Independent asset management firm Fiera Capital Corporation is to sell Bel Air Investment Advisors (Bel Air), its ultra high net worth private wealth platform, to Hightower Advisors (Hightower), one of the largest registered investment advisors in the United States.Concurrently, the Company has also announced the completion of the sale of Wilkinson Global Asset Management (WGAM), its New York-based private wealth investment manager, to Wilkinson Global Capital Partners LLC, pursuant to the call option entered into on 1 December, 2018.
“After thorough strategic review of our private wealth operations in the US and in light of the evolution of our private wealth business model, we elected to divest Bel Air and WGAM, two high quality businesses,” says Jean-Guy Desjardins, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. “These transactions are also a testament to our commitment to create value for our shareholders through disciplined capital allocation, which remains a key strategic priority for us.”
“Our competitive advantage in the private wealth space is predicated on our fully discretionary model and on providing clients unique and differentiated investment offerings through tailored and holistic portfolio solutions,” says Jean–Philippe Lemay, Global President and Chief Operating Officer. “The transactions announced today allow us to better align our remaining regional platforms for private wealth management and transition them to a globally integrated model.”
The aggregate selling price for both transactions is approximately C$81 million, excluding transaction costs, and is subject to a final working capital adjustment. For the last twelve-month period ended September 30, 2020, Bel Air and WGAM generated combined revenues of CAD74.3 million and incurred total expenses, excluding depreciation and amortisation, restructuring, integration and other costs and share-based compensation, of CAD62.3 million.
As at September 30, 2020, Bel Air and WGAM assets under management were approximately C$14.4 billion, of which approximately CAD2.1 billion will remain sub-advised by Fiera Capital.
The Company will receive the proceeds related to the sale of Bel Air upon closing, which is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.
With regards to WGAM, the Company has entered into a multi-year financing agreement and as such, proceeds from this sale will be received over time.
RBC Capital Markets and Stifel GMP served as financial advisors to Fiera Capital in the Bel Air transaction.