Thursday, October 1, 2009

Industrial Alliance enters SRI space through acquisition of Inhance

IA Clarington, a subsidiary of Industrial Alliance, has announced plans to purchase the SRI mutual fund business of Inhance Investment Management from its current owner, Vancity, one of Canada’s largest credit unions.

The purchase price was not released, but the proposed deal also involves a long-term distribution agreement between Industrial Alliance and Vancity, under which IA Clarington funds will be available through Vancity’s 60 retail branches in British Columbia.

Founded in 2001, Vancouver-based Inhance offers six SRI funds: a balanced fund, a Canadian equity fund, a global leaders fund, a monthly income fund, a bond fund and a money market fund. Inhance has approximately $75 million in assets under management.

According to a statement released on Thursday, Industrial Alliance will create six new IA Clarington SRI funds through a merger with the Inhance fund family.

Inhance vice president Dermot Foley, fund manager Stephen MacInnes and other key members of the company’s investment team will remain with Vancity after the transaction closes, acting as sub-advisors for the new IA Clarington SRI funds.

"The addition of Inhance's SRI mutual fund business represents a natural evolution of IA's commitment to corporate social responsibility and a continuation of IA's "best-of-breed" investment philosophy through the addition of a top-rated Canadian SRI investment advisor," said Normand P├ępin, executive vice-president of Industrial Alliance in a statement. "It also provides access to a new distribution network in western Canada made up of experienced financial advisors."

Vancity president Tamara Vrooman calls the deal an excellent opportunity for both Vancity and Inhance. “Vancity will retain Inhance’s renowned team of advisors who pioneered socially responsible investing and, by partnering with IA Clarington, will see socially responsible investments brought to a much wider marketplace,” she said.

The transaction is expected to close in December, pending unitholder and regulatory approval.

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