Mercer Global Advisors Inc., a serial RIA acquirer, said today that it had bought Andesa Financial Management Inc., a wealth management firm in Allentown, Pa., with 260 clients and about $330 million in assets under management.

Andesa is an SEC-registered firm that was founded in 2004 by a team including current principal and chief compliance officer Paul C. Barbehenn. Another principal, Michael Baittinger, joined in 2006. Barbehenn and Baittinger are two of the firm’s three primary owners, according to the firm’s form ADV, which lists five employees and says the firm custodies at Raymond James.

The ADV says the firm offers investment advisory and financial planning services to individuals, trusts, estates, charitable organizations and corporations. The firm offers investment advisory services on its own on a discretionary basis and also uses accounts such as unified managed accounts under Raymond James’ Freedom account program.

“We were looking for ways to add additional services to our clients while off-loading onerous back-office responsibilities,” Barbehenn said in a press release. “Mike and I had known about Mercer Advisors through other Raymond James firms that had joined Mercer Advisors, and our consultant Christian Williams of Williams Private Wealth Advisory & Consulting also recommended them. Thereafter, we met with David Barton, Mercer Advisors’ vice chairman who leads mergers and acquisitions. Their comprehensive ‘family office’ approach to client care with in-house services like estate planning, tax consultation and tax return preparation, etc., adds the depth and breadth of service we were looking to bolt on, while allowing me and my team to offload burdensome back-office work so that we can focus on what is most important—our clients.”

Mercer belongs to an elite class of RIA firm consolidators that also includes Wealth Enhancement Group and Creative Planning, according to consulting firm DeVoe & Co., which listed Mercer as the top acquirer in 2022. A Mercer spokesperson said the firm closed 18 deals in 2022 with acquired AUM of $11 billion.

“Consolidators were responsible for 55% of 2022 acquisitions of RIAs with less than $1 billion in AUM and 38% of RIAs with more than $1 billion in AUM,” said DeVoe in its fourth quarter “Deal Book” report. DeVoe noted in a couple of follow-up reports, however, that deal activity slowed down in the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first two months of 2023.

Mercer said it has closed two deals so far this year and has letters of intent for six others. In January, Mercer announced the purchase of Kimberly Foss’s firm Empyrion Wealth Management, in Rosehill, Calif.  Foss’s firm reported $250 million in assets under management.

David Barton, Mercer’s vice chairman, led the acquisition of Andesa.

“Paul and Michael are highly credentialed planners and have built a very respected business with a deep bench of talent. For Mercer Advisors, the addition of Andesa’s talented team to our service ranks is the most valuable asset of the transaction,” Barton said.

Dave Welling, Mercer’s CEO, said, “The business combination between Mercer Advisors and Andesa is a perfect cultural fit with both firms anchoring on financial planning. We are thrilled they are joining the Mercer Advisors team and bolstering our significant presence in Pennsylvania and the Eastern region. We look forward to working together to help deliver meaningful results for our shared clients.”