Trust Company Sector Update
Trust law has evolved over time, most recently with modern trust laws in the 1980s and 90s established by certain states such as Delaware, Nevada, and South Dakota. Other states, such as Tennessee, have developed compelling trust statutes in more recent years. Just as trust law has changed with the regulatory environment, trust companies are changing to meet clients’ evolving needs.
Is the First Bid the Best?
The primary danger of an unsolicited offer is that it lures potential sellers into thinking the deal is done and the process will be easy. As with most things in life, if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.
Asset Management Stocks Find Some Relief After Year-End Rout
Broad market indices generally increased over the last quarter, and publicly traded asset and wealth manager stocks followed suit.
Publicly traded traditional asset and wealth managers ended the quarter up 6.2%, beating out the S&P 500, which rose 2.6%. Alt managers were the bright spot in the sector, up nearly 18%. Aggregators and multi-boutique model firms did not fare well, despite all the hype about consolidation pressures in the industry and the high-profile deals in the aggregator space. These businesses ended the quarter down more than 14%.
Fidelity’s Partnership with Merchant Investment Management
On June 10th, Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions and Merchant Investment Management announced a new partnership to increase wealth managers’ access to capital for acquisitions and growth initiates. The deal opens up a sizable new sales channel for Merchant, and in return, Fidelity’s behemoth platform tacks on a few additional selling points to entice M&A-minded RIAs.
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.
Is the Value of your RIA More a Function of Risk or Growth?
On paper, the RIA model is a value generating machine: a reliable stream of distributable cash flow resulting from sticky, recurring revenues and growing effortlessly with the investment returns available in a diversifiable variety of financial markets. The reality, of course, is more nuanced.
Recent Capitulations for AMG and Focus Suggest Investors are Starting to Question Their Business Model
While it’s no secret that the last year has been especially challenging for the RIA industry, Affiliated Managers Group (AMG) and Focus Financial (FOCS) have underperformed most of their peers by a fairly significant margin in the last few months. AMG is down nearly 50% over the last year, and Focus has lost over 50% of its value since peaking last September. For this post, we’ll offer our take on the driving forces behind this decline.
No. But Goldman’s United Capital Buy Suggests the Consolidation Winds are Shifting
If there is one consistent story in these RIA rollups, it’s that building them takes longer than anybody expects. Duran worked on building United Capital for nearly 15 years. Some things require scale that cannot be acquired in one lifetime, however, and that’s where the CEO of Goldman Sachs, David Solomon, saw an opportunity.
M&A and Practice Management
Much of the sector’s recent press has focused on the current M&A environment as well as practice management issues for RIA firms, so we’ve highlighted some of the more salient pieces on these topics and a few others that are making news in the investment management industry.
RIAs Respond to the Changing Industry Landscape with Varied Measures
During Q1 2019, most classes of RIA stocks underperformed the market despite its relatively sharp increase through the first three months. Investors still seemed concerned about the RIA industry’s prospects in the face of fee compression and continued asset outflows. RIAs are responding to this pressure in different ways. Some are actively expanding product offerings to meet clients’ changing demands; others are staying true to the traditional RIA model and responding to revenue pressure by developing cost efficiencies. As we do every quarter, we take a look at some of the earnings commentary of investment management pacesetters to gain further insight into the challenges and opportunities developing in the industry.