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Industry Spotlight > Mergers and Acquisitions

Mercer Advisors Buys $510M Florida RIA

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What You Need to Know

  • The acquisition of CFN expands Mercer’s presence in Florida and the Northeast.
  • Other recent Mercer acquisitions included Mirsky Financial Management and Precipio Wealth Management.
  • The chief executive of CFN said the best way for his firm to scale up and remain competitive was to join a bigger firm.

The RIA Mercer Global Advisors has acquired Cordasco Financial Network, an RIA in Naples, Florida, that serves more than 400 clients with combined assets under management of about $510 million, Mercer Advisors said Tuesday.

Mercer didn’t say how much it paid for CFN but said the transaction closed Dec. 31.

CFN was founded by Steve Cordasco, CEO, in 2011. The wealth management firm offers comprehensive financial planning and portfolio management to high-net-worth individuals, families and corporate clientele. CFN’s team will join Mercer.

Mercer Advisors is the parent company of Mercer Global Advisors, which is majority-owned by Oak Hill Capital and Genstar Capital. Its current client asset level is over $37 billion. The RIA, based in Denver, has over 640 employees and operates nationally through more than 60 offices across the U.S.

The acquisition of CFN expands Mercer’s presence in Florida and the Northeast, it said. Other recent Mercer acquisitions included Mirsky Financial Management, with about $320 million of AUM in Rochester, New York, and Precipio Wealth Management with about $250 million of AUM in McLean, Virginia, both announced separately in December.

‘Tax-Centric’ Planning

With a staff of retirement specialists, CPAs, insurance consultants and others, CFN’s team combines expertise in several fields to design and implement customized solutions that help guide clients toward economic success, according to Mercer.

“I’ve built an RIA firm that delivers ‘tax-centric’ financial planning advice and employs multiple CPAs to make sure client tax consequence is considered and optimized as part of their overall financial planning experience,” according to Cordasco.

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Although CFN’s business model is “successful” and “growing fast,” he said, “we lack the scale and leverage necessary to accommodate our growth with back-office responsibilities gobbling up valuable time and resources.”

Noting that he saw David Barton, Mercer vice chairman, speak at an industry conference, where he stated, “you either need to build scale, or join it, if you want to remain competitive,” Cordasco said he “decided to join it rather than build it.”

Cordasco also loved Mercer’s family office business model with in-house estate planning, tax return preparation and corporate trustee services, he said, saying that it was a “perfect fit with our business model.”

In addition, “being able to offload back-office responsibilities to Mercer Advisors will add significant excess capacity to me and my team freeing us up to service more clients, and win new ones,” he predicted.

Barton led the transaction for Mercer and called Cordasco an “entrepreneur and great leader,” adding: Steve’s talents are rare and together we’ll leverage one another’s strengths to aggressively expand our Florida presence, including his satellite offices in the Northeast where we already have a heavy office footprint.”

The transaction “adds to our culture, our expertise and our commitment to local markets,” according to Mercer CEO Dave Welling. “We look forward to working together as we strive to deliver outsized results for our clientele.”

Image: Shutterstock