Financial Horizons Group announced three acquisitions on Friday. These transactions mark a continued expansion of the Kitchener, Ont.-based managing general agency’s (MGA) insurance distribution platform as well as a foray into the mutual fund distribution space.
The firm announced the purchase of two mutual fund dealers, Sherbrooke, Que.-based Excel Private Wealth, and Perth, Ont.-based Certika Investments Ltd., as well as Montreal-based MGA Groupe CMA.
The fund-dealer acquisitions of Excel Private Wealth and Certika are Financial Horizons’ first entry into the mutual funds space.
“If we’re going to be a national financial planning firm – which we are – we want to offer as many opportunities for advisors as possible. This is one that we were missing,” John Hamilton, president and CEO of Financial Horizons Group, said in an interview with investmentexecutive.com on Friday. “It’s a whole new platform of growth for us.”
Excel Private Wealth is registered with the Autorité des marchés financiers for group savings plans, scholarships, financial planning and exempt market, and is registered in Ontario as a mutual fund dealer. The company says it focuses on providing tax-effective investment solutions with reduced management costs for individuals, affluent families, management companies and family trusts.
Financial Horizons had acquired Excel’s insurance division, Force financière Excel, in 2012.
Financial Horizons will maintain the Excel Private Wealth brand, Hamilton said, and the management team, office and staff of Excel will remain unchanged. James McMahon, CEO of Excel Private Wealth, will continue to be responsible for the operations of the company.
“We look forward to a strong partnership that will further enhance our offerings to our advisors,” McMahon said.
Certika (formerly Family Wealth Advisors Ltd.) is a mutual fund dealer registered in Ontario and Quebec. It was purchased as part of Financial Horizons’ acquisition of R.G. Packman & Associates Ltd. in March. The firm didn’t formally announce the acquisition until Friday.
Certika will eventually be merged with the Excel Private Wealth division of the business, Hamilton said.
The acquisitions mean that Financial Horizons advisors across the country will gain access to a mutual fund distribution platform. However, Hamilton said, the firm will not put any pressure on advisors to switch dealers.
“We’re not asking them to change from their current dealer,” Hamilton said. “But if they don’t have a dealer, and they’re getting into [mutual funds], then we obviously can offer it. The opportunity is there for existing advisors to take advantage of if they wish.”
Meanwhile, the Groupe CMA transaction, which is expected to close in October, strengthens Financial Horizons’ presence in Quebec considerably. The firm has 1,000 independent financial planners and advisors.
“It certainly is a significant addition for us in Quebec,” Hamilton said. “It makes us the largest MGA in Quebec.”
Normand Caty, CEO of Groupe CMA, will join Financial Horizons as executive vice president, Quebec division. The management and staff of Groupe CMA will remain unchanged.
“We must widen our markets and business volume to ensure our growth and competitiveness,” Caty said. “Joining forces with Financial Horizons Group is the ideal solution.”
Groupe CMA’s group savings plan branch had already merged with Excel Private Wealth in 2013. Following the completion of the transaction, Financial Horizons’ Montreal office will merge into Groupe CMA’s Montreal office.