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.
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.
This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning anticipated future events, results, circumstances, performance or expectations with respect to CI Financial Corp. (“CI”) and its products and services, including its business operations, strategy and financial performance and condition. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by words such as “believe”, “expect”, “foresee”, “forecast”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “estimate”, “goal”, “plan” and “project” and similar references to future periods, or conditional verbs such as “will”, “may”, “should”, “could” or “would”. These statements are not historical facts but instead represent management beliefs regarding future events, many of which by their nature are inherently uncertain and beyond management’s control. Although management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements involve risks and uncertainties. The material factors and assumptions applied in reaching the conclusions contained in these forward-looking statements include that the investment fund industry will remain stable and that interest rates will remain relatively stable. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include, among other things, general economic and market conditions, including interest and foreign exchange rates, global financial markets, changes in government regulations or in tax laws, industry competition, technological developments and other factors described or discussed in CI’s disclosure materials filed with applicable securities regulatory authorities from time to time. The foregoing list is not exhaustive and the reader is cautioned to consider these and other factors carefully and not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Other than as specifically required by applicable law, CI undertakes no obligation to update or alter any forward-looking statement after the date on which it is made, whether to reflect new information, future events or otherwise.
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