Mercer Advisors, one of the most prominent recent buyers of registered investment advisers now with $19.9 billion in assets under management, has altered its lineup of RIA custodians, according to its March Form ADV filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to the filing, Mercer Advisors now has a custody business relationship with Raymond James Financial Services Inc. and no longer works with the ETrade Advisor Network.
An aggregator with close to 50 deals since 2016, Mercer and its financial advisers already had access to hold client assets in custody with Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., TD Ameritrade Institutional, National Advisors Trust and Fidelity, according to the filing.
A small marketplace, the custody landscape for RIAs is shifting and creating plenty of questions for RIAs and their financial advisers. Most prominently, last year Schwab wrapped up its acquisition of TD Ameritrade. And most recently, Morgan Stanley last month said it was selling ETrade’s custody group to Axos Financial Inc.
Morgan Stanley cut the financial adviser referral program, keeping leads generated by ETrade’s discount brokerage arm inhouse and feeding them to Morgan Stanley financial advisers. This made the relationship less attractive, said Dave Barton, head of mergers and acquisition at Mercer.
A spokesperson for ETrade declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Mercer has completed a handful of acquisitions in the past year of RIAs that had already held client assets in custody with Raymond James, so adding that firm as a custodian made sense, Barton said.
“We each put the other through their paces, and it’s great for merger and acquisition,” Barton said. “These are very loyal advisers to Raymond James, and adding them as a custodian means no one has to move anywhere.”
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