After an 18-month courtship, Moss Adams Wealth Advisors has acquired the San Diego-based wealth management firm Rowling, Dold & Associates (RDA). The merger, effective Jan. 1, boosts the assets under management of Seattle-based Moss Adams to more than $1 billion.

Rebecca Pomering, chief executive officer of Moss Adams Wealth Advisors, said the move was part of a growth strategy shared by both firms. For RDA, Moss Adams offers a much bigger platform with access to a dedicated support team and other resources. For Moss Adams, RDA offers a presence in San Diego, one of several major metropolitan cities where the firm is looking to expand.

“We had been serving clients in San Diego from an office in L.A., but to have someone on the ground to help us grow and move forward is really important,” Pomering said in an interview. “We have been growing organically, but we would like to grow faster in some markets.”

Pomering first met with Sheryl Rowling, managing partner of RDA, 18 months ago. The two women didn’t spend 18 months negotiating financial terms, but rather discussed their firms’ growth strategies and other goals. Rowling, who brings with her a four-person office, joins Moss Adams as a partner. Pomering notes that Rowling is joining a firm with an infrastructure four times the size of RDA’s.

“Small business owners are doing payroll on their dining room tables on Sunday nights,” Pomering says. “We can take care of that for her.”

Moss Adams is now turning its expansion sights to Portland, Ore., where it is looking for either an established firm or a successful advisory firm. Finding the right fit can turn out to be a slow process, according to Pomering.

“I have seen a lot of dislocation among brokers, but really strong independent RIAs are harder to come by,” she says. “There are probably some fire-sale firms out there looking to merge out of financial desperation, but we’re not interested in those.”

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