CI Financial Corp. (TSX: CIX) has agreed to acquire a majority stake in WealthBar Financial Services Inc. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Co-founded in 2012 by Nicola siblings, Tea Nicola and Chris M. Nicola, and backed by Nicola Wealth Management, Vancouver based WealthBar is a leading Canadian online wealth management and financial planning platform.
WealthBar will continue to operate as a stand-alone business to be led by Tea Nicola, Chris Nicola, and Neville Joanes, Chief Investment Officer and Chief Compliance Officer, all of whom are retaining an ownership interest in the firm.
The transaction is expected to close in January 2019.
WealthBar is competing against Wealthsimple Financial Inc., which along with Koho Financial Inc., is majority owned by Power Financial Corporation (TSX: PWF).
CI Financial accelerates its digital strategy with the acquisition of WealthBar
TORONTO (December 14, 2018) – CI Financial Corp. (“CI Financial”) (TSX: CIX) and WealthBar Financial Services Inc. (“WealthBar”) announced today they have reached an agreement under which CI Financial will acquire a majority stake in WealthBar, a leading Canadian online wealth management and financial planning platform.
“WealthBar has developed a best-in-class digital advice platform with industry-leading tools and services and a superior client experience,” said Peter W. Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of CI Financial. “The addition of this technology and expertise will accelerate the development of CI’s comprehensive digital strategy, which is focused on innovation, operational efficiency, advisor productivity and client experience across all of our businesses in asset management and wealth management.”
With WealthBar, CI Financial is broadening the array of services and platforms it offers investors and advisors, and solidifying its position as a large, diversified, Canadian-owned independent wealth management organization. “For example, we see great potential in providing advisors with the option of a digital platform to serve their clients,” Mr. Anderson said. “We firmly believe that investors benefit from advice provided by a professional financial advisor, and by supporting advisors with a platform to engage investors at all stages of their wealth management journey, we foster a relationship that grows as the investor’s need for advice grows.”
“We are delighted to enter this strategic partnership,” said Tea Nicola, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of WealthBar. “CI Financial is a strong company. Their independence and objectivity were important reasons for our decision to choose them as partners. WealthBar has achieved rapid growth since our launch in 2014 and CI Financial’s backing and resources will put us on a new growth trajectory as we build on our success in technology, client experience and products. We also see many exciting opportunities for the two firms to develop innovative new platforms and services throughout the CI Financial group.”
WealthBar will continue to operate as a stand-alone business under the leadership of its highly talented management team. In addition to Tea Nicola, management is led by Chris Nicola, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, and Neville Joanes, Chief Investment Officer and Chief Compliance Officer, all of whom are retaining an ownership interest in the firm.
The transaction is expected to close in January 2019. Terms were not disclosed. In connection with the transaction, BMO Capital Markets acted as exclusive financial advisor and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP acted as legal counsel to WealthBar, while Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP acted as legal counsel to CI Financial.
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CI Financial’s investment in its comprehensive digital strategy also included the acquisition in November 2017 of financial technology company BBS Securities Inc., a broker dealer that provides a wide range of brokerage and trading services to clients that include portfolio managers, introducing brokers and institutional investors. It also operates online brokerage Virtual Brokers.
About CI Financial Corp.
CI Financial Corp. (TSX: CIX) is an independent Canadian company offering global asset management and wealth management advisory services. It has approximately $173.2 billion in fee-earning assets as of November 30, 2018. The firm’s primary operating businesses are CI Investments Inc., Assante Wealth Management (Canada) Ltd., CI Private Counsel LP, Grant Samuel Funds Management Pty Ltd. of Australia, First Asset Investment Management Inc., and BBS Securities Inc. Further information is available at www.cifinancial.com.
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