“Canadians will benefit immensely from not only the investment expertise, but from knowing that their trusted advisor is always available.”
The new platform, called Assante Connect, will be built with WealthBar’s robo-advisor technology. WealthBar provides low-cost investing options through diversified portfolios, financial planning tools, and an online investor dashboard. Assante Wealth Management, itself an online investing platform that pairs portfolio managers with digital advice services, said this partnership will widen the scope of its advice offering through using WealthBar’s technology.
“What makes Assante Connect distinct is the combination of leading-edge technology and award-winning portfolio management at a competitive price,” said Chris Nicola, president and chief technology officer of WealthBar. “Canadians will benefit immensely from not only the investment expertise, but from knowing that their trusted advisor is always available.”
Assante’s platform offers users diversified portfolios, access to portfolio managers, daily portfolio monitoring, and 24/7 access to investments. Assante Connect’s model portfolios will be constructed using actively managed exchange traded funds issued by First Asset Investment Management Inc. Users will not be charged commission or fees on any trades that occur within a user’s portfolio. The platform does require a 0.4 percent investment management fee.
WealthBar was founded by Tea and Chris Nicola in 2014, offering a suite of investment services that combine technology with human advisors. The startup said its hybrid model provides the opportunity for engagement between clients and advisors and a more personalized investment experience.
The startup raised $5.5 million in 2016, led by Nicola Wealth Management, and in February 2018, launched a robo-advising solution for independent financial advisors. The newest platform will be availably exclusively to Assante’s clients.
“Assante Connect will broaden the reach of our advice by leveraging technology and an appealing and accessible digital experience combined with advice from experienced financial professionals,” said Sean Etherington, president of Assante. “What we’ve heard from clients is that over time their needs and the level of support they desire changes. This platform provides Assante advisors with the flexibility to stay connected with these clients and adapt to their evolving goals and complexity.”
Earlier this year, WealthBar was acquired by CI Financial, which offers global asset management and wealth management advisory services, through which WealthBar continued to operate as a stand-alone business. Assante supports 850 advisors, who oversee approximately $45 billion in assets for 300,000 clients in Canada.
“Pairing online investing with wealth management advice is essentially a new segment in Canadian financial services and CI Financial is uniquely positioned to lead this space with our state-of-the-art digital platform and leading advisory firm in Assante,” said Kurt MacAlpine, CEO of CI Financial. “Assante Connect combines two of our wealth management businesses, enabling clients to access the expertise and services they need in the way that is most convenient for them, while supporting advisors in serving a broader range of clients more effectively.”
Image courtesy WealthBar