MISSISSAUGA, ON, Jan. 3, 2018 /CNW/ - Knowledge First Financial and Heritage Education Funds today announced that Knowledge First has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Heritage Education Funds. The two companies will create the largest RESP provider in Canada with approximately $6.2 billion in assets under management. Knowledge First is owned by a not-for-profit Foundation, while Heritage is privately held.
Each company brings more than 50 years of helping Canadians across the country save for post-secondary education through RESPs. With complementary strengths and multiple national sales channels, the two companies will be well positioned to achieve their common goal of assisting Canadians to prepare for the continued rising cost of education.
"We are very pleased to bring together these two strong, long-standing RESP financial institutions," says George Hopkinson, President and CEO, Knowledge First Financial. "We believe the combined size and scale of these two organizations will enable us to meet a growing need for RESP specialists who are dedicated to helping families maximize their education savings. RESPs make a huge difference to Canadian students and this is our single focus."
"Only 50% of Canadians have an RESP and the majority of those families do not save enough to benefit fully from all the government grants that an RESP provides," says Scott McIndless, Chair of the Board of Directors, Heritage Education Funds. "A strong national presence is an important strategy to raise awareness of the benefits of an RESP."
While historically known for selling group plans, Knowledge First Financial changed its path with the introduction of the Flex First individual plan in 2012. The Flex First RESP is now the flagship product of choice for new Knowledge First customers. A unique offering from a scholarship plan dealer, the Flex First RESP is a flexible, dollar-based investment that provides an individual versus pooled approach for Education Assistance Payments. A goal in combining Knowledge First and Heritage is to build on this success by expanding the distribution of the Flex First RESP across Canada with a sales force of more than 1,600 licensed representatives.
Through market research, consumers contributed to the development of the Flex First RESP as a solution that aligns with the changing education landscape. "The way students will access post-secondary education will continue to evolve," said Donald Hunter, Chair of the Board of Directors, Knowledge First Foundation. "As a leader in the RESP category, we have the important task of ensuring Canadians have continued access to education through innovative product choices."
The Heritage Plans will continue to be distributed and managed as they are today. The combined business will operate under the name Knowledge First Financial Inc., which will continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Knowledge First Foundation. The Foundation is a not-for-profit Canadian corporation that reinvests its net revenue in initiatives that support student success. For example, since 1965 the Foundation has provided students with nearly $50 million in additional discretionary top-up payments and has awarded more than $1 million in post-graduate scholarships.
George Hopkinson will continue as President and CEO and will lead the integration of the two businesses. Jason Maguire, the current President and CEO of Heritage, will join Knowledge First as Managing Director and assist in the integration.
The acquisition closed January 2, 2018.
The acquisition is not expected to have any impact on subscribers or beneficiaries to either the Heritage Plans or Knowledge First Plans. Blair Franklin Capital Partners Inc. is serving as financial advisor and Wildeboer Dellelce, LLP is acting as legal counsel to Knowledge First.
About Knowledge First Financial
Canadian families have relied on education savings plans offered by Knowledge First Financial for more than 50 years. Today the company provides sound financial management and administers $3.72 billion in assets on behalf of more than 250,000 customers. Since 1965, payments from the plans have reached $3.6 billion.
Knowledge First Financial Inc. is the investment fund manager, administrator and distributor of the Registered Education Savings Plans.
About Heritage Education Funds
Heritage Education Funds is a leading and trusted Canadian provider of Registered Education Savings Plans, with over 50 years of RESP experience. Focused on offering value to its clients, Heritage is also the distributor of the Heritage and Impression Plans. Heritage Plans have $2.5 billion in assets under management and payments from the plans have exceeded $1.5 billion since 1965.
SOURCE Knowledge First Financial
For further information: Corey Michaels, Smithcom Limited, Tel: 416-894-4704, [email protected]; Suzanne Martyn-Jones, Vice-President, Marketing & Communications, Knowledge First Financial Inc., Tel: 905-281-4984, [email protected]