M and A

CI Financial Makes Another Acquisition, Plans NYSE Listing

Tom Burroughes Group Editor November 6, 2020


The 11th US acquisition of Canada's CI Financial is a business located in Florida, a state that has increased its profile as a wealth management hub in recent years. CI is also planning to list on the New York Stock Exchange. It is already listed in Toronto.

Canada’s CI Financial has bought all of Florida-based Doyle Wealth Management, a firm overseeing about $1.1 billion of client money. The M&A deal follows other recent moves by CI to buy US-based wealth firms, part of a wider industry consolidation trend. On the same day, CI, which is listed in Toronto, said it had applied to list on the New York Stock Exchange.

The acquisition is CI’s 11th registered investment advisor transaction since CI entered the market in February 2020. The addition of DWM, along with other pending acquisitions, will boost CI’s US wealth assets to over $14 billion, it said.

The move comes days after CI bought a majority stake in Stavis & Cohen Financial, a Texan firm with about $750 million in assets under management.

DWM, which is based in St Petersburg, provides services to high net worth individuals including financial planning and customized investment portfolios,. As a licensed CPA firm, DWM also offers tax preparation services to select clients.

The firm is led by co-founders Robert Doyle and Jillian Doyle.

"There is significant potential for DWM’s continued growth in the Tampa Bay area – one of the fastest-growing large urban areas in the US – and throughout Florida, both in wealth planning and in tax preparation services,” Kurt MacAlpine, CI chief executive, said. “Additionally, the region’s popularity with Canadian snowbirds offers tremendous opportunities for CI and Doyle to offer cross-border services to Canadian clients."

Robert Doyle and chief financial officer Jillian Doyle, who co-founded the company in 2005, will continue to lead the business following the close of the transaction.

The DWM transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval, is expected to close by the end of the year. Terms were not disclosed. Cambridge International Partners LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to DWM.

CI recently announced agreements to acquire Bowling Portfolio Management LLC of Cincinnati, Ohio, and a majority interest in Stavis & Cohen Financial LLC of Houston, Texas. (These transactions are expected to close prior to year-end subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval.)

CI also holds interests in:

-- Balasa Dinverno Foltz LLC of Itasca, Illinois;

-- The Cabana Group, LLC of Fayetteville, Arkansas;

-- Congress Wealth Management, LLC of Boston, Massachusetts;

-- One Capital Management, LLC of Westlake Village, California; and

-- Surevest, LLC of Phoenix, Arizona.

“CI’s move into the US RIA sector reflects its strategic priorities of globalizing the firm and expanding its wealth management platform,” the firm said.

Following the close of all pending transactions, CI’s North American wealth management business will have about C$80 billion ($60 billion) in assets, and CI’s total asset and wealth management assets will reach a record C$205 billion ($154 billion). (Totals are based on asset levels as at October 31, 2020.)

NYSE listing ambitions
Separately, CI yesterday announced that it has applied to list its common shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

“The timing for this listing makes sense, given the rapid growth in our US wealth management business,” CEO Kurt MacAlpine said. “As we continue to execute on our strategic priority to globalize our company, listing CI’s common shares on the NYSE will broaden our investor base and increase our corporate profile in the US market."

“It will also support the continued acquisition of US wealth management firms by allowing us to offer CI Financial stock as part of the purchase price, an attractive option for many sellers," MacAlpine said.

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