ECHELON Q1 2023 RIA M&A Report: Deals Bounce Back, PE Firms Surge

Chris Latham, Deputy Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

Quarterly Wealth Management M&A Deal Volume Increases For The First Time Since Q4 2021 As Deal Valuations And Private Equity Activity Surge, According To ECHELON

This week ECHELON Partners released its Q1 2023 RIA M&A Deal Report on the state of mergers and acquisitions. It revealed that quarterly wealth management M&A deal volume increased for the first time since Q4 2021, as deal valuations and private equity activity surged.

“Buyer demand and seller supply remained strong to begin 2023, propelled by the sustained momentum of long-term secular trends that continue to drive dealmaking activity,” according to the report. “With interest rates and the cost of capital higher we expect buyers to continue to fill any funding gap with incremental equity, earnouts, and cash on hand.”

Here are some of the key findings:

Dan Seivert, Managing Partner and CEO, ECHELON

1. The first quarter of 2023 experienced 75 M&A deals, down from 94 deals the same period a year ago in Q1 2022 but up from 73 deals in Q4 2022. That quarterly growth is better than the 5% drop in deals that occurred from Q4 2021 to Q1 2022. Although Q1 2021 had 76 deals, Q1 2023 still had many more deals than the first quarters of 2018 to 2020 when volume remained below 50 transactions. The report projects a 7.6% full-year decrease in volume relative to 2022.

2. ECHELON reported that the average assets under management (AUM) per transaction was $1.8 billion in Q1 2023, excluding transactions over $20 billion. This represents an 11.6% increase in average AUM transacted year-on-year. The Q1 2023 figure also is 12.5% better than full-year 2022, when the average AUM was $1.6 billion. Although 2021 saw average AUM per transaction of nearly $2.1 billion, during 2018 to 2020 the average stayed below $1.8 billion.

3. A 7.4% compound annual growth rate of transaction AUM occurred from 2018 through Q1 2023, according to ECHELON. Approximately $1.2 trillion in total assets were transacted in Q1 2023, which is 61% of the total for full-year 2022. The report theorizes that large sellers could have been waiting for stronger equity market performance in Q4 2022 and Q1 2023 before agreeing to deal pricing and making announcements.

4. Financial sponsors such as private equity firms were involved – either directly or indirectly – in 77.3% of all transactions in Q1 2023, when PE firms made direct investments totaling approximately $505.8 billion, which is more than in full-year 2022, ECHELON found. This quarter featured direct investments in major firms such as Clayton, Dublier, & Rice taking Focus Financial private and Harvest Partners taking a minority stake in Mercer Advisors.

For more information, download the full report here.

Chris Latham, Deputy Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at

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