Registered investment advisors were the leading acquirers in M&A deals in 2014 for the second year in a row, according to Schwab Advisor Services’ semiannual report, released Tuesday.
In 2014, 54 transactions were completed, the same number as in 2013. The average deal size last year increased by 9%, to an average of $878 million. And total assets under management acquired in 2014 grew to $47 billion from $44 billion the year before.
M&A activity peaked in the second quarter at 16 deals, tapering off to 10 deals in the fourth quarter.
The report said RIAs and strategic acquiring firms represented the majority of deals, at 41% and 38%, respectively. These buyers led acquisition activity in 2013 as well.
Buyers in 2014 also included banks, at 6%, international acquirers, at 4%, and other entities, at 11%.
“It remains a seller’s market for RIAs, and the industry is in a position of strength as firms grow in value and more advisors and acquirers continue to be drawn to the independent model,” Jonathan Beatty, a senior vice president at Schwab Advisor Services, said in a statement.