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CI Financial Corp. President Stephen MacPhail speaks during the annual general meeting of shareholders in Toronto March 25, 2010.

MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS

Investment powerhouse CI Financial Corp. is stepping into the exchange-traded funds business with the acquisition of First Asset Capital Corp.

CI Financial Corp. said Friday that it will acquire 100 per cent ownership of First Asset Capital Corp., a Toronto-based, privately owned investment firm with about $3-billion in assets under management.

"We are excited about the growth potential of actively managed ETFs and we will be working with First Asset to build on its leadership in this sector," said Stephen MacPhail, president and chief executive officer of CI Financial, in a statement. "In addition, First Asset provides CI Financial with a future distribution platform for its actively managed investment products, including access to an ETF platform."

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First Asset will be run as a subsidiary of CI Financial and run as a separate business under its current name and under the direction of Barry Gordon, First Asset's president and CEO and the First Asset management team. First Asset will continue to market and service its own products, which include 42 actively managed and factor-based ETFS as well as a suite of mutual funds and closed-end funds.

"We were looking for a parent company that could really take us to the next level and provide us with a strong distribution network, active investment management talent and economy of scale," said Mr. Gordon.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close by Dec. 31. Finanical terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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