Canada among leaders as asset management mergers surge

Report confirms a record breaking year for asset management acquisitions and mergers in 2015

It was a record-breaking year in the asset manager sector as mergers and acquisitions reached a new high, with Canada playing a key role.

A report by investment bank Sandler O’Neill showed that there were 149 asset management acquisitions worldwide during 2015: with wealth management firms responsible for a record breaking 59 of them. The rise in activity has been attributed to a significant upturn in the number of financial sponsors and banks showing interest in the area of wealth management and deeming it an important sector within the financial industry.

While no specific statistics were made available for Canada, David Boyle, head of acquisitions at Aberdeen Asset Management, believes the strengths of the banks in the country put them in a good position to make investments.

“Canadian banks had a relatively good financial crisis,” he said. “As such, they were able to make investments from a position of strength as they didn’t have the same hold on their finance sheets. Whether they remain committed to this area, however, remains to be seen.”

Boyle believes that, overall, the consolidation that has taken place is good for the industry.

“Generally speaking, consolidation is good for the industry,” he said. “It brings diversification, but, most importantly, it offers clients real stability. They don’t have to be worried about what will happen tomorrow and they won’t face variable costs.”

Acquisitions have continued into 2016, too. Last week, for example, BNY Mellon completed the acquisition of Atherton Lane Advisers, which is a $2.7billion investment manager with around 700 clients. Meanwhile, Sargent Bickham Lagudis, which has assets of $1billion, has completed a merger with Colorado Financial Management, which has assets of $250million.

However, broker-dealer acquisitions slowed down during the year, according to the report.