CEO outlines Aviso Wealth vision

The deal to bring Desjardins, Qtrade and Credential together under the Aviso Wealth umbrella is bursting with potential, says CEO Bill Packham

CEO outlines Aviso Wealth vision

Pooling resources and brainpower puts the new Aviso Wealth partnership in pole position to help investors, according to its new CEO.

Bill Packham, also CEO of Qtrade Canada Inc., heads up the wealth delivery and product manufacturing platform, which is a combination of Desjardins Group and a partnership comprised of the Centrals and The CUMIS Group that plan to merge the businesses of their subsidiaries, Credential Financial, Qtrade Canada and NEI Investments.

With $55 billion in combined assets, Aviso instantly becomes one of Canada’s largest independent financial services operations, and Packham believes the partnership possesses immense potential.

“We had common ownership in some shape or form between the three,” he said. “So we’ve tried numerous times over the years to bring them together and, in actual fact, the Credential and NEI entity have been together in earlier form when it was the old Ethical Funds.

“So as we looked at it from the credit union system, there is a lot of logic in bringing this together that made sense. We could have an even stronger organisation with [greater] size and scale.

“In today’s world, we need to have that to make sure we can make that investment and to continue to build the business, and get the right economics out of it.”

The banks versus credit unions debate is nothing new, of course, but Aviso’s vision aims to capitalise on the reputation of the latter as more trustworthy.

“I think there may be issues with the banks,” he said. “That is one thing the credit unions do try to differentiate under the co-operative principles; they have a lot of transparency, integrity, honesty and openness with the whole co-operative and relationship they look to have with members.

“I think that bodes well. I’ve seen that in the Desjardins organisation. The credit unions have been building a very good presence in wealth with the help of the Credential and Qtrade wealth team. I think what they wanted to be able to have is to make sure they have an enhanced and differentiated wealth management experience going forward. I think we each had some very good offerings in terms of products and technology, but we knew we could make it that much stronger very quickly on a combined basis.”

Subject to regulatory approval, the Aviso Wealth transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter and Packham highlighted how the combined forces will be able to enhance its technology that much quicker.

“We have an ability to come to market quickly with the size of this platform when it comes to enhancement. We brought a digital solution out on the Qtrade side and we will now be able to keep enhancing that very quickly.

“We have a big in-house development group that continuously makes technology improvements to make the products and services stronger, and easier to work with. Bringing advanced technology into our innovation with products or innovation with services is very important in today’s financial service market place.

“So digital solutions, mobile solutions, information at the fingertips … we are providing those sorts of things, but we will be able to do an even better job on a combined basis.”

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