Desjardins, Cumis to partner for new wealth management firm

The Desjardins Group and a partnership of Canada’s five provincial credit unions and the Cumis Group Ltd. are set to merge their subsidiaries to create a new wealth management firm, Aviso Wealth.

The deal will make Aviso Wealth one of the country’s largest wealth management firms with more than $55 billion in combined client assets and more than 500,000 clients. The subsidiaries are Credential Financial Inc., which is owned by the credit unions and the Cumis Group, Qtrade Canada Inc., owned by Desjardins, and NEI Investments, owned by Desjardins and the credit unions.

Read: Desjardins buys Qtrade shares

Aviso Wealth will be co-owned by Desjardins and a limited partnership made up of the Cumis Group and the credit unions. The Cumis Group is jointly owned by the Co-operators Life Insurance Co. and Central 1 Credit Union, while the partnership of credit unions represent about 300 credit unions across the country.

Current Qtrade Canada chief executive officer Bill Packham will be chief executive officer of the new company, and its main offices will be located in Toronto and Vancouver with regional outlets spread across Canada.

“Each of the three combining companies is successful on its own, but the combined organization will be much stronger, with greater potential for growth, profitability and innovation than the existing companies could achieve on their own,” said Packham in a statement. “In today’s competitive financial landscape, building a coalition between credit unions and successful wealth partners has become more important than ever.”

Read: The Co-operators, Reformulary Group announce strategic alliance

“The financial needs of Canadians are evolving, and we need to adapt to meet these needs while supporting the values of the cooperative sector,” said Garth Manness, chief executive officer of the Credit Union Central of Manitoba. “We know that our members make a conscious choice when investing with their credit union. Our goal is to ensure that choice gives them access to excellent investment planning and advice, lower management fees, and the products and services that best meet their needs.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.