BMO picks up AIG Life business

By Scot Blythe | January 13, 2009 | Last updated on January 13, 2009
2 min read

BMO Financial Group is expanding its presence in the advisor channel with the acquisition of AIG Life of Canada.

The deal adds 300 employees and 400,000 customers to BMO’s insurance operations. It also gives BMO access to 5,000 life brokers across Canada through AIG’s relationships with managing general agents.

“This acquisition is a perfect extension of our existing wealth management offering and our goal to become the one-stop location for all our clients’ financial and investment needs,” said BMO Financial Group president and CEO Bill Downe in a statement. BMO will pay $375 million.

The purchase complements the services offered though the 800 life-licensed brokers at BMO Nesbitt Burns, he added.

“It’s a complete add,” says Byren Innes, senior vice-president and director at NewLink Group. “They don’t have an advisor-based distribution force.”

BMO and AIG both have strong direct-to-consumer operations, where Innes thinks there will be synergies. But BMO has not had a presence in the advisor market, nor access to sophisticated insurance products, such as universal life.

“So they get product capability, they get distribution, they get access to the MGA marketplace, they get a whole lot of scale,” he explains.

For his part, Peter McCarthy, AIG Canada’s president, said, “Our management team is very excited about becoming an integral part of one of Canada’s premier financial institutions.”

The deal is set to close on June 1, and AIG’s Canadian life operations will be integrated into BMO Insurance as BMO Life Insurance over the next six to 12 months.

Filed by Scot Blythe,,


Scot Blythe