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Asset manager Guardian Capital Group Ltd . is boosting its presence in the retail wealth management industry with the purchase of BNY Mellon ’s Canadian-based wealth management business.

The deal, which closed on Monday, adds more than $5.5-billion of assets to Guardian’s wealth management division and will see BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Advisory Services Inc. renamed Guardian Partners Inc.

No financial details of the transaction were released.

Doce Tomic, head of wealth management for Guardian, will take on the role of chairman of GPI, while Guardian’s head of private wealth Anthony Messina has been appointed president of GPI.

“We believe that the addition of Guardian Partners is an exciting opportunity to enhance our offering and commitment to the ultra-high-net-worth and family office segments,” George Mavroudis, president and CEO of Guardian, said in a statement.

Guardian Capital, which currently manages about $46-billion of assets, has largely focused on institutional clients including pension funds, foundations and endowments. The deal will help expand its offering to retail investors – specifically ultra-high-net-worth families who account for a large portion of the newly acquired $5.5-billion in assets.

Ultra-high-net-worth accounts typically have more than $30-million in investable assets and can include multiple generations of family wealth.

Servicing Canada’s richest people remains a competitive landscape for independent wealth managers, but the competition is starting to get smaller. There are 157 independent brokerage firms in Canada, according to the Investment Industry Association of Canada. That’s down from just more than 200 firms that were operating five years ago.

This is the second deal in recent months for Guardian Capital. Last year, the asset manager purchased a 70-per-cent stake in Agincourt Capital Management LLC, a Virginia-based investment manager with about US$7-billion in assets.

Also last year, in order to gain greater access to the retail market, Guardian Capital’s investment division launched an exchange-traded fund business in the fall, listing five actively managed ETFs on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The ETF products were designed with retail clients in mind, with specific funds for those investors facing challenges in their decumulation years when Canadians need to prolong their investment portfolios with less risk.

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