How to Double the Size of an Investment Firm in a Pandemic

Doubling the size of an investment advisory firm is hard even without a pandemic. But Dave Welling, the chief executive officer of Mercer Advisors and this week’s guest on the Masters in Business podcast, did it. Welling explains how the firm, which has been around for 35 years, began to grow through acquisitions four years ago and kept it up last year. The Denver-based registered investment advisor has 450 employees and manages more than $21 billion.

Welling’s nontraditional career path, which included experience in consulting, private equity and technology, has given him a unique perspective on the financial services business. He explains the process the firm uses to identify, fund and negotiate acquisitions, with part of the secret being the focus on succession planning for small firm owners. Welling notes that deal structures have evolved due to plentiful private-equity capital in an era of very low interest rates. Private investors in RIAs get a steady cash flow, effectively creating a high yielding investment.