Brookfield Oaktree strengthens Canadian alternative options

'We're setting out to partner with advisors … whether through education or service'

Brookfield Oaktree strengthens Canadian alternative options

Having merged the wealth management divisions from its two parent companies during the pandemic, the New York-based Brookfield Oaktree Wealth Solutions (BOWS) is increasing its Canadian presence to offer more unique alternative options to advisors in this market.

“We’re the new kid on the block in certain ways. In other ways, we’ve been doing this for a very long time because we, across Brookfield and Oaktree, manage money for some of the most sophisticated institutions, but some of the most sophisticated individual investors around the world, as well,” David Levi, BOWS’ head, told Wealth Professional, noting both companies’ long histories.

“Until recently, we’ve not been concerted in our effort around wealth as we are today. So, we’re investing in it like we never have before.”

While Brookfield, previously affiliated with the Bronfman family office, has been managing money for Canadian investors since its inception, it now is ramping up its wealth management offerings in Canada. It has had a sub-advisory model, providing strategies and managing assets for Manulife, CIBC, and BMO’s funds, but now it’s been concertedly building its Canadian base for the past year.

Brookfield, which offers a spectrum of alternative products, is working with both bank-owned and independent wealth management organizations, including all the major banks.

“We’ve moved from what I would deem a home office model, where we’re really focused on partnering with the home offices to make our products available to financial advisors,” said Levi. “Now, we have people in the ‘field’ who are talking with financial advisors in the local markets. We’re very focused on advisor education helping people understand not just what we’re doing, but what alternatives can do for their client portfolio.”

BOWS offers products right across the liquidity spectrum for alternatives.

“At one end are the less liquid offerings. These are the traditional private funds with a 10 or 12-year locked-up structure appropriate for certain types of investors, but certainly not all investors,” said Levi. “At the other end of the liquidity spectrum, we have daily liquid products where we’re managing credit or real estate or infrastructure in public markets.

“What we’re doing is offering that full range so Canadian investors, depending on where they bank or who advises them from a financial perspective, can access everything from our daily liquid, real estate or infrastructure strategies, as an example, all the way through to a private global transition fund. In the middle, there are various offerings in real estate, infrastructure, private credit, multi-sector credit, as well.”

Levi noted that BOWS is focusing more heavily on the Canadian market right now, not only because of its history, but because the brand is so resonant in the Canadian market. That’s happening just as  more global asset managers are coming to the Canadian market in earnest, bringing their full suite to augment the Canadian offerings that were already here, and the banks are also ramping up their interest and search for partnerships.

“It’s certainly an opportunity for us,” said Levi. “But, the second thing is the dynamic is changing really quickly in the Canadian market, and it’s changing in a way that we have the capabilities that can benefit Canadian investors. We think the combination of our brand, our capabilities, and the evolution in the market make it a perfect time for us to bet heavily on the Canadian market, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

“We’re really setting out to be partners with advisors in Canada. Whether that’s through education or whether that’s through service we believe that we’re going to be successful by partnering.”