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Michael Katchen, CEO of Wealthsimple.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Power Financial Corp.’s online financial services company Wealthsimple Technologies Inc. is closing its last international office after selling its British operations to London-based digital wealth manager MoneyFarm.

Wealthsimple announced this week it will transfer 16,000 U.K-based customers to MoneyFarm by the end of January, and no longer provide support to those accounts.

No financial details of the deal were disclosed.

The book of business – about £272-million ($457-million) in assets under management – was launched in 2017, the same year chief executive officer Michael Katchen announced plans to expand the Toronto-based company globally, which included opening a U.S. office.

Four years later, Mr. Katchen has flipped on that plan, saying he now wants to concentrate on the Canadian retail market and move into other domestic areas of financial services.

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Earlier this year, the company sold its U.S book of business – with just less than US$200-million in assets – to New York-based robo-adviser Betterment Holdings Inc.

Mr. Katchen’s renewed focus on Canada began in early 2020, when he sold the company’s business-to-business division, Wealthsimple for Advisors, to Purpose Advisor Solutions, a subsidiary of Purpose Financial LP.

“Our strategy for the past couple of years has been to focus on the unique opportunity we have to become the financial institution of choice for the future majority of Canadians,” Mr. Katchen said in an e-mail. “This focus is why we made the decision to sell our books of business in the U.S. and U.K..”

The company first launched in Canada as a robo-adviser in 2015, providing automated wealth-management services over the internet that design an investor’s portfolio based on age, financial goals and risk tolerance.

In 2018, the company began to shift beyond digital portfolio-management services, adding a high-interest savings account and tax-filing service.

But the biggest driver of growth recently has been its online digital stock-trading platform, Wealthsimple Trade, which launched in 2018, and offers direct access to cryptocurrencies and zero-trading commissions.

Mr. Katchen says while his plans in Canada are “more ambitious than ever,” he will look to global expansion opportunities again “when the time is right.”

“For now, we remain focused on serving Canadians with simpler, more human financial services.”

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