RIA Valuation Insights

A weekly update on issues important to the Investment Management industry

Category

Asset Management


Industry Trends Wealth Management

Asset / Wealth Management Stocks See Mixed Performance During Third Quarter

After a Strong Summer, Public Asset Managers See Stock Prices Dip as Market Pulls Back in September

RIA stocks saw mixed performance during the third quarter amidst volatile performance in the broader market. In September, the S&P 500 had its worst month since March 2020, and many publicly traded asset and wealth management stocks followed suit.

In this week’s post, we illustrate what this means for your RIA and give a prediction on the outlook of the RIA industry.

Current Events Industry Trends

“Permanent” Capital Providers Offer a Different Type of RIA Investor

Beginning With No End in Mind

The rise of “permanent capital” providers is both in response to and appropriate for the current environment of premium entrance multiples in the RIA space. While making a permanent capital investment doesn’t eliminate the depressive effects of current valuations on returns, it does help to mitigate them.

Absent self-imposed pressure to generate an exit within the foreseeable future, RIA investors can focus on opportunities for sustainable and growing distributions – the real value of investing in investment management.

Wealth Management

Asset / Wealth Management Stocks See Another Quarter of Strong Market Performance

Publicly Traded Asset / Wealth Managers See Continued Momentum Through Second Quarter as Market Backdrop Improves

On balance, the outlook for RIAs has generally improved with market conditions over the last several months. AUM has risen with the market over this time, and it’s likely that industry-wide revenue and earnings have as well. With markets near all time highs, most RIAs are well positioned for strong financial performance in the back half of the year. This week’s post details the past performance and outlook for traditional asset and wealth managers, alternative asset managers, as well as aggregators and multi-boutiques.

Transactions Wealth Management

FAIR … The F-word in RIA M&A: Part I

When Do You Need A Fairness Opinion?

Fair is often the first-four-letter word that most children learn, and it often leads to more arguments than other choice words. Although children eventually learn that life is not always fair, we spend a lot of time ensuring that major economic events are. Transactions are rarely straightforward, and as the pace of M&A activity in the investment management community continues to accelerate, more shareholders are scrutinizing both the pricing and terms of transactions. In this post (and in the next), we explain when you should consider getting a Fairness Opinion and what that involves.

RIA Industry Extends Its Bull Run Another Quarter

Publicly Traded Asset/Wealth Managers See Continued Momentum Through First Quarter as Market Backdrop Improves

The outlook for RIAs depends on a number of factors.  Investor demand for a particular manager’s asset class, fee pressure, rising costs, and regulatory overhang can all impact RIA valuations to varying extents.  The one commonality, though, is that RIAs are all impacted by the market. The impact of market movements varies by sector, however. On balance, the outlook for RIAs has generally improved with market conditions over the last several months.  AUM has risen with the market over this time, and it’s likely that industry-wide revenue and earnings have as well. The first quarter was generally a good one for RIAs, but who knows where the rest of 2021 will take us.

Industry Trends

Value Finally Outperforms Growth After Twelve Year Lull

Value Stocks Are Finally Besting Growth, But Is It Sustainable?

Growth-style investments have outpaced their value counterparts by a considerable margin since the Financial Crisis of 2008 and 2009.  Propelled by an 11-year bull market from 2009 to 2020 and additional lift to tech stocks in a work-from-home environment, growth investing dominated value-oriented equities until just a few months ago.   Now, the long-running trendline appears to be rolling over.   

Small/Mid-Sized Asset Managers Can Stay Relevant

Asset Management Industry Outlook

Over the last decade, investors have generally earned a higher net return by investing in passive vehicles rather than actively managed funds. Passive market share is now greater for U.S. equity investing than active. While large asset managers (i.e. BlackRock), are protected by sheer scale, how do small/mid-sized asset managers stay relevant in this environment?

Alternative Assets

2020 Alternative Asset Manager Update

Are Sustainable Investments the Future of Investment Management?

The market for sustainable investments has grown to over $12 trillion in the U.S. and the movement of investable assets into sustainable strategies is expected to accelerate. In this week’s post, we link to the newly published 2020 Alternative Asset Manager Update authored by Taryn Burgess, CFA, ABV. The update reviews the growth of sustainable investing over the last decade and considers the valuation implications for your RIA.

COVID-19 Coverage

Outlook for Asset Management Firms Amid COVID-19

Falling Asset Prices Threaten Profitability as Spotlight Turns to Relative Performance

Active managers have generally underperformed their benchmarks over the past 10 years, which has driven outflows into low-fee passive products. The extreme financial market volatility and dispersion over the last two months has created major price dislocation and the potential to generate outperformance. The current environment may well be the time for active managers to prove themselves by protecting clients’ assets relative to index performance and justifying their fees.

Will Your Succession be Successful?

A Few Things RIAs Need to Know

We’ve hesitated to put together a whitepaper on succession planning because so many people have already written excellent commentary on the topic. Nonetheless, when we surveyed what had been written about succession for RIAs, we didn’t see the kind of … Continued

Transactions

Q2 2019 Asset Manager M&A Trends

Asset and Wealth Manager M&A Keeping Pace with 2018’s Record Levels

Through the first half of 2019, asset and wealth manager M&A has kept pace with 2018, which was the busiest year for sector M&A over the last decade. M&A activity in the back half of 2019 is poised to continue at a rapid pace, as business fundamentals and consolidation pressures continue to drive deal activity. Several trends, which have driven the uptick in sector M&A in recent years, have continued into 2019, including increasing activity by RIA aggregators and rising cost pressures.

Industry Trends

Are Value Managers Undervalued?

Growth Investing Has Outperformed Value for Quite Some Time Now, and the Market’s Taking Notice

Significant underperformance relative to both the market and growth alternatives has led to continued outflows from institutional investors, which in turn has hampered AUM, revenue, and earnings growth despite relatively favorable market conditions. Since the multiple has also slid for these businesses, it appears that the market is anticipating more of the same. Against this backdrop, we address this post’s original question as to whether or not value managers are indeed undervalued at the moment.

Industry Trends

RIAs Still Reeling from Last Year’s Sell-Off

Despite Recent Uptick, Investment Managers are Underperforming

Ordinarily, we’d expect investment manager stocks to outperform the S&P in a stock market rally.  This isn’t always the case though.  So far this year, most classes of RIA stocks have underperformed the market despite its relatively sharp increase through the first three months. The explanation isn’t necessarily obvious. 

Valuations of Asset Managers Are Slow to Recover

Is the Decline in Active Management a Result of Increased Competition or Mediocre Performance?

While market declines are a threat to the profitability and valuations of any asset management firm, active managers face the additional threat of relative underperformance driving outflows, even in periods of rising markets. Low fee passive strategies have become increasingly popular due in part to both the perceived underperformance of active managers and an increasing focus on fees. But to what extent have active fund outflows been driven by mediocre performance versus competition from passive strategies, and what is the impact on asset management firm valuations?

Current Events

RIP to the Father of Index Investing

John Bogle’s Legacy Endures with the Prominence of Passive Investing

This week we say goodbye to perhaps the greatest advocate of passive investing. John Bogle’s contributions to indexing strategies and ETF investing have had huge impacts on both active and passive management, which we’ll address in this week’s post.

Industry Trends Wealth Management

The Haves and Have-Nots of the RIA Industry

Despite the old maxim of a rising tide lifting all boats, the current markets are clearly more buoyant for wealth management firms than asset management firms.  Many asset managers are trading at or near all-time lows from a valuation perspective, while financial advisory shops continue to accumulate client assets.  For this week’s post, we’ll take a closer look at this trend, and what it means for the broader industry.

Industry Trends Trust Companies

Q1 Shows Glimmer of Hope for Active Managers and Continued Gains for Trust Banks

The First Quarter 2017 Asset Management newsletter has been released. This quarter’s newsletter focuses on the mutual fund sector, which has been plagued by asset outflows into ETFs and other passive strategies for most of the last decade. The first two months of this year do, however, offer a ray of hope as 45% of U.S. based active managers beat their relevant benchmark, resulting in February being the first month of inflows into active products since April 2015.

Active Management Down But Not Out

Fresh off a 111-82 KO from the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, our hometown Memphis Grizzlies are certainly battered but not totally eliminated from this year’s NBA title race. As this post goes to press, we still don’t know the outcome of Game 2, but it will undoubtedly be an uphill climb for the Grizz as it usually is against their divisional foes in Central Texas. Still, the Spurs/Grizz rivalry over the last ten years has not been nearly as one-sided as the battle for fund flows between active and passive investors in the ETF era.

Valuing RIAs

In essence, RIAs may be both highly profitable and prospectively ephemeral. Balancing the particular risks and opportunities of a given investment management firm is fundamental to developing a valuation. If you haven’t already, read our whitepaper covering this balancing act in this week’s post.

Current Events Margins and Compensation

ESG Investing Comes of Age Despite (or Maybe Because of) Trump

Investment strategies that screen for environmental, social, and governance criteria (ESG) is a still developing product niche that has, until recently, been more about talk than action. The pitch is that investing in businesses that demonstrate broad-based corporate responsibility provides a pathway to management teams who think long term, mitigate risk, and lead their industries. The beauty of an investment product like ESG is client stickiness.

Investment Management

Mercer Capital provides RIAs, trust companies, and investment consultants with corporate valuation, litigation support, transaction advisory, and related services