Toronto-based CI Financial Corp. has reached an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Vancouver-based robo-advisor WealthBar Financial Services Inc.

CI is aiming to broaden the services and platforms it offers both investors and financial advisors with the acquisition of WealthBar, which is expected to close in January 2019, said Peter Anderson, the firm’s CEO, in a statement: “The addition of this technology and expertise will accelerate the development of CI’s comprehensive digital strategy, which is focused on innovation, operational efficiency, advisor productivity and client experience across all of our businesses in asset management and wealth management.”

Namely, CI sees great potential in giving advisors the ability to use a digital platform to serve its clients. [CI owns Toronto-based Assante Wealth Management (Canada) Ltd.] Added Anderson: “We firmly believe that investors benefit from advice provided by a professional financial advisor and by supporting advisors with a platform to engage investors at all stages of their wealth-management journey, we foster a relationship that grows as the investor’s need for advice grows.”

WealthBar will continue to operate as a standalone business under the leadership of Tea Nicola, co-founder and CEO, Chris Nicola, co-founder and chief technology officer, and Neville Joanes, chief investment officer and chief compliance officer, all of whom retain an ownership interest in the firm.

“CI’s independence and objectivity were important reasons for our decision to choose [the company] as a partner,” said Tea Nicola in a statement. “WealthBar has achieved rapid growth since our launch in 2014 and CI’s backing and resources will put us on a new growth trajectory as we build on our success in technology, client experience and products. We also see many exciting opportunities for the two firms to develop innovative new platforms and services throughout the CI.”

CI already had a stake in the fintech arena with the November 2017 acquisition of BBS Securities Inc., a Toronto-based firm that provides a wide range of brokerage and trading services to clients and also operates online discount brokerage Virtual Brokers.