Close of businesswoman making announcement in paper trumpet

Despite another quarter of net redemptions, CI Financial Corp. reported record earnings of $0.66 per share in Q4 2019, thanks to a reduction in discretionary expenses and a rebound in retail sales.

During the quarter, CI cut its selling, general and administrative expenses — primarily on the asset management side of the business — to $113.8 million, down from $123.5 million a year earlier.

In a release announcing the firm’s Q4 results, Kurt MacAlpine, CEO at CI, said the belt-tightening was “a result of right-sizing our business to reflect the current industry environment.”

CI’s Canadian retail business had $0.4 billion in net redemptions (down from $1.9 billion in Q4 2018), while its institutional business had $1.5 billion in net redemptions. Canadian retail net sales (excluding closed products) improved by $1.9 billion year over year.

Assets under management (AUM) were $132.1 billion at the end of the quarter, up from $124.4 billion a year earlier.

CI First Asset ETFs’ AUM grew by $4.2 billion during the year, reaching $8.6 billion by the end of Q4. CI’s previously announced acquisition of WisdomTree Canada, scheduled to close later this month, is expected to push the firm’s ETF AUM past the $10-billion mark.

Assets under advisement — which include the assets of Assante Wealth Management (Canada) Limited, Stonegate Private Counsel and WealthBar Financial Services Inc. — reached a record $49.8 billion, up 19% from a year earlier.

CI’s quarterly earnings of $0.66 per share were up from $0.57 a year earlier.