* CI CEO says many U.S. firms already pitching to him
* Says more asset management firms coming up for sale
By John McCrank
Sept 22 The slump in equity markets is taking a
toll on many smaller North American asset managers, creating a
buyers' market for firms looking for acquisitions, the chief
executive of CI Financial (CIX.TO) said on Thursday.
CI, Canada's No. 3 investment fund company, is interested
in making some small, "tuck-in" acquisitions, possibly adding
to its distribution network for its institutional business in
both the Canadian and U.S. markets, Stephen MacPhail said at
the CIBC Eastern Institutional Investor Conference in
He said the current market turmoil will surely create some
casualties and could lead to some good deals.
"I can say that just from the number of U.S. firms that are
coming up and pitching me on different opportunities - because
I have made it clear that if there is the right opportunity in
the U.S., we would look at it - there are going to be some
opportunities," he said.
Any potential deal for CI would have to be one that does
not carry too much risk, he added.
"We don't have any secret sauce that we can turn a bad
business into a good business," he said. Even so, he said, CI's
scale enables it to take unprofitable businesses and make them
CI's total assets, which include mutual, segregated, and
hedge funds, separately managed accounts, structured products,
pooled assets, and assets under administration, were just under
C$100 billion at the end of its last reported quarter.
The Toronto-based firm, which is around 36 percent owned by
Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), bought the Canadian mutual funds
business of Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG.N) in
December 2010. It paid an undisclosed amount for the business.
In Canada, McPhail expects to see more firms in the
alternative asset management space to start coming onto the
Ideally, CI will pursue small deals that complement its
global money management operations, or that will provide
additional distribution for its institutional business, he
said, rather than having to build anything from scratch.
"It's going to be an interesting market over the next
(Reporting by John McCrank)