IGM CEO Says Wealthsimple Validates Power’s Fintech Strategy

This week’s fund-raising round for online brokerage Wealthsimple Inc. shows how Power Corp. of Canada’s fintech investments will pay off for the financial conglomerate, IGM Financial Inc. Chief Executive Officer James O’Sullivan says.

Not only are those investments profitable in their own right, as Wealthsimple’s surging valuation illustrates, but they keep managers at Power Corp.-controlled companies, such as IGM, “alert” and thinking about the future for their industry, O’Sullivan said in an interview Friday.

Wealthsimple raised C$750 million ($617 million) this week from venture capital firms and private investors including rapper Drake and actor Ryan Reynolds. IGM is the largest shareholder, with a 23% stake worth about C$1.15 billion.

“It’s tremendous exposure not just to the business as it exists today, but to the business as it might exist three years or five years down the road,” O’Sullivan said in an interview. “That interaction between our management team and the management team at these fintech companies that we have investments in is very, very valuable.”

Wealthsimple, which offers online trading and automated-investing platforms, raised the money at a $4 billion valuation, more than triple what it was worth in October.

Wealthsimple’s rise has helped lift IGM’s stock to a 30% gain so far this year. The Winnipeg, Manitoba-based asset manager hasn’t gained 30% over a full calendar year since 2013; its shares are below where they were before the financial crisis.

Power’s venture-capital arm, Portag3 Ventures, also has investments in Conquest Planning, which offers a financial-planning platform, and Koho, which sells a suite of online financial services.