A lack of succession planning and rising valuations are partly responsible for the continuation of record breaking numbers of mergers and acquisitions in the financial industry through November, according to Fidelity.

Fidelity released its mergers and acquisitions report for transactions through the end of November today and the study revealed M&A activity is continuing an upward climb that has been going on for years.

During November, there were 10 RIA transactions representing $20 billion in assets. November of last year saw the same number of transactions, but AUM involved this year is up from the $17 billion of 2018.

There were 116 RIA transactions in 2019 through November, up from 85 for the first 11 months of 2018, a 36% increase. Likewise, AUM involved in the transactions rose to $146 billion from $109 billion, a 34% increase.

In the independent broker-dealer channel, transactions also climbed higher.

Year-to-date, there have been 11 independent broker-dealer transactions representing $628.7 billion in assets under administration. The same time period in 2018 had eight transactions for the first 11 months representing $453 billion in assets under administration. In 2017, there were six transactions for this time period representing $170.7 billion in assets under administration.

Two of the largest deals were Advisor Group’s purchase of Ladenburg Thalmann, representing $181.1 billion in AUA, and the purchase of Western International Securities by private equity-backed Atria Wealth Solutions, representing $13 billion in AUA.

“In both wealth management segments, the pressure for firms to scale and the pervasiveness of prepared buyers who hold significant capital in a low interest rate environment continues to fuel the record transaction activity,” Fidelity said. “For RIAs, this tension is intensified by rising valuations and a lack of succession planning in some firms.”