CI Financial Corp. and WealthBar Financial Services Inc. announced Dec. 14 that they have reached an agreement under which CI Financial will acquire a majority stake in WealthBar, an online wealth management and financial planning platform.

"WealthBar has developed a best-in-class digital advice platform with industry-leading tools and services and a superior client experience," said Peter W. Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of CI Financial. "The addition of this technology and expertise will accelerate the development of CI's comprehensive digital strategy, which is focused on innovation, operational efficiency, advisor productivity and client experience across all of our businesses in asset management and wealth management."

Supporting advisors with a platform to engage investors

CI Financial says this acquisition will broaden the range of services and platforms it offers investors and advisors. "For example, we see great potential in providing advisors with the option of a digital platform to serve their clients," Anderson said. "We firmly believe that investors benefit from advice provided by a professional financial advisor, and by supporting advisors with a platform to engage investors at all stages of their wealth management journey, we foster a relationship that grows as the investor's need for advice grows."

"We are delighted to enter this strategic partnership," said Tea Nicola, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of WealthBar. "CI Financial is a strong company. Their independence and objectivity were important reasons for our decision to choose them as partners. WealthBar has achieved rapid growth since our launch in 2014 and CI Financial's backing and resources will put us on a new growth trajectory as we build on our success in technology, client experience and products. We also see many exciting opportunities for the two firms to develop innovative new platforms and services throughout the CI Financial group."

WealthBar will continue to operate as a stand-alone business under the leadership of Tea Nicola, Chris Nicola and Neville Joanes, all of whom are retaining an ownership interest in the firm.

The transaction is expected to close in January 2019. Terms were not disclosed.