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CI Financial Acquires $5 Billion Newport Beach Firm

CI’s deal with Corient Capital Partners comes as the Canadian firm released its 2021 Q4 earnings report, boasting significant gains through eight RIA acquisitions.

The Canadian wealth management firm CI Financial continued its multi-year expansion into the U.S. market this week by acquiring Corient Capital Partners, a Newport Beach-based firm specializing in ultra-high-net-worth clients based throughout the country that manages about $5 billion in assets.

CI Financial CEO Kurt MacAlpine lauded Corient as an exceptional firm with a “first-rate, highly dedicated team.” It was founded in 2015 and includes 24 full-time employees, working with a range of business executives, athletes, families and charitable foundations.

“The team’s extensive experience and success in serving ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families will deepen CI Private Wealth’s presence and expertise in this important segment, and Corient’s location in the Los Angeles region, one of the country’s largest and most dynamic economies, is a solid foundation for continued strong growth,” MacAlpine said about the deal.

The deal is CI’s 31st transaction in the United States, including 24 RIA transactions (not including Corient), two strategic investments in alt investment firms, and five sub-acquisitions completed by affiliated RIAs. The Canadian firm first entered the U.S. wealth management space in late 2019 by acquiring a 70% majority stake in the Phoenix-based Surevest Wealth Management. The Corient acquisition was assisted by Merchant Investment Management, which has been an equity investor in Corient since 2020.

The news on the acquisition came as CI announced its Q4 2021 earnings, touting record total assets of $384.1 billion, with a year-over-year increase of 65.9%. In total, the firm completed eight RIA acquisitions in 2021, with a combined asset total of $43.3 billion. At this point, the firm’s U.S. wealth management business includes $151.3 billion in assets only two years after its first U.S. deal. 

“During the year, we added $6.6 billion of new client assets, excluding market moves and M&A,” MacAlpine said about the earnings report. “This was the result of robust growth in wealth management and our best asset management flows in six years.”

Last September, the firm unveiled plans for a U.S. headquarters based in Miami, with a 20,000-square-foot office location designated for the Brickell Financial District. The office will be located in the 55-story Bricknell Office Tower, which is scheduled for completion this year, and CI expects to move in by 2023, filling the space with core C-suite executives and personnel. CI Financial would be the largest financial institution with its headquarters based in South Florida, according to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

The $5 billion acquisition of Corient is the latest in a recent run of multi-billion deals on the part of CI Financial’s U.S. wealth management division. In December, CI acquired the New York-based RIA RegentAtlantic, with $1 billion in AUM; the deal pushed CI’s U.S. assets over $100 billion only two years after making its first U.S. deal. 

The prior month, CI Financial acquired Gofen and Glossberg, a wealth management firm out of Chicago which was founded in 1932 and managed $7.5 billion in client assets, while in October, the Canadian RIA acquirer bought McCutchen Group, a Seattle RIA with $3.4 billion in AUM. The firm also began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in late 2020, and the firm was the largest strategic acquirer in the U.S. in 2020, according to Echelon Partners. 

The deal between Corient and CI Financial is expected to close in 2022’s second quarter; CI’s legal advisor in the deal was Hogan Lovells, while Ernst & Young Capital Advisors worked as Corient’s advisors, with Alston & Bird supplying legal advice to the acquired firm.

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