Large registered investment advisors predict that consolidation in the financial services industry will have accelerated in the year ended June 2015, according to a survey by TD Ameritrade Institutional released Thursday.
Seventy-two percent of RIAs think deal activity will have increased, including 10 percent who expect a significant increase. Forty-three percent said they were making or considering an aquisition of one firm this year, while 47 percent said they are not considering an acquisition. The remainder see themselves acquiring two or more firms.
The survey was taken in June and asked RIAs what they anticipating in the next year, from June 2014 to June 2015. The survey included responses from 72 RIAs with an average of $1 billion or more in client assets.
Half of the RIAs expect succession plans to be the primary reason for mergers, while 35 percent believe achieving scalability will be the main driver of consolidation, the survey says.
The survey results show that larger RIAs view mergers and acquisitions as an important element of a broader, long-term growth strategy, TD Ameritrade says.
“Advisors are eager to continue expanding, but there is intense competition for new clients, and organic growth by itself takes time. Acquiring an RIA firm or adding advisor teams can be an important part of a comprehensive business development strategy for both buyers and sellers,” says Pete Dorsey, managing director of sales at TD Ameritrade Institutional.
Another source of growth is the continuing flow of advisors from broker-dealers to the independent RIA space, according to TD Ameritrade. The trend, which accelerated in the wake of the financial crisis, is expected to continue and even increase, according to respondents. Twenty percent say they expect to add new talent from independent broker-dealers while 10 percent anticipate adding advisors from wirehouses.