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Great-West Life acquires Financial Horizons Group

By The IJ Staff | May 19 2017 12:20PM

Great-West Life has entered into an agreement to acquire Financial Horizons Group, one of Canada’s largest Managing General Agencies, announced Great-West Lifeco today.

Financial Horizons Group serves customers across Canada through 30 offices and a network of 6,600 active advisors. The business was established in 1990 by John Hamilton, President and CEO, who will continue to lead the business in his current capacity.

"As part of our Canada transformation, we are committed to investing in new capabilities for our business," said Stefan Kristjanson, Great-West Life's President and Chief Operating Officer, Canada. "This strategic acquisition gives our organization a strong presence in the growing independent MGA sector of the Canadian market."

Management team to remain in place

"We recognize the importance of the independence of Financial Horizons Group, and are pleased that the existing management team will remain in place and continue running the business," Kristjanson said. He also confirmed that Great-West Life intends to continue to support Financial Horizons Group's active consolidation strategy, which has resulted in the acquisition of 30 MGA businesses over the past six years under its majority ownership by Genstar Capital, a San Francisco-based private equity firm.

Hamilton said, "This is a tremendous endorsement of our business model, and excellent news for our advisor network. In Great-West, we have a strong parent that is committed to investing in the business, and that understands the importance of our independence.  Financial Horizons Group will continue to operate with its own governance and board of directors, ensuring that supplier company relationships remain integral to Financial Horizons Group's growth. Essentially, it will be business as usual."

Completed in the coming months

The acquisition, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed by June 30, said Hamilton in an interview with The Insurance and Investment Journal.

Last fall, The Insurance and Investment Journal revealed that Genstar Capital had decided to sell its stake in Financial Horizons. According to informed sources, Genstar owned 75% of Financial Horizon’s equity while the MGA’s executives held the remaining 25%.

Hamilton confirmed that Great-West Life has purchased 100% of Financial Horizon Group’s equity. He would not disclose the financial terms of the agreement.

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