The Wire

July 21, 2020

Has the Pandemic Altered Valuations for RIA Firms?

About Our Episode

It’s rare that anyone outside of a few investment bankers gets to take a look at transaction data for M&A deals in the RIA industry. But the RIA Deal Room 2020 report from Advisor Growth Strategies goes “under the hood” to show how M&A has continued to shape RIAs in recent years, while also providing a first look at how the pandemic will affect transactions moving forward.

About Our Guest

Brandon Kawal has been a principal at Advisor Growth Strategies for over six years and leads client engagements, thought leadership, and research. AGS is a leading consulting firm with a client portfolio of 250+ firms that provides custom business management solutions to the nation’s top advisory firms. AGS projects include assisting RIAs with compensation and equity design, advisor in transition services, growth strategies, management support services, succession and exit planning, and transaction advisory.

July 17, 2020

Here and Now with Brandon Kawal

Brandon addresses the following questions via video:

What role does equity play in the "flight to certainty" you've seen in the industry?

Why do sellers choose certainty over long term participation?


July 16, 2020

As M&A activity ramps back up, RIAs need to bone up on the details

As the pace of merger and acquisition activity in the RIA space ramps up following a three-month pandemic-related lull, the latest concern is around a gap in understanding the nitty-gritty details of what business consolidation is all about.

“Deal structures are rapidly evolving, and the industry is too dynamic to just say, ‘I want to do M&A,’” said Brandon Kawal, principal of Advisor Growth Strategies.

July 15, 2020

Survey: Majority of RIAs Unprepared for the M&A Landslide to Come

Much of the RIA industry is not ready to approach merger and acquisition deals from a position of strength, according to The 2020 RIA Survey released by Advisor Growth Strategies, an RIA industry-leading management consulting and M&A expert.

Obtained between March and May 2020, the survey results represent a wide swath of the industry: 96 advisor firms, fee-only and hybrid, with assets under management (AUM) ranging from less than $100 million to greater than $5 billion. The survey reveals an industry worried about growth and next-generation talent, but intimidated by the complexity of the M&A landscape.

July 14, 2020

RIA M&A: Cash Deal Now or Opportunity Later?

After the year we’ve had so far, not many of us would say no to some more stability in our lives. That counts double for the RIA industry. A graying workforce weighs its options for exit plans, and the pressure to compete makes inorganic growth an attractive prospect. After spending hours combing through the terms of dozens of M&A transactions for our annual RIA Deal Room Report, I realized buyers and sellers last year showed a greater hunger than ever for the perceived safety of cash deals.

From 2015 to 2018, cash made up 47% of the average acquisition. Last year, it leaped to 70%, and we expect cash will play a significant role in deals to come. The flight to certainty is real, but is it the whole story? And what does it mean for the future of M&A in our industry? 

June 29, 2020

How RIA Owners Tick Off Their Teams

THE INDEPENDENT ADVISORY FIRM’S SUCCESSION PROCESS was working out great: A next-generation advisor had become the majority shareholder and titular head of the company as planned. There was just one problem—the founder continued working at the firm, actively making decisions, offering guidance when approached by staffers, and, in the process, undermining the new owner.

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