October 22, 2012 / 4:36 PM / in 5 years

Deal activity among US financial advisory firms slows -Schwab

* 10 M&A deals among RIAs in Q3 vs 17 in year-before quarter

* Represented about $6.1 bln in AUM vs $16.9 bln a year earlier

Oct 22 (Reuters) - Merger and acquisition activity among U.S. registered investment advisors (RIAs) slowed in the third quarter versus a year earlier due to economic and political uncertainty, according to Charles Schwab Corp’s adviser services arm.

There were 10 sales or mergers of RIA firms in the quarter, versus 17 deals in the year-before quarter, Schwab, which provides custodial, operational and trading support for around 7,000 RIA firms, said on Monday in a quarterly report.

The report was based on data about RIA firms that managed at least $50 million in assets that were bought by other RIAs, national consolidating firms, regional banks, or national banks.

San Francisco-based Schwab said the deals represented about $6.1 billion in total assets under management (AUM), down from $16.9 billion in the year-prior quarter involving. RIAs are investment advisory firms registered with federal or state authorities.

“The uncertainty in the markets and the upcoming presidential election has led to a decline in M&A activity this past quarter,” said Jon Beatty, who heads sales and relationship management for Schwab Advisor Services, said in a statement.

“RIAs as acquirers have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the right opportunity.”

While activity is down, the size of deals in the RIA space so far this year has been larger, with year-to-date AUM at $42.3 billion at the end of the quarter, approaching the $43.9 billion in AUM for all of last year, Schwab said. (Reporting By John McCrank in New York; editing by Andrew Hay)

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