Over USD1.1 trillion in HNW AUM changes hands in 2008-2012 through M&A as global valuation averages have halved.

LONDON – M&A has long been considered an enabler to jump start growth at wealth management firms across the globe. While good deals are hard to find, the appetite for M&A has steadily risen since 2008 with more than USD1.1 trillion of HNW assets changing hands as wealth management firms sought a step change in their models. The total price paid for the assets came to USD38.5 billion.

The above findings are evidenced in the special 5 year edition Wealth Management Deal Tracker analysis report released today by Scorpio Partnership. The report analysed 172 of the noteworthy deals from Q1 2008 to Q2 2012 which makes it the most comprehensive assessment of M&A in global wealth management. Notably, the average price-to-AUM ratio has nearly halved during this period falling from 3.7% in 2008 to 1.98% of AUM in 2012.

The value of an M&A strategy in wealth management is still a fierce debate in the corridors of power. Is it worth it? Our view has been that to make a proper assessment there needs to be closer tracking on the deals. This examination casts light on an aspect of the industry that has not, until now, been properly charted,” said Sebastian Dovey, partner at Scorpio Partnership.

The key findings in the evolution of global wealth management M&A include:

  • The average price to assets under management for the 5 year period has been steadily falling from 3.7% in 2008 to 1.98%. Only in 2009 was there an increase in price-to-AUM ratio from 3.7% to 4.81%.
  • The average AUM acquired per deal over the 5 year period to 2012 is USD 6.99 billion.
  • The UK was the scene for most of the M&A deals, accounting for 30% of deal activity in the period between 2008 and 2012. The analysis shows the UK market beginning to consolidate long in advance of the implementation of various regulatory measurements since RDR. Switzerland and the rest of Europe have also seen a significant number of buyers and sellers.
  • Nearly half of all deals during the period studied were driven by European entities which indicates they have a typically higher propensity to write cheques for expansion compared with either US or other international operators.


In this special edition we look back at the last 5 years of 172 deals from 2008 to 2012. The deals deemed relevant were those where the business rationale for the transaction was to support a strategy focused on wealth management – defined as a financial services business providing financial solutions for individual investors where the investor typically has a total net investable worth in excess of USD1 million.

The deals by type

The types of deals undertaken in wealth management have been varied. In terms of the breakdown of the 172 deals covered in this work by their deal type, 133 were straight out acquisitions, 23 were strategic investments, 7 were mergers, 5 were MBO and the remaining 4 were joint ventures.

Selection of tables and charts from the 2013 Wealth Management Deal Tracker

1 Number of deals by deal  structure 2008-2012
2 Buyers by region 2008-2012
3 Vendors by region 2008-2012
4 Deals by quarter 2008-2012
5 Buyers by headquarters: 2008-2012
6 Price to AUM ratio 2008-2012
7 Average AUM acquired by deal 2008-2012
8 Domestic Price/AUM  2008-2012
9 International Price/AUM  2008-2012
10 The deal list 2008-2012

How to obtain the report

Scorpio Partnership is pleased to offer the full report for purchase in either pdf or print format. The report has 34 charts and the deal table listing the 172 transactions. Details of the report are available on the Scorpio Partnership website.


About Scorpio Partnership

The firm specialises in understanding the wealthy and the financial institutions they interact with. We have developed four transformational disciplines – SEEK,THINK,SHAPEandCREATE– each designed to enable business leaders to strategically assess, plan and drive growth. The solutions Scorpio Partnership develops regularly win awards for its institutional clients and help them financially profit.

Our discipline teams leverage expertise in:

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Scorpio Partnership has conducted more than 300 global assignments across wealth for institutions in the banking, fund management, regulation, IT and technology, insurance and charity sectors.

Scorpio Partnership has been voted best global consultancy to the wealth management industry for the three consecutive years*. It has also been shortlisted for Agency of the Year two year’s in succession and was runner up for Best Global Financial Services Insight business. The firm is independent and owned by management.

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