Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Manulife acquires Wellington West arm

Adds financial advisers to securities team

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TORONTO -- A little more than a year after Wellington West Capital was acquired by National Bank, its financial-planning division is being acquired by Manulife Financial.

The Winnipeg-based mutual-fund distribution operation has about $900 million in assets under administration. Its Wellington West Capital Inc. division -- an investment arm active in the energy and mining sectors, with about $9 billion under administration -- was rebranded National Bank Financial last November and was not part of the deal announced Wednesday.

No financial terms for the transaction were released on Wednesday.

"This transaction allows us to build on our position as one of Canada's premier investment firms and reflects our commitment to independent financial advice in Canada," said Rick Annaert, chief executive of Manulife Securities.

"There is a natural cultural fit between our two firms. We're looking forward to serving the needs of Wellington West Financial Services' clients and financial advisers."

The deal will add 39 financial advisers to Manulife Securities (TSX:MFC).

Wellington West Financial Services provides personal and corporate financial-planning services through its network of independent financial advisers in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.

The acquisition will create a team at Manulife Securities of more than 1,250 independent advisers with $20 billion in assets under administration. Manulife Securities' advisers provide independent financial planning and investment-management services to individuals, families and business owners.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012 and is subject to regulatory approval.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Manulife shares were up 10 cents at $11.30 in afternoon trading Wednesday, while shares in National Bank, which reports second-quarter earnings today, were up $1.01 at $75.66.

-- CP, with files from staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 30, 2012 B5

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