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Helping Advisors Ride Wave Of Change Amid M&A, Breakaways

Tom Burroughes

3 October 2023

The pace and size of M&A deals in the North American wealth space appears holding up although with a touch of slippage as rates have risen, with more focus on quality to get transactions over the line. 

The desire among older RIAs to manage succession and business transfer is a driver of continued vigor. It is a force that Nate Lenz, CEO of the US RIA, Concurrent, understands. 

“The space will continue to consolidate into high quality firms,” Lenz told Family Wealth Report. 

Concurrent recruited about 25 advisors with $3.4 billion AuM in 2022 and has added advisor teams with $440 million AuM since announcing its transition into a muli custodial hybrid RIA, he said. Its goal is to reach $17 billion by the end of the year.

Lenz describes Concurrent as a broker/dealer affiliation, a “hybrid RIA” and platform for advisors. It has a total of $17 billion in assets , with the remaining $7 billion in a mix of fee-based and commission-based assets  

Lenz has worked at firms such as Raymond James leading its succession and acquisitions team, gaining experience of the corporate finance and M&A aspects of the sector. He also has a background in business development.

That there's plenty of M&A to keep advisors and consultants busy is not in doubt. As FWR's US correspondent, Charles Paikert noted in the summer, the pace has continued to be rapid. On one day alone, there were three major deals in one day from Mercer Global Advisors, Cerity Partners and Robertson Stephens. 

The model
“Advisors are independent contractors for Concurrent,” Lenz said.

A big driver of the Concurrent business model is the trend of breakaway teams leaving banks to join RIAs or build their own RIAs – a trend that this publication has tracked for some time.

A differentiator for the firm is the work it does in consulting to the industry. It helps wealth advisors around issues such as compensation, succession, and equity ownership, Lenz said. 

“We are very intentional in how we build our technology offering,” he said. For example, Concurrent

“All parts are fully integrated with single sign on through our Intranet site, MyConcurrent, and are designed to maintain a consistent advisor experience regardless of custody,” Lenz said. 

Lenz says Concurrent takes a different angle to the world of M&A in the space.

“A lot of firms are operating under traditional rollup models…aggressively and at scale. Our partnership model is a minority, non-controlling model. We provide cash and equity in our business in exchange for the minority stake in theirs. This creates alignment. Clients want something more personal and customizable,” he continued. “We don’t want to turn entrepreneurs into employees.”

Firms don’t use the Concurrent brand and continue using their own. “We encourage that,” he said. An advisor’s ability to differentiate themselves and to appeal to the specific niche they serve is a key driver of growth.