Quebec City-based Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. (IA) announced on Tuesday that it has acquired Toronto-based Bank of Montreal’s (BMO) group savings and retirement division.
The acquisition of BMO Group Retirement Services Inc. expands IA’s market share in the group savings business, according to Renée Laflamme, executive vice president, group benefits and retirement solutions with IA.
“In the group savings and retirement business, as well as all of our group businesses, we are looking for growth, and we have a clear plan of aggressive organic growth, but we are also looking for acquisition opportunities,” says Laflamme. “There are not that many [acquisition opportunities] in the marketplace, so this fits very well in what we’re trying to achieve in increasing our volume of business.”
BMO Group Retirement Services provides recordkeeping and administrative services for defined-contribution pension plans and group retirement savings plans.
The deal follows BMO’s sale of its U.S. retirement services business, Milwaukee-based BMO Retirement Services, to Indianapolis, Ind.-based OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc. last year.
IA declined to disclose the volume of assets included in the acquisition.
The companies agreed to the transaction earlier this year. The transition of clients began in March and is being carried out over a 120-day transition period, after which BMO Group Retirement Services will be wound up.
For clients, the acquisition will mean a new range of investment options.
“[There will be] different alternatives, in terms of investments, and new tools — electronic tools and web-based tools that will be available to the plan sponsors as well as the plan members,” Laflamme says.
Group savings and retirement represents a key area of growth for IA. At the end of 2015, the company had funds under management of $11.8 billion in the group savings and retirement division, up by 4% from $11.3 billion in 2014, according to the company’s 2015 annual report. Total sales in the division increased by 33% in 2015 from 2014.
“IA is definitely looking at growing the group savings and retirement business, and investing in solutions for pensions, for the plan sponsors and the participants,” Laflamme says.
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