WSR Names M&A 5: Top Wealth Management M&A Investment Bankers

Julius Buchanan, Editor in Chief, Wealth Solutions Report

WSR Recognizes Excellence In Industry Service And Leadership Of Banking Veterans From Berkshire, DeVoe, Oppenheimer, Republic And ECHELON

Wealth management M&A continues to advance briskly. According to DeVoe & Company’s latest RIA Deal Book Alert, “RIA M&A activity regained its footing in the third quarter, after a slower pace for the last nine months.”

As we previously reported from the Future Proof Festival, Katie Bruner, President of SkyView Partners, said that one of the largest misconceptions is that financing for M&A will slow due to higher interest rates, noting that she sees strength in deal multiples and financing requests from firms for the foreseeable future.

Wealth management M&A is integral to the industry’s long-term future and the people moving M&A forward behind the scenes are a tireless group, burning the midnight oil and bringing decades of in-depth experience to bear to facilitate transactions for our industry.

Among the highly talented veteran investment bankers leading wealth management M&A, we selected an elite group with broad industry recognition, topflight reputations, demonstrated dedication to wealth management, and powerful and positive impacts across our industry.

The names below are set out alphabetically. Please join us in congratulating the M&A 5: Top Wealth Management M&A Investment Bankers.

Bruce Cameron, Partner And CEO, Berkshire Global Advisors

Bruce Cameron, Partner & CEO, Berkshire Global Advisors

Bruce Cameron co-founded Berkshire Capital Corporation, the predecessor of Berkshire Global Advisors, in 1983 with H. Bruce McEver to provide investment banking services to the investment management and securities industries. With over 35 years of industry experience, he co-leads the firm’s Wealth Management practice and has advised on M&A transactions raging across the mutual fund, real estate and institutional sectors.

Cameron also served as Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of HF2 Financial, Co-Founder and Chairman of Highbury Financial, and at Paine Webber and Prudential Insurance.

A CFA charterholder and member of the CFA Institute, Cameron also is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute and previously served on the board of the New York Society of Security Analysts.

Addressing the current state of wealth management M&A, Cameron said that it “is holding up very well, particularly by comparison to other sectors. But the interest is now less about simple volume and more about meeting specific strategic needs, whether it is complementary capabilities, expertise with certain client categories, filling a geographic need or unique client services or investment offerings.”

“The market is becoming sophisticated, increasingly recognizing that value is created by organic growth, not just volume,” he added.

David DeVoe, CEO And Founder, DeVoe & Company

David DeVoe, CEO & Founder, DeVoe & Company

With 25 years of experience in RIA M&A, David DeVoe launched and operated a platform to help advisors with M&A and succession planning in the business strategy group of Charles Schwab Advisor Services for over eight years before founding DeVoe & Company, which now boasts a staff of 25.

Leading DeVoe & Company since 2011, DeVoe emphasizes that parties to an M&A transaction should connect with the best partner and receive the highest valuation. He works with clients to achieve clarity about life and business goals in order to determine which buyer may be the best fit.

DeVoe has spoken at over 30 industry events in the past year. His firm hosts two well-known events, the DeVoe M&A+ Succession Summit and DeVoe Elevate, and produces both quarterly reports on RIA M&A activity and an annual RIA M&A outlook survey.

Venturing a prediction of RIA M&A activity for 2024, DeVoe’s firm forecasts a record year. “Although 2023 is likely to be the first ‘down year’ following nine record years, we anticipate that next year will bounce back.”

To produce its quarterly and annual reports, the firm tracks every transaction of at least $100 million in assets under management, which have shown declines for three consecutive quarters. DeVoe stated, “Although the high interest rates will dampen activity for the mid-term (especially from PE-backed acquirers), the upward pressure of aging founders and interest in scale will drive activity 10-20% above 2023 numbers.”

Gilbert Dychiao, Managing Director And Head Of Financial Institutions Investment Banking, Oppenheimer & Co.

Gilbert Dychiao, Managing Director & Head Of Financial Institutions Investment Banking, Oppenheimer & Co.

Gilbert Dychiao has over two decades of experience as a wealth and asset management M&A specialist, advising institutional clients on strategic and financing transactions. At Oppenheimer & Co. for almost six years, he previously served as a Managing Director at Freeman & Co., a Director at Credit Suisse, and in various roles at HSBC Holdings.

Oppenheimer’s Wealth & Asset Management investment banking group’s product expertise includes M&A sell-side and buy-side advisory, fairness opinions, valuations, SPAC mergers and capital markets advisory, with a focus on RIAs, broker-dealers and wealthtech, among others.

The team has executed over 100 M&A transactions, including advising Foresters Financial on the sale of its U.S. broker-dealer and advisory business to Cetera Financial, advising Simplicity Group on its acquisition of Sawtooth Solutions, advising Kingswood Acquisition Corp. on its business combination with Wentworth Management Services and serving as sole dealer manager on Alvarium Tiedemann’s warrant exchange offering.

Speaking on the need to attract and retain talent, Dychiao says, “Wealth management is a high growth and fragmented industry with robust M&A activity, which requires us to thoughtfully attract, nurture and retain top talent to ensure we stay relevant to our clients’ evolving needs.”

He continued, “In the Financial Institutions Group, we foster a culture built on collaboration, problem solving and meritocracy to promote active engagement from each team member and encourage professional growth and development at each step of a project. We have found this approach to enhance both the quality of our talent as well as the outcomes for our clients.”

Peter Nesvold, Partner, Republic Capital Group, And Founder And Managing Partner, Nesvold Capital Partners

Peter Nesvold, Partner, Republic Capital Group, And Founder & Managing Partner, Nesvold Capital Partners

With over 25 years of experience in the asset and wealth management industries, Peter Nesvold is a lawyer, CPA and CFA charterholder in addition to being an investment banker. In his role at Republic Capital Group, Nesvold advises CEOs of asset and wealth management firms on mergers, capital raises, acquisitions, succession plans and strategic advisory assignments. Republic transacted more than $50 billion in client assets in 2022.

Prior to Republic, Nesvold served as a Partner at Silver Lane Advisors for almost a decade, an investment bank that was sold in 2019. He also founded Nesvold Capital Partners in 2020, which makes minority investments in asset and wealth management firms. Its current portfolio companies include Pure Financial, XY Planning, Republic Capital, Stratos Wealth and Pathstone Family Office.

Nesvold is also an Adjunct Professor of corporate finance at Fordham and a Fellow at the Gabelli Center for Global Security Analysis. He has published four books on M&A and previously served on the Board of Directors of the CFA Society New York.

Dan Seivert, CEO And Managing Partner, ECHELON Partners

Dan Seivert, CEO & Managing Partner, ECHELON Partners

Dan Seivert founded ECHELON Partners in 2001, which has completed over 400 investment banking projects, and has worked in private equity, investment banking, M&A law and investment management in a career spanning over three decades. ECHELON provides advisory services for wealthtech firms, TAMPs, wealth managers and asset managers.

Prior to founding ECHELON, Seivert was one of the initial principals at Lovell Minnick Partners, contributing to investments of over $100 million in private capital across 15 firms. He began in the financial sector as a buy-side analyst at The Capital Group.

In 2022, ECHELON served as exclusive financial advisor to Signature Estate & Investment Advisors in its sale to Reverence Capital Partners, which was a $16 billion transaction including both a hybrid RIA and a TAMP. In 2021, the firm advised Bainco International investors in its sale to Cerity Partners.

Also in 2022, the firm acted as exclusive sell-side advisor to Vestmark in the process that resulted in it selling Adhesion Wealth to AssetMark, which put the industry’s second largest model marketplace on AssetMark’s platform.

ECHELON recently hosted the 11th annual Deals and Dealmakers Summit, the largest to date. Describing the event, Seivert said, “The summit boasted a record-breaking Ask the Experts Session, where experts conducted 160+ one-on-one meetings with attendees. Speakers, including leading industry CEOs, private equity investors, and legal professionals imparted valuable insight to the attendees.”

He continued, “This year’s summit was the first to feature three live debates covering topics including business model design, deal structuring and valuation, and key legal negotiation points.”

Julius Buchanan, Editor in Chief at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at jbuchanan@wealthsolutionsreport.com.

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