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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, September 27, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

  • Harbourfront receives a nine-figure investment and transaction value of CAD $425 million from US private equity group, Audax Private Equity; proceeds and a special pre-investment dividend have been distributed to Harbourfront’s shareholders.
  • Harbourfront sells a partial interest in its business to provide the first round of liquidity to its shareholders while validating that its innovative business model is amongst the most valuable in the Canadian financial services industry.  
  • Audax Private Equity’s resources and support will accelerate Harbourfront’s growth plans, which include advisor recruitment and additional acquisitions, among other plans.

Vancouver, British Columbia, September 27, 2022 – The Harbourfront Group of Companies (“Harbourfront” or the “Company”), which includes Harbourfront Wealth Management Inc. (Harbourfront Wealth), a Canadian independent wealth management and planning advisory firm, today announced the close of its previously announced strategic investment from Audax Private Equity (“Audax”), a leading US-based strategic partner that specializes in the middle market. The transaction successfully closed on September 9, 2022, pursuant to regulatory approval.  

 In a release issued earlier this year, Harbourfront disclosed it secured a nine-figure investment from Audax which represents an estimated enterprise value of CAD $425 million. Prior to the transaction close, the firm disbursed a special dividend to its shareholders, primarily made up of the Company’s investment advisors.  

The partnership and investment serve as an accelerant of the firm’s continued expansion and next phase of growth. Harbourfront’s management team will remain the key decision-makers of the firm’s growth strategy and operations.  

“Harbourfront’s executive leadership team and growth model are strong and unparalleled to what we’ve seen from firms in the Canadian investment advisory space, and for this reason, we knew investing in Harbourfront was a sound decision. We plan to support Harbourfront in fully realizing its goals, which include aggressive growth plans across the Canadian market,” said Bill Allen, Managing Director at Audax.  

Harbourfront’s next phase of growth and immediate plan of action will include: 

  • Complete add-on acquisitions 
  • Sustain rapid organic growth through advisor recruitment 
  • Maintain employee engagement and ownership  
  • Invest further in the firm’s technology and 
  • Add additional executive expertise to the Company’s leadership team.  

Notable participants of the transaction include Lynn Stibbard, CFO and COO of Harbourfront. 

 “Audax underwent an extensive due diligence process prior to finalizing the transaction with Harbourfront, which speaks to the high quality of our people and investment solutions that we’ve created and grown over the last 10 years. This investment represents recognition and validation of our unique independent model and that it is valued in the wealth management industry,” said Lynn Stibbard, CFO and COO of Harbourfront. 

Initially introduced by Raymond James in August of 2021, Harbourfront selected Audax as its best-fit partner earlier this year after an in-depth assessment and evaluation of additional contenders.  

Additional participants include Fasken, Stikeman Elliot LLP, Kirkland & Ellis, KPMG International LTD, Blake, Cassels & Graydon, Bain & Company, Audax Group, and Antares Capital. 

 “We’ve always been extremely well-capitalized, so we never sought out any investors but when Raymond James’ Investment Banking team approached us to survey the private equity market, we realized bringing on a third-party investor would validate our thesis, creating a catalyst for an accelerated rate of growth.  Over the last 10 years, we’ve changed the lives of our clients through our exclusive retail service offerings and now, with this first liquidity round, we’ve changed the lives of our advisors who took the leap and joined us.  Advisors are realizing that Harbourfront is disrupting the industry with one of the best client offerings and the ability for advisors to be partners at a firm that rapidly creates value for shareholders,” said Danny Popescu, CEO of Harbourfront.