CI Financial Corp has acquired the remaining 25 percent it did not already own of WealthBar Financial Services, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based online investment and financial planning company. No financial terms were disclosed. WealthBar was previously backed by Nicola Wealth Management.
TORONTO, May 21, 2020 /CNW/ – CI Financial Corp. (“CI”) (TSX: CIX) announced today it has increased its ownership of WealthBar Financial Services Inc. (“WealthBar”), a leading online investment and financial planning firm, to 100% by acquiring the remaining 25% minority interest.
The transaction will eventually allow for WealthBar to be combined with Virtual Brokers, CI’s discount broker, to create an integrated online investment platform to be called CI Direct Investing. WealthBar will be rebranded CI Direct Investing in the coming months, with the Virtual Brokers rebrand following when the two platforms are fully integrated.
“WealthBar and Virtual Brokers have posted strong growth and these changes will set the stage for further success,” said Kurt MacAlpine, CI Chief Executive Officer. “The unified CI Direct Investing brand will be consistent with the new branding strategy for CI Financial, making it clear that these platforms are part of a large, integrated asset and wealth management company.”
The 25% minority stake purchased by CI had been held by WealthBar executives.
“CI has been a great partner for WealthBar and is committed to our unique approach of providing easy and affordable access to quality investments and financial advice,” said Tea Nicola, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of WealthBar. “We look forward to this next phase of expansion and to the continued growth of the business.”
When the two platforms are fully integrated, CI Direct Investing will offer a diverse menu of services, including the online brokerage services for do-it-yourself investors provided by Virtual Brokers, and the wealth management and financial planning services offered by WealthBar. WealthBar’s “hybrid” model enables clients to invest in professionally managed investment portfolios while having access to personal financial advice.
“We believe that professional advice is as critical as ever and our online platforms are important complements to our traditional advisory businesses,” Mr. MacAlpine said. “We are using technology to enhance our advisory offerings and to provide an even wider range of clients with access to investing tools and advice.”
WealthBar was acquired by CI in January 2019 and has been a strong contributor to CI’s ongoing digital transformation. Examples include Assante Connect, an online investment service managed by WealthBar exclusively for clients of Assante Wealth Management. WealthBar also offers PPI Valet, a platform that helps insurance advisors manage and grow the investment component of their business, and owns Snap Projections Inc., which offers intuitive financial planning software that helps wealth professionals build customized wealth and retirement plans for clients.
This initiative falls under CI’s strategic priority of expanding its wealth management platform, one of three strategic priorities introduced last November. The two other strategic priorities are modernizing the asset management business and globalizing the firm.
About WealthBar Financial Services Inc.
WealthBar is a leading Canadian online wealth management and financial planning platform offering easy online investing portfolios, along with unlimited commission-free advice. WealthBar pairs its technology with professional financial planning from Certified Financial Planners for a personalized experience. Learn more at wealthbar.com.
About CI Financial
CI Financial Corp. (TSX: CIX) is an independent company offering global asset management and wealth management advisory services. CI held approximately C$166 billion in fee-earning assets as of April 30, 2020. CI’s primary asset management businesses are CI Investments Inc. and GSFM Pty Ltd., and it operates in wealth management through Assante Wealth Management (Canada) Ltd., CI Private Counsel LP, WealthBar Financial Services Inc., BBS Securities Inc., One Capital Management, LLC and Surevest LLC. Further information is available at www.cifinancial.com.