Sask credit unions among five in Canada included in $55B parnership with Desjardins, Cumis

January 3, 2018 Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The Canadian Press

Quebec credit union Desjardins Group is partnering with five credit union centrals across the country — including Saskatchewan — and insurer Cumis Group Ltd. to form Aviso Wealth, with more than $55 billion in combined client assets.

The new wealth management company will bring together the businesses of their subsidiaries, Credential Financial Inc., Qtrade Canada Inc. and NEI Investments. Leading the new organizations as chief executive will be Bill Packham, CEO of Qtrade Canada Inc. It will have its main offices in Toronto and Vancouver.

Aviso Wealth will be jointly owned by Desjardins and a limited partnership, including the Credit Union Central of Saskatchewan, the Atlantic Central, Central 1 Credit Union, the Credit Union Central of Manitoba, the Credit Union Central of Alberta and Cumis.

Credit Union of Saskatchewan — also known as SaskCentral — is owned by the province’s 46 credit unions. It serves as a liquidity manager and service supplier for Saskatchewan credit unions, offering everything  from car loans to mortgages to retirement planning.

SaskCentral CEO Keith Nixon said the move is about offering “a more integrated and stronger wealth management offering for credit union members.

“It’s just an example of the cooperative credit union system nationally to come together and bring scale and capability to an offering that is more competitive to other financial providers in the community,” he said.

Nixon added that Saskatchewan’s credit union customers should not expect their interactions with their banks to change.

“The credit unions members will still approach and access this new Aviso Wealth just as they did the services of Credentials or NEI previously and that would be through their individual credit unions, through wealth management advisors that are on staff with credit unions and/or online access that they would have previously enjoyed. So the real big difference is it’s pulling together those companies that previously were separated into one single provider.”

The credit union centrals represent about 300 credit unions across Canada. Ontario-based Cumis is owned jointly by Co-operators Life Insurance Co. and Central 1 Credit Union.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing additions.

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