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Registered investment advisory firms (RIAs) in the U.S. are merging at a record pace, according to a report from TD Ameritrade Institutional.

The firm reported that merger activity among RIAs is on pace to reach record levels this year, with 69 transactions so far this year.

This is up by 82% from the same time last year, and already ranks 2019 as one of the top five years for M&A activity between advisory firms.

“The pace of deal announcements picked up considerably over the past year and has posted consecutive gains in each of the past four quarters,” the report said.

The spike in deal activity is being fuelled by a variety of factors, it suggested, including low borrowing costs, an increase in willing sellers and rising valuations.

TD reported that 48 different firms announced a merger transaction in the first half, compared with 54 firms for all of 2018.

Firms that engaged in multiple acquisitions represented 36% of the deals, it noted.

“The forces driving the accelerating pace of industry consolidation in recent years are now intensifying,” Pete Dorsey, managing director of sales at TD Ameritrade Institutional, said in a statement.

“More than ever, independent advisors are leveraging acquisitions to fuel growth, pursue long-term strategic goals, and, in some cases, build national enterprises. RIA deal activity has also benefitted from low borrowing costs and the rising number of firms willing to sell as valuations rise,” he added.