Great-West Lifeco to buy Genstar-owned Financial Horizons Group

Great-West Lifeco Inc (TSX: GWO) has agreed to acquire Financial Horizons Group, a Kitchener, Ontario-based managing general agency (MGA) that distributes life insurance and other products and services in Canada. No financial terms were released. Great-West, an insurance holding company affiliated with Canada’s Power Financial Corp, said it will support Financial Horizons’ consolidation strategy, which has resulted in the buy of 30 MGA businesses during the ownership of Genstar Capital, a U.S. private equity firm. Genstar, which holds a 72 percent stake in the company, invested in 2010. Financial Horizons will continue to be led by President and CEO John Hamilton.

PRESS RELEASE

Great-West Lifeco subsidiary announces acquisition of Financial Horizons Group – The leading MGA in the Canadian market

WINNIPEG, May 19, 2017 /CNW/ – Great-West Lifeco Inc. announced today that its Canadian subsidiary The Great-West Life Assurance Company has entered into an agreement to acquire Financial Horizons Group, the leading participant in the independent Managing General Agency (MGA) sector of the Canadian market.

Financial Horizons Group serves customers across Canada through 30 offices nationwide with a network of 6,600 active advisors. The business was established in 1990 by John H. Hamilton, President and CEO, who will continue to lead the business in his current capacity.

“As part of our Canada transformation, we are committed to investing in new capabilities for our business,” said Stefan Kristjanson, Great-West Life’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Canada. “This strategic acquisition gives our organization a strong presence in the growing independent MGA sector of the Canadian market.”

“We recognize the importance of the independence of Financial Horizons Group, and are pleased that the existing management team will remain in place and continue running the business,” Mr. Kristjanson said. He also confirmed that Great-West Life intends to continue to support Financial Horizons Group’s active consolidation strategy, which has resulted in the acquisition of 30 MGA businesses over the past six years under its majority ownership by Genstar Capital, a San Francisco-based private equity firm.

Mr. Hamilton welcomed the acquisition, commenting “This is a tremendous endorsement of our business model, and excellent news for our advisor network. In Great-West, we have a strong parent that is committed to investing in the business, and that understands the importance of our independence. Financial Horizons Group will continue to operate with its own governance and board of directors, ensuring that supplier company relationships remain integral to Financial Horizons Group’s growth. Essentially, it will be business as usual.”

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions, and is expected to be completed in the coming months. The transaction is expected to be earnings accretive, although not material to overall Canadian earnings.

About Financial Horizons Group
Financial Horizons Group (FHG) is a leading Canadian Managing General Agency (MGA) that provides life, health, employee benefits, pension, investments, structured settlements, and risk management products and services to financial advisors. It was established in 1990 by John H. Hamilton as a financial planning firm specializing in retirement and estate planning, before becoming an MGA in 1999.

Financial Horizons Group is 72% owned by Genstar Capital, a San Francisco-based private equity firm that has a focus on insurance-related investments and acquired the business in May 2011 from John Hamilton, with Mr. Hamilton remaining as its second largest shareholder. Financial Horizons Group operates a network of 6,600 advisors contracted with Financial Horizons Group through the MGA channel. These advisors are serviced locally through 30 branch offices across Canada as well as head offices in Ontario and Quebec. It also owns an MFDA dealer, with $1.2 billion in assets under administration, primarily Quebec-based.

Financial Horizons Group has achieved 300% growth since 2011, largely through an aggressive distribution strategy which saw 30 businesses consolidated. A recent report for Investor Economics ranked Financial Horizons Group as the no.1 MGA firm in Canada ranked by annualized premium equivalent.

Great-West Lifeco
Great-West Lifeco Inc. (TSX:GWO) is an international financial services holding company with interests in life insurance, health insurance, retirement and investment services, asset management and reinsurance businesses. Lifeco has operations in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia through Great-West Life, London Life, Canada Life, Irish Life, Great-West Financial and Putnam Investments. Lifeco and its companies have approximately $1.3 trillion in consolidated assets under administration as at March 31, 2017 and are members of the Power Financial Corporation group of companies. To learn more, visit www.greatwestlifeco.com.

For further information: Media Relations: Marlene Klassen, APR, 204-946-7705, Email: marlene.klassen@gwl.ca; Investor Relations: Deirdre Neary, 416-552-3208, Email: deirdre.neary@gwl.ca; Financial Horizons Group: Patricia Ziegler, Media & Public Relations, 519-742-4474, Ext. 1531, Email: patricia.ziegler@financialhorizons.com

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