Updated: PEAK joins with Customplan

By Vikram Barhat | January 11, 2013 | Last updated on January 11, 2013
2 min read

In a transaction described as a “partial acquisition,” PEAK Financial Group has joined forces with Customplan Financial Advisors Inc., one of the largest MGAs in Western Canada.

Technically, it’s not a merger or an acquisition because each partner retains links to its own insurance companies, explains Robert Frances, president and CEO of PEAK Financial Group.

“We may have stumbled on a very interesting way for an insurance MGA to retain its independence and its existing business, yet be part of a larger national entity,” he says. “In this transaction we might have figured out how to [collaborate] in a way where everyone’s happy.”

Under the terms of the arrangement, Customplan will transfer all its technology and certain client portfolios to PEAK, but preserve areas such as business development and regional activities conducted for their advisors.

“They could retain their branch status and certain things they do, and yet sell some portfolios of their clients they want serviced out east,” says Frances.

For insurance advisors, the deal could mean greater stability and reach, without giving up autonomy.

“Insurance advisors now know they are part of a national insurance dealer that’s very strong and is here to stay,” says Frances. “Advisors like that because they know there’s stability and they’re really happy to see their independence is protected.”

Byren Innes, senior vice president and director of NewLink Group, agrees advisors will greatly benefit from the deal.

“Both [companies] strive to add value to their advisors and help them build their business,” he says. “Peak’s roots [are] in Montreal and Customplan’s in Vancouver and Calgary; this brings together two strong firms with deep local knowledge.”

The transaction doubles the size of PEAK Insurance Services, the insurance dealer, which was created almost 15 years ago and has offices in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“This transaction is undeniable proof of our growth in the insurance sector and our favourable positioning,” says Frances.

Peak’s latest round of expansion comes three years after acquiring Promutuel Capital and five years after purchasing AXA Financial Services.

“Peak’s vision, commitment and values are literally identical to our own and will allow Customplan Advisors to enhance their activities in mutual funds and securities in a climate where their independence will be fully respected,” says Karl Krokosinski, president and CEO of Customplan Financial Advisors.

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Vikram Barhat