Mercer Advisors adds $364M RIA in its third deal of 2018

Mercer pushes total assets over $12 billion as it expands presence in the Southeast.

Feb 13, 2018 @ 1:54 pm

By Jeff Benjamin

Mercer Advisors has pushed its assets under management above the $12 billion mark with its latest acquisition of Clearwater, Fla.-based GFS Private Wealth.

GFS, which has $364 million under management, represents the third acquisition this year for Mercer Advisors, the parent company of Mercer Global Advisors based in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The addition of GFS gives Mercer a stronger foothold in the southeastern U.S. market as well as additional resources for family office and estate planning services, according to Daniel Seivert, founder and CEO of Echelon Partners.

"This is a great pickup for Mercer, because Florida is a great market," he said. "This will give them access to some higher-net-worth clients."

David Barton, Mercer vice chairman in charge of M&A activity, said the GFS business model "mirrors ours in that they officer family office services geared toward high-net-worth families seeking a one-stop solution to all their financial needs."

He added that the deal also helps address the industry's talent shortage by folding in GFS founders Greg Willsey and Sandra Nesbit.

Adding the duo's "leadership and financial planning acumen to our organization is extremely valuable," Mr. Barton said. "This is true of their entire team which, together with our Tampa office, presents a formidable opportunity we fully intend to grow."

David DeVoe, managing director of DeVoe & Co., said the Mercer platform is "attractive to advisers in today's environment."

"Firms that attach their caboose to the Mercer train immediately benefit from the power of a $12 billion RIA," he said. "With access to a broad set of capabilities and services, clients should be sticker and the sales process with prospects should be easier."

Mr. DeVoe added that the Mercer deal brings to 20 the total number of RIA transactions so far this year, which compares to 16 at the same point last year.

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