Scotiabank wins vote on CI Financial rights plan

Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:08pm EDT

* Shareholders to vote on plan on June 1

* Scotiabank owns about 36 pct of CI

TORONTO, April 29 (Reuters) - The Toronto Stock Exchange has backed the right of CI Financial's (CIX.TO) largest shareholder, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), to have a vote on whether the independent wealth manager can keep a takeover defense plan in place for another three years.

The shareholder rights plan is aimed at preventing a hostile takeover of the independent wealth manager and prevents Scotiabank, which owns just over 36 percent, from selling a block of 20 percent or more of CI shares.

Independent shareholders of CI will vote on June 1 on an extension of plan at the annual meeting this year. Scotiabank, which is not an independent shareholder under the terms of the plan, had been blocked from voting.

"We are shocked that the Toronto Stock Exchange has decided to favor the Bank of Nova Scotia and impose this change on CI's other shareholders," CI Financial said in a statement late on Friday.

Scotiabank, Canada's No. 3 lender, asked the Toronto Stock Exchange on April 1 to require CI to give the bank the right to vote on the continuation of the plan.

The bank is seen as a likely seller of CI after it bought the 82 percent of rival DundeeWealth DW_pa.TO that it did not already own for C$2.3 billion ($2.4 billion) in November.

DundeeWealth manages about C$84 billion in assets. CI has around C$98.9 billion in assets under management.

Scotiabank bought its stake in CI from Sun Life (SLF.TO) in 2008 and, until it bought DundeeWealth, many analysts were betting it would eventually buy up the rest of the firm as it looked to increase its footprint in the wealth management sector.

($1=$0.95 Canadian) (Reporting by Pav Jordan; editing by Rob Wilson)

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