CI Financial Investment sets up alternative asset manager GLASfunds for next phase of growth

After more than a decade of work in the field of alternative investment, GLAS Fund caught the eye of one of Canada’s largest wealth management firms, which is looking to grow its US investor base.

Equipped with an undisclosed investment of CI Financial Corp., which in November acquired a 30% stake in GLASfunds – “GLAS” stands for Great Lakes Alternative Strategies – this small Cleveland company is poised for its next stage of growth.

“We’re fortunate that we don’t really need growth capital,” said Michael Maroon, founder and managing partner of GLASfunds. “With no need for it, we were able to be patient and seek strategic partners if anything came up. So we’re really excited to be getting into the race.”

Through the technology-based GLASfunds platform, Maroon explains, advisors for high net worth and very high net worth clients can aggregate client capital and invest in alternative assets, such as private equity and hedge funds, through a table. digital dashboard that streamlines the process and reduces the paperwork typically required to run a portfolio of personalized alternatives.

Its clients are RIAs (Registered Investment Advisors), whose own clients are becoming increasingly sophisticated and interested in how their money is invested. This prompts asset managers to present more options to clients, including customizable portfolios with exposure to specific private market funds that they might not otherwise have access to.

It is an attractive platform for CI Financial, which has the possibility to buy a majority stake in GLASfunds over the next four years.

Kurt MacAlpine was appointed CEO of CI Financial in 2019. Since then he has guided the growth of the company through a three-pronged strategy focused on modernizing asset management, expanding wealth management and the general globalization of business.

The agreement with GLASfunds supports all of these efforts.

The company contacted Maroon about a partnership because it “felt that GLASfunds had built an exceptional company with a solid reputation in the industry and an excellent avenue for continued growth,” according to a spokesperson.

“Alternative assets are an increasingly important part of investing today, and having an execution platform like GLASfunds is a fundamental fundamental part of our strategy in this space,” MacAlpine said in a statement. . “Making this investment will allow us to deliver a better customer experience, which is extremely important as we work to create the premier wealth manager for high net worth and very high net worth clients in the United States.”

CI Financial is on a acquisition frenzy with MacAlpine at the helm. In two years, the company made 25 acquisitions of RIA in America as part of the strategy to locate its activities here.

With the deals, CI Financial said its wealth management business in the United States represents total assets of approximately $ 98.7 billion. Its global assets total approximately $ 283.9 billion.

GLASfunds has approximately $ 524 million in regulatory assets under management, according to its latest public report deposit. The company brings in approximately $ 1.1 billion in contract assets and contract assets combined.

Over the past two years GLASfunds has grown from five full-time employees to 11, plus a few additional part-time contract employees for data and software engineering.

The company also doubled its downtown office space during this period to 5,500 square feet. It plans to achieve 43% revenue growth by the end of this year.

CI Financial’s investment will help the company further develop its platform and add even more staff. There is no specific workforce that Maroon seeks to reach. But the positions he’ll hire for are in areas like software engineering, coding, and investor relations.

“We’re really developing a model that can have a lot of room to deal with more investments, more clients and more underlying managers,” said Maroon.

New work on this front-end dashboard for investment advisers has been underway for at least a year. Such a platform, which could be useful to both advisors and their clients, underscores the direction Maroon is taking for the industry.

“This should really improve our offerings,” Maroon said of the work on the GLASfunds platform. “And in my opinion, this should be expected in the market at the top level to transact, which helps make the job of the advisor much easier.”

But the desires of investors are what ultimately motivates GLASfund’s work.

“In high net worth and very high net worth industries in particular, there is a growing need for alternatives in portfolios, which we plan to increase as they become more accessible. GLASfunds is helping to solve the accessibility problem, ”said a spokesperson for CI Financial. “Access to alternatives is a key offering that can be difficult to deliver on a large scale for some consulting firms. GLASfunds helps make alternatives much more available to RIAs – and ultimately their customers – through its turnkey, digitized and streamlined approach. “

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