Great-West to acquire Financial Horizons from Genstar

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By Ted Liu

The Great-West Life Assurance Company, the Canadian subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc. (TSX: GWO), has entered into an agreement to acquire Financial Horizons Group from Genstar Capital and founder John H. Hamilton who will continue to lead the business.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the coming months. Financial terms were not disclosed. Great-West said the transaction is expected to be earnings accretive but not material to overall Canadian earnings.

Established in 1990 by Hamilton, Financial Horizons Group (FHG) is a leading Canadian Managing General Agency (MGA) that provides life, health, employee benefits, pension, investments, structured settlements, and risk management products and services to financial advisors.

In May 2011, Genstar Capital, a San Francisco, California based private equity firm, acquired 72% of FHG from Hamilton.

“As part of our Canada transformation, we are committed to investing in new capabilities for our business,” said Stefan Kristjanson, Great-West Life’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Canada. “This strategic acquisition gives our organization a strong presence in the growing independent MGA sector of the Canadian market.”

Great-West Life intends to continue to support Financial Horizons Group’s active consolidation strategy, which has resulted in the acquisition of 30 MGA businesses over the past six years under the majority ownership of Genstar Capital.

“This is a tremendous endorsement of our business model, and excellent news for our advisor network. In Great-West, we have a strong parent that is committed to investing in the business, and that understands the importance of our independence. Financial Horizons Group will continue to operate with its own governance and board of directors, ensuring that supplier company relationships remain integral to Financial Horizons Group’s growth. Essentially, it will be business as usual,” said Hamilton.

photo credit: Financial Horizons Group