Close up of businessman hands making handshake - greeting, dealing, merger and acquisition concepts

Toronto-based Purpose Advisor Solutions, a business back-end provider for advisors and firms, is acquiring Wealthsimple for Advisors, the firm said Thursday.

The acquisition of the Wealthsimple subsidiary will strengthen Purpose’s turnkey wealth platform, CEO Jeff Gans said in an interview.

Purpose Advisor Solutions (PAS), which is majority-owned by Purpose Financial, provides digital tools for client relationship management, account opening and servicing, portfolio management, client reporting, compliance and trading.

The acquisition of Toronto-based Wealthsimple for Advisors (W4A) combines the two firms’ tech, teams and operational efficiencies to create one “advisor-centric” platform, a PAS release said.

“We’ll continue from the Wealthsimple side to provide the same capabilities that [advisors] get today, but we’ll be able to offer additional account and product types to their clients,” Gans said.

Advisors can “build out beyond just a referral agreement to their own independent portfolio management businesses,” and offer clients a “more robust full-service experience,” he said, noting W4A’s management partnerships, including with Forstrong Global Asset Management.

J-F Courville and Dave Nugent, respectively CEO and chief client officer at W4A, will join PAS as managing partners — an “incredibly important part” of the deal, Gans said.

Courville said the acquisition allows W4A and Wealthsimple to each strategically position themselves.

“Wealthsimple was really dedicated to the retail business,” he said, while W4A was growing and demanding resources and infrastructure. “The opportunity here was to make sure we had businesses that were not compromising but succeeding,” he said.

Beyond providing a turnkey business for independent advisors, Courville said the firm might help other institutions develop tech capabilities; however, he made clear that “we are not going to be running an MFDA or an IIROC dealer.” Some advisors with Wealthsimple’s MFDA firm, Wealthsimple Advisor Services, will choose to switch to W4A, he said.

Prior to the acquisition’s closing, advisors and clients will continue to be served by PAS and W4A, respectively, the release said.

Gans said the two firms will merge their platforms over the next three to six months, ensuring that the transition is a smooth one for advisors and clients.

“We want to make sure we spend time with advisors to understand [their] requirements so that it’s a really easy move for them,” he said.

PAS has more than $500 million in assets, Gans said, with two partnership-based portfolio management firms currently using the platform: Vancouver-based Foundation Wealth Partners and Toronto-based Harness Investment Management, a subsidiary of Purpose Financial.

Earlier this week, Wealthsimple launched a new spending account called Wealthsimple Cash.