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Growing RIA Grabs $160M Group in SoCal

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RIA Mercer Advisors says it has wrapped up another acquisition, adding a wealth management team with $160 million of assets.

Duckworth Wealth Advisors of Newport Beach, California, includes founder Michael Duckworth, CPA; Mark Doran, CPA; Kara Duckworth, CFP; and Elizabeth deSouza, CFP.

“Duckworth is a wonderful and complementary fit to our national family office and greatly expands our Southern California footprint,” said Mercer CEO David Barton, in a statement.

“This acquisition is the sixth transaction we have completed in the last year, which is representative of a rapidly consolidating industry and the attractiveness of our business model — a Mayo Clinic approach to financial care,” Barton said.

Santa Barbara, California-based Mercer has some $9.6 billion in assets under management and 6,400 clients. In January, the RIA bought Novos Planning Associates of New York, an RIA with some $100 million in assets.

With 23 offices, Mercer is one of the largest independent family-office RIAs in the nation, according to the firm.

“Our partnership with Mercer allows us to continue our focus on holistically serving clients, a culture we share with Mercer. Mercer will play an important role in supporting our continued growth and scale while further strengthening our ability to meet the current and future needs of our clients,” Duckworth said in a statement.

In a recent wealth management M&A study, Fidelity found there were 104 transactions representing nearly $67.1 billion in assets under management in 2016. Strategic acquirers accounted for 37 of those transactions, with RIA acquirers accounting for 31 deals and banks doing nine deals.


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