Canada Life purchases wealth manager IPC from sister company IGM Financial

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Canada Life Assurance Co. – a subsidiary of Great-West Life – will purchase Investment Planning Counsel for $575-million in an all-cash deal from its sister company IGM Financial.

IGM Financial Inc. IGM-T and Great-West Lifeco Inc. GWO-T have struck a deal that will see independent wealth manager Investment Planning Counsel Inc. change hands while IGM snaps up a 20.5-per-cent stake in US giant Rockefeller Capital Management.

The deal, which was announced on Monday, will see Canada Life Assurance Co. – a subsidiary of Great-West Life – purchase Investment Planning Counsel for $575-million in an all-cash deal from its sister company IGM Financial. The deal will see Canada Life add more than 650 investment advisers who manage about $32-billion in assets. IGM and Great-West are both subsidiaries of the Montreal-based Power Corp.

At the same time, IGM will spend about US$622-million to become the second-largest shareholder in independent financial advisory firm Rockefeller Capital Management, while Connecticut-based Viking Global Investors LP will remain the lead shareholder. IGM has secured short-term financing of $850-million, of which $550-million is a term loan and $300-million a bridge facility. (The bridge loan will be repaid with the sale of IPC.)

IGM will obtain two board seats, as well as the opportunity to increase its equity interest in the future. The Rockefeller family – which opened the first single family office in the United States in 1882 – will also increase its current investment in Rockefeller Capital by an undisclosed amount.

IGM said in a release that the Rockefeller deal would see the company expand south of the border.

“Purchasing an ownership stake in Rockefeller is a risk-smart entry to the US market,” IGM chief executive James O’Sullivan said in a statement. “Moreover, it has the potential to drive meaningful earnings growth for IGM over time.”

Rockefeller managed more than US$100-billion, as of March 31.

Great-West Lifeco reports fourth-quarter earnings of $892-million, raises dividend 6%

Members of the Rockefeller family and the Desmarais family (who are majority owners of Power Corp. of Canada) have had long-standing personal relationships over the decades. In recent years, Rockefeller Capital Management has worked with Power Corp. of Canada and its group of companies on numerous occasions, including advising on acquisitions.

The deals – which are subject to regulatory approvals – are expected to close at the end of 2023.

Great-West Life has completed a handful of acquisitions in recent years as the insurer continues to expand its reach into the wealth management industry – predominately in the United States. In June, 2020, the Canadian insurer’s subsidiary Empower Retirement spent US$1-billion to purchase online wealth manager Personal Capital.

Three months later, Empower bought the retirement business of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., adding US$167-billion in assets. In July, 2020, Empower boosted its US presence further, with a US$4.45-billion deal to buy the retirement business of Prudential Financial Inc.

The addition of Investment Planning Counsel is Canada Life’s first purchase of a Canadian securities-licensed dealer. Canada Life CEO Paul Mahon told The Globe he has had his eye on IPC – and other investment dealers – for more than a year.

“People obviously think about our roots being in life insurance, but the reality is Canada Life is a diversified financial services provider in Canada,” Mr. Mahon said. “So, this is really building an even stronger wealth management proposition where we can take more of a leadership position.”

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