Episode 199: M&A Talk with Leading RIA Aggregators and Integrators: Introduction with Corey Kupfer
On Wednesday’s episode of the DealQuest Podcast, I discussed attending two RIA M&A conferences, and how I felt inspired to create a special series on the DealQuest Podcast dedicated only to the topic of the different deal models and structures of the top RIA aggregators and integrators.
Well, folks, this is the beginning of that series. On Fridays, I will be bringing in leaders of the top RIA aggregators and integrators. After all, 91% of all these deals happening now are mainly being done by these private equity-funded firms.
WHAT IS AN RIA (A QUICK INTRO FOR THOSE NOT IN THE SPACE)
For those in the DealQuest community less familiar with what an RIA is, it stands for “Registered Investment Advisor”. A Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) is a firm that provides wealth management and related services to individuals and institutions.. Unlike at brokerage firms, it is the independent RIA advisors have a fiduciary duty to always and only provide advice that is in the best interest of their clients. Some other responsibilities of an RIA:
- Financial planning
- Retirement planning
- Estate planning
- Investment management
- Debt repayment
AGGREGATOR AND INTEGRATOR
I’m sure you’ve heard me use these terms on the DealQuest Podcast plenty of times. These are also terms used readily in not just the RIA space, but other industries, as well. So, what are they?
There is a difference between “aggregator” and “integrator”, and not everyone falls under one label or the other.
A pure integrator model is where a firm comes in and buys your firm with the goal of usually rebranding under the buyer’s brand. Some perks of using an RIA integrator:
- One brand
- One tech stack
- One ADV in the RIA industry
- Often a closer-knit community with the intent to scale more quickly
The expectation is, through integration, focusing solely on building the one brand and building equity, enterprise value, and scale within the one brand.
Whereas aggregators come in, buy your firm, but generally allow you to keep your branding. This can be done through co-ownership or being a separate entity. Some of the purported perks of aggregators include:
- Not having to sell your branding under the buyer’s name
- May also have more flexibility on tech choices, not being locked into a tech stack
- You may potentially have more control over decisions
Our discussions will also cover how, sometimes, the aggregator and integrator models can be combined. In fact, some firms believe the best way to build a better deal is by combining what they perceive as the most advantageous features of both models.
THE RIA SERIES
This series aims to provide RIA firms and advisors who are considering selling or just want to understand the landscape better, the opportunity to hear directly from the leaders of many of the most active aggregators and integrators in the RIA industry. Some of these topics include, but certainly will not be limited to:
- Discussing their different models
- Why is one model better than another
- Who their capital partner are
- Whom they’re looking to target
- The deals they have done
- What their future plans are
- What might be the best fit for you, the listener
- Overall, what’s going on in the industry now
By providing you with this series, I want you, as a potential seller or someone looking to understand the various options available for any other reason, to have access to the ideas and principles that underlie top aggregators and integrators and to get access to the visions and plans of the leaders of each of these firm, allowing you to evaluate them individually and easily compare them to each other.. I want you to be able to comprehend what some of the best firms and dealmakers did to establish themselves as industry leaders and how that may benefit you by either doing a deal with these leaders or emulating their approaches for your own independent greater success.
Ultimately, although directed most specifically to the RIA industry, this series will be valuable for those outside the RIA industry as well. You will get unique insight into a maturing industry into which significant capital is flowing but one that still has a lot of room for additional growth and evolution. . There will be a wide range of topics covered that will be applicable to many listeners from other industries. My aim is always to assist you in becoming a better dealmaker, no matter the nature of your deal.
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Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator, and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author, and professional speaker. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.
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