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Mercer Advisors Snaps Up AL Hewitt

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Denver-based RIA Mercer Global Advisors acquired AL Hewitt, an RIA based in Camarillo, California, that serves about 120 clients with assets under management of $100 million, Mercer said Monday.

The privately held Mercer didn’t say how much it paid and declined to provide the price. But a company spokesman said the acquisition is expected to close Dec. 15.

The addition of Hewitt boosts Mercer’s already strong presence in California to nine offices serving about 3,200 clients with almost $5 billion in assets under management, making Mercer one of the largest RIAs in that state alone, it said.

The Hewitt acquisition, meanwhile, increases Mercer’s total number of offices to 45 across the U.S., its employee count to 390 people after picking up nine from Hewitt including its owners, and expands its total AUM to about $17 billion, it said. No job cuts are planned, and Hewitt’s staff will remain in their existing roles, the spokesman said.

Hewitt also operates a tax return business that prepares more than 4,000 tax returns annually, with all financial advisory clients also receiving tax advice with tax return preparation, Mercer said.

Hewitt presented Mercer with a “strong value proposition by delivering integrated tax, investment management, and financial planning to its clients,” Mercer said.

Alan and Josette Hewitt, both certified financial planners and enrolled agents, started A.V. Tax and Business Services in 1990 and Alan Hewitt founded AL Hewitt in 2006.

“Alan, Josette and the entire Hewitt team are a great fit for Mercer on multiple levels,” according to Dave Welling, Mercer CEO. “They share our conviction in delivering a truly comprehensive solution to our clients including financial planning, investments, tax and estate planning,” he said in a statement, adding: “The Hewitt team deepens our significant presence in California as well as our tax expertise.”

The Hewitts received “lots of interest in our firm” and “there was no shortage of potential buyers,” they said in a statement. After meeting with Dave Barton, Mercer vice chairman and M&A leader, “the choice was clear — Mercer Advisors was the perfect fit for us.”

“Barton addressed all our questions and concerns including painting an exciting picture of what the future holds for our team and clients,” the Hewitts said, adding there were “three primary deal criteria and the firm that best answered those questions (and verified through due diligence) would be our new partner.” First, the companies had to “share the same business values and put clients’ interests first,” the Hewitts said. “Second, the purchase price and terms needed to be fair and competitive” and, last, the Hewitt staff “would not only be taken care of but also have career path opportunities beyond what” the Hewitts could offer, they said, adding Mercer passed the “test with flying colors.”

“Our family office business model, launched in 2013, has been a huge success and allows Mercer Advisors to stand out in a crowded RIA market and this uniqueness set us apart from other buyers and made Mercer Advisors the right fit for Hewitt,” according to Barton. “The value add of providing in-house estate planning, tax return reparation, and corporate trustee advisory services allows our clients to receive fully integrated financial care with different subject matter experts working together — side by side,” he said in a statement. Hewitt’s RIA and tax practice “seamlessly integrates into our business model and provides significant lift to our tax capability,” he said, adding the transaction represents a “great outcome for all parties.”

— Check out RIA Selling Is Soaring, and Here’s Why on ThinkAdvisor.


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