RIA Valuation Insights

A weekly update on issues important to the Asset Management industry


Lean on Me: Active Managers Combine to Stem the Tide of Fleeting Assets

Albeit unlikely that Bill Withers was alluding to the plight of active management in his 1972 hit solo, it does appear to be an apt descriptor for recent dealmaking in the RIA sector. Standard Life’s $4.7 billion purchase of Aberdeen Asset Management earlier this month follows shareholder pressure to right the ship after years of significant underperformance from both firms. The market seems less convinced.

An All-Terrain Clause for your RIA’s Buy-Sell Agreement

Clients writing new buy-sell agreements or re-writing existing ones frequently ask us how often they should have their RIA valued. Like most things in life, it depends. We usually recommend having a firm valued annually, and most of our clients usually do just that. “Usually,” though, is subject to many specific considerations.

Looking through the Buffett Brouhaha: The Oracle Still Believes in Human Innovation

Since I gave up politics for Lent this year, I’ve had more time to keep up with the deeper recesses of the financial press, which led me to Warren Buffett’s annual letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett’s prose is a literary genre unto itself; a remarkably plain-spoken approach to making even the most complex and dull aspects of investment management simple and entertaining. If all “management letters” were penned as well, shareholders might actually read them. Perhaps that’s why they aren’t.

Q4 Call Reports

As we do every quarter, we take a look at some of the earnings commentary of pacemakers in asset management to gain further insight into the challenges and opportunities developing in the industry.

Investment Manager Pricing Takes the Scenic Route

Smaller public RIAs started and ended 2016 as a pack, but for about eight months performance was anything but similar. In what I can best describe as a wild ride to a close finish, at one point in July of 2016 Cohen & Steers (CNS) was up nearly 40% while Virtus Investment Partners (VRTS) was down over 30%. Seventy point divergences don’t happen very often, especially considering that, by Christmas of last year, the same spread narrowed to less than eight points.

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