Fiera Agrees to Buy Bel Air, Wilkinson O’Grady in U.S. Expansion

Fiera Capital Corp., the Canadian money manager looking to double its assets, agreed to buy wealth-management firm Bel Air Investment Advisors LLC and investment manager Wilkinson O’Grady & Co. for about $156.3 million to expand in the U.S.

The agreement to buy Los Angeles-based Bel Air, including its affiliate Bel Air Securities LLC, and New York-based Wilkinson O’Grady adds C$8.5 billion ($8.1 billion) in assets under management to Fiera’s private-wealth unit, the Montreal-based firm said today in a statement.

“We see tremendous growth potential in the U.S. private-wealth market and these transactions fit perfectly with our plan to create value by becoming a leading North American investment-management firm within the next five years,” Fiera Chief Executive Officer Jean-Guy Desjardins said in the statement.

Fiera has sought to increase assets through internal growth and acquisitions, including its purchase of Natcan Investment Management from National Bank of Canada last year. Desjardins said in a May interview that he’s seeking to double the firm’s assets to C$150 billion by adding smaller U.S. companies.

The Bel Air brand will operate under Fiera Capital Private Wealth North American division and will be led by Bel Air’s senior managing partner Todd Morgan, who becomes chairman of the unit.

The two latest U.S. acquisitions will “generate low double-digit accretion” to Fiera’s adjusted earnings per share next year, the company said.

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