Briefing

Scotiabank open to acquisition to boost wealthy customer base

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Glen Gowland, executive vice-president of global wealth management, said the bank is looking to build an investment-handling division in the U.S., or buy an existing firm, to bring more assets under management and attract ultra-high-net-worth clients. (Bloomberg)

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Talking point: Scotiabank has used such acquisitions to grow its Canadian wealth management client base, like the institutional investors and high-net-worth families brought in via the $950-million deal for Jarislowsky Fraser in February 2018 and the $2.6 billion acquisition of doctor-serving MD Financial in May 2018. Other Canadian financial institutions like Manulife have also started expanding their services for the super-wealthy. Wealth management brought in 12 per cent of Scotiabank’s earnings in each of the last two fiscal years, and it wants to raise that to 15 per cent. Gowland expects that part of its business to grow faster outside Canada, in markets like Chile, Peru, Columbia and Mexico. A big buy in the U.S.—a country with a large ultra-wealthy class—would help.