M and A

US Wealth Manager Makes Further Acquisition

Tom Burroughes Group Editor May 24, 2023

US Wealth Manager Makes Further Acquisition

The transaction, which is the 19th that Merit has made since December 2020, is part of a continued M&A trend in the North American sector, even though rising interest rates have arguably cooled some of the enthusiasm.

Merit Financial Advisors, based in Atlanta, Georgia, has partnered with Planned Futures, a business based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania overseeing about $460 million in client money. 

Planned Futures provides investment management and retirement planning strategies for state employees and mass-affluent clients. The firm is led by James Arnold and John Keene, Jr, who will assume new roles at Merit as regional directors and partners. They will be joined by their team of more than 10 professionals. 

“We knew we had to find a partner with the same priorities in order to form a successful partnership,” Arnold said. “We have found this with Merit, who will provide us with the necessary back-end support and tools to fuel our growth and enable us to better serve our clients,” added Keene. 

This is Merit's 19th acquisition since taking a minority investment in December 2020 from Wealth Partners Capital Group and a group of strategic investors led by HGGC’s Aspire Holdings platform. Earlier this year, Merit acquired TFG Wealth Management, INVEX Financial, and WealthPlan, which added a total of $424 million in assets and two new offices in Pennsylvania. 

The merger was finalized on May 19, 2023. The financial and legal terms of the deals were not disclosed.

The transaction is an example of the kind of M&A activity that continues in the RIA and multi-family offices space in North America. A desire for economies of scale, to set up a succession plan, handle growing technology demands, and meet clients’ rising expectations, are forces driving this trend. This news service has examined whether rising interest rates have affected deals and will continue to do so. See here also for a story on recent trends. 

Merit, which is a national wealth management firm supporting broker-dealer and RIA models, has 40 offices and managed $8.1 billion in assets as of March 31, 2023 ($5.8 billion in advisory, $2.3 billion in brokerage assets and $63 million in assets under advisement).  

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