http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2015/08/04/big-jump-in-advisory-firms-in-2015

Bronfman E.L. Rothschild said Tuesday that it was buying Highline Wealth Management. The combined firm should have some $3.6 billion in client assets.  

“This acquisition is another step toward our strategic goal to broaden our reach and scope of services by acquiring high-quality firms led by talented people who share our transparent, client-first approach,” Rotschild said in an online announcement about the deal.

Highline founder Neal Simon, who is based in Washington, will become CEO of the combined firm and join Bronfman E.L. Rothschild’s board of directors.

According to Rothschild, the combined firm will have nine locations in the Midwest and Northeast.

“Our clients remain our number one priority and, as a result, will keep their same advisors, custodians and investments,” the company explained. “Combining our firms gives us the ability to grow in expertise that is sophisticated and comprehensive while remaining independent. And we will now offer 401(k) services, a Bronfman E.L. Rothschild strength, on the East Coast.”

In addition, the firm says it is pleased to expand its financial planning and performance reporting capabilities and to benefit from “more advantageous pricing with custodians and other similar synergies.”

Last week, the Investment Adviser Association and National Regulatory Services released its “Evolution Revolution” study, which found that the number of advisory firms grew over 5% since the 2014 report, the largest increase in four years.

A typical Securities and Exchange Commission-registered RIA in 2015, according to the analysis, is a limited liability company in the United States with a median $332 million in regulatory assets under management. It has eight employees, serves between 26 and 100 clients and manages a median 100 accounts.

The report is based on data from Forms ADV Part 1 filed by advisors with the SEC as of April 2015. The report noted that since the 2014 report, 576 advisors withdrew their registration, while 1,154 new advisors registered with the SEC for a total of 11,473 firms.

The total number of clients served by the industry is now nearly 30 million, a nearly 7% increase since 2014, and advisors are managing a total of $66.7 trillion in aggregate regulatory assets under management. Discretionary assets increased by over $4 trillion from 2014, and nondiscretionary assets increased by just under $1 trillion.

Danielle Andrus contributed to this report.