Guardian Capital acquires majority of Ontario investment counselling firm

By Greg Meckbach | June 28, 2022 | Last updated on June 28, 2022
2 min read
Shot of two businessmen shaking hands in an office

Guardian Capital Group Ltd. has purchased a 60% stake in Waterloo, Ont.-based private wealth manager Rae & Lipskie Investment Counsel Inc.

The deal adds about $1 billion in assets under management to Guardian’s wealth management segment, which had more than $8 billion in AUM and assets under administration before the transaction, a Guardian spokesperson said in an email to Advisor’s Edge. As of March 31, Guardian had a grand total — in both wealth management and investment management — of $53.1 billion in AUM and $30.5 billion in AUA.

The deal announced June 27 also expands the geographic footprint of Guardian’s private wealth segment, which currently has offices in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

Once the deal closes, current Rae & Lipskie management will retain a 40% stake. “All employees are expected to stay,” the Guardian spokesperson said.

Chairman and CEO Ken Rae (who founded the firm as Kenneth Rae Investment Counsel Inc., in 1988) is selling his ownership stake to Guardian “but remaining in a leadership role for the foreseeable future,” the Guardian spokesperson said.

Rae began his career with Canada Permanent Trust in Toronto. In 1968, he moved to Waterloo and worked for Mutual Life and Dominion Life before founding Advantage Investment Counsel in 1985, which he sold.

President and chief operating officer Brian Lipskie (who began his career with Wood Gundy in 1985 before joining Ken Rae in 1989) will retain a “significant” ownership interest and continue to lead the business. A group of senior staff and portfolio managers will also acquire shares in the company.

Rae & Lipskie “is deeply embedded in the Kitchener/Waterloo community, so while the majority of their base is made up of private clients, it also includes foundation and endowments,” the spokesperson said.

Guardian is “always considering such opportunities, and as we learned of this opportunity regarding a business with the strong industry reputation of Rae & Lipskie, we reached out,” the spokesperson added.

“With leaders Brian Lipskie and Ken Rae interested in succession planning, they were highly amenable to the option to secure the future of their businesses by partnering with us.”

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.

With files from Melissa Shin

Greg Meckbach