The financial services sector can count on plenty of merger and acquisition activity in the near future, as insurance companies and retail banks try to turn themselves into financial supermarkets, according to a Tiburon Strategic Advisors report on mergers and acquisitions in the financial services industry that was released this morning.

“These institutions will sell everything from checking accounts to mutual funds, life insurance, mortgages, foreign exchange and auto loans,” according to the report. They will provide brokerage services, too. Since 1999, retail banks and insurance companies have acquired 40 of the top 50 independent broker-dealer firms and over 40 securities firms, said Chip Roame, managing principal of Tiburon Strategic Advisors, in Tiburon, Calif.

Despite the credit-market meltdown, Roame predicts that as many as 200 mergers and acquisitions among financial services firms will take place by 2013, with an aggregate value of approximately $1 trillion. The money would be even greater, the Tiburon report said, were it not for the fact that larger firms can buy smaller companies at a discount.

Tiburon’s findings seem to run counter to a lot of trends, from the failures of banks’ and wirehouses’ cross-selling initiatives to breakaway brokers’ forming RIA boutiques. Roame stands by his predictions nevertheless. “We stick with our view,” he wrote in an e-mail message. “We will see diversification trends come right back.”

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