CI continues aggressive growth with $10 billion acquisition

Company agrees majority interest in fast-growing Canadian advisory firm, making it three deals in less than a week

CI continues aggressive growth with $10 billion acquisition

CI Financial Corp. has announced it will acquire a majority interest in Aligned Capital, a Canadian full-service investment advisory firm with approximately $10 billion in assets.

Aligned Capital, based in Burlington, Ontario, supports more than 200 financial advisors across Canada and is one of the industry's fastest-growing firms. According to CI’s press release, Aligned Capital was ranked first in wealth management, sixth in financial services and 78th overall on the Growth 500 list of Canada's fastest-growing companies, with a revenue growth rate of 1,237% from 2013-2018.

After the transaction closes, CI will have approximately $59 billion in assets in Canadian wealth management and 1,100 advisor teams. Combined with its U.S. registered investment advisory business, including two recently announced transactions, CI will have about $74 billion in wealth management assets, a 57% increase in the past 12 months.

"Aligned Capital, with its rapid growth, is an excellent partner for CI as we expand our wealth management platform," said Kurt MacAlpine, CI CEO. "There is a strong fit between our firms given our shared focus on providing comprehensive wealth management services to clients.

“Additionally, the transaction will further diversify our distribution channels, as Aligned Capital is a leader in the IIROC segment (regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada)."

Christopher Enright, founding partner, president and managing director of Aligned Capital, said: “CI's financial strength and experience in both investment and wealth management will allow for the continued investment in technology, support and services for our advisors and their clients and drive the development of our business into its next stage.

“What excites us most about this transaction is how CI views the future of distribution and how aligned we are in that vision," added Michael Greer, founding partner, executive vice-president and managing director of Aligned Capital. "CI's commitment to the advice channel will benefit all stakeholders but especially our advisors and their clients." 

The acquisition supports CI's strategic priority of expanding its wealth management platform, which includes Assante Wealth Management (Canada) Limited and CI Private Counsel LP in Canada and a rapidly growing U.S. RIA business.

"We believe that financial advice and the role of the financial advisor are more important today than at any point in history," Mr. MacAlpine said. "Aligned Capital operates a truly unique business model, one that we are committed to maintaining. They have made significant investments in technology to assist their network of advice providers in the overarching goal of improving investor outcomes. We're excited to leverage our combined resources to better meet the increasingly complex financial needs of our clients."

Following the close, Aligned Capital will continue to be operated by its existing management team, led by Mr. Enright and Mr. Greer.

CI will realize cost synergies from the transaction by providing Aligned Capital with access to its corporate services functions and through increased scale in wealth management. Revenue synergies will be realized through accelerated wealth management growth and integration of customized asset management solutions.

"In 2019, we added $1 billion in new advisor assets to our wealth management platform," MacAlpine said. "With the introduction of our new corporate strategy last November, we have made a concentrated effort to grow our wealth platform. Already for the year-to-date, we have added $25 billion in new advisor assets through the acquisition of Aligned Capital, growth in our Assante business, and the five acquisitions we've made in the U.S.

"This incredible growth shows how strongly CI's value proposition and strategy are resonating with advisors," MacAlpine said. "We expect this momentum to continue."

Yesterday, CI reached an agreement to acquire Balasa Dinverno Foltz LLC ("BDF") of Itasca, Illinois, while on July 30, OCM Capital Partners LLC, a subsidiary of CI Financial Group, announced it is to acquire Thousand Oaks Financial Corporation, a registered investment advisor firm based in Thousand Oaks, California.

The Aligned Capital transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Terms were not disclosed.

CI's other strategic priorities are modernizing its asset management business and globalizing the company. Since CI established its new strategic direction in November 2019, in addition to its RIA acquisitions, it has entered into strategic partnerships with three companies, and acquired WisdomTree Asset Management Canada, Inc., Snap Projections Inc. and a 49% interest in Redpoint Investment Management Pty Ltd.