Merger and acquisition activity is a growing trend in the advisory space as the industry continues to consolidate. "You have [had] a lot of transactional activity in the wirehouse space — that's been going on for many, many years," said Elliot Weissbluth, CEO and founder of RIA consolidator HighTower, during the DeVoe M&A + Succession Summit held in Miami Beach in December. "We’re now starting to see over the past couple years a real increase in M&A activity in the RIA space." David DeVoe, managing director of DeVoe & Co., said at the same event that the deal volume in 2017 was on track "to be yet another record year. I expect we probably will break through that third successive record year of M&A activity," with the industry experiencing over the next five to seven years "a steady and intensely strong surge" of M&A activity. DeVoe cited advisors' succession planning needs as a key driver for the trend. Weissbluth said the advisory industry is "at the very beginning of consolidation," and that "it's for all very good reasons." He noted "the number of 'aggregator' firms that are in the business — like us, actually consummating serial transactions — is starting to increase."