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Mercer adds $510M RIA to growing roster

In a deal emblematic of an industry M&A trend toward buying mid-sized firms, Mercer Advisors, the private-equity backed RIA aggregator, acquired a $510 million practice serving high-net-worth clients.

The acquisition of Jackson Financial Management is Mercer’s third this year and its 22nd since 2016, when it started a string of purchases that has added $7.1 billion in assets under management.

After purchasing Jackson, Mercer now has five offices in the region with combined AUM approaching $4 billion. Nationwide, it manages more than $16 billion across 41 offices. The Denver, Colorado-based company was acquired in 2015 by Genstar Capital.

Mercer's shopping spree - Mercer acquisitions -  iag-gd-mercerbuysjackson-201906

Winning the approval of Jackson Financial’s founder, Tracy Jackson, took time, says Dave Barton, head of mergers and acquisitions at Mercer. The firm’s average acquisition in the last several years has taken an average of seven months, he says, while the deal with Jackson took 15.

“Tracy put us through our paces,” Barton said in a statement announcing the deal. “His concern was that we were so big we lost the personal touch,” he added in an interview.

“I didn’t want anybody selling any product,” says Jackson, who founded the firm in 1995 and now serves around 200 client households. He found that “our culture matched up very well” with Mercer’s.

Joining Mercer “will free me up a little more time to spend with clients,” says Jackson. It will also give the team in-house access to the family-office services that Jackson Financial had previously needed to outsource, says Barton.

In return Mercer gets more AUM, revenue, clients and advisors and a larger footprint in the asset-rich Southern California market.

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