Schwab Advisor Services says fewer RIA mergers and acquisitions took place in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period last year, but the average assets under management acquired in those transactions jumped dramatically.

In the first half of 2012, 25 RIA deals were consummated and totaled more than $36 billion in assets under management. In the same period in 2011, a total of 27 deals closed with AUM of more than $20.8 billion acquired.

“RIA M&A deal flow has remained steady during the first half of 2012, recording just slightly fewer transactions than the same period last year,” Jon Beatty, senior vice president, sales and relationship management at Schwab Advisor Services, said in a statement. “While the second quarter slowed a bit in terms of the number of completed transactions, we’ve seen a big jump in the average deal size so far this year, indicating the overall strength of the RIA segment.”

Most recently, NetWise LLC, a unit of LPL Financial, on July 10 said it would acquire Veritat Advisors, a full-service RIA that uses a proprietary online financial planning platform for advisors serving the mass market. Financial terms of the deal, which will close in the third quarter, were not disclosed.

In April, Savant Capital Management and The Monitor Group, two independent fee-only RIAs, announced a merger that will have 10 offices sprinkled across Wisconsin, Virginia and Florida. The newly created Savant Capital LLC will manage more than $2.7 billion in assets.

And in March, Affiliated Managers of Boston announced it would take a majority stake in Veritable, a Pennsylvania-based wealth manager with more than $10 billion in assets and the third-largest RIA in Financial Planning’s 2012 list of the Top 50 RIAs.

The Schwab report said that only eight RIA mergers or acquisitions were announced in the second quarter, totaling more than $12.3 billion in assets under management – a significant drop-off from the frenzied first quarter when a total of 17 deals – with more almost $24 billion in assets under management acquired – were brokered.


For the first six months of the year, the 25 unions averaged more than $1.4 billion in AUM.

The Schwab data focuses on investment advisory firms that predominantly serve high-net-worth retail investors, firms with at least $50 million in AUM and breakaway brokers from wirehouses who received consideration for joining an RIA. Schwab began tracking M&A transactions in 2004.

Larry Barrett writes for Financial Planning.