find the right fit for our practice - important for our clients, for our employees and for ourselves," says John Rhoads, partner at Rhoads Lucca. "We outlined a set of criteria that was challenging to put it mildly and frankly the choice we made in the end would have appealed to me even if I planned on remaining with the business for another 10 years versus retiring in one." Among some of the other key considerations of the deal were the retention of all Rhoads Lucca employees, the different succession objectives of the sellers, as well as the understanding of the niche airline pilot market and aviation industry as a whole. "We are proud to welcome John Rhoads, David Lucca and their team aboard as our partners, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for the business they've built serving commercial pilots," says Steve Anglin, CPA, managing partner of Smith Anglin. "The fact that we were the final choice for them among many well qualified competitors is a great honor." The combined firms assist commercial pilots from Southwest, United, Delta, USAirways/American and FedEx, among others, to plan and implement retirement strategies. Based in Dallas, the newly merged advisory will serve clients in 45 states.