2022 is “slower year” for RIA M&A: CI Financial’s MacAlpine


After a rollicking year for mergers and acquisitions of registered investment advisers in 2021, this year is turning out quite differently, according to Kurt MacAlpine, CEO of CI Financial, the Canadian wealth management firm that has turned the investment advice industry on its ear for the past couple years with its frantic pace of buying RIAs.

Since entering the U.S. wealth sector in early 2020, CI has become the country’s fastest-growing wealth management platform. Its U.S. wealth management business has grown to become CI’s largest business unit by assets, with close to $146 billion at the end of March.

CI has done nearly three dozen acquisitions over that short time, and last month announced that it intends to file an initial public stock offering for its U.S. wealth management unit.

But M&A activity is slowing this year, MacAlpine told analysts Thursday morning during a conference call to discuss first-quarter earnings.

“As it relates to RIA acquisitions and as I’ve said all along, 2021 was a very unusual year,” MacAlpine said. “We’ve announced two transactions in the U.S. this year, one of which won’t close until the fourth quarter. We’ve absolutely slowed down the pace of the acquisitions.”

CI’s currently focusing more time on the integration of its varied business lines and potential share buybacks, he said. The company also reduced its debt by $246 million in the first quarter.

“It’s certainly a slower for year for M&A and acquisitions as well,” MacAlpine added.  

CI reported total assets of $361 billion at the end of March, up 54% when compared to the same time last year, when it reported $234.7 billion.

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