May 11, 2017 / 7:04 PM / 6 months ago

Power Financial invests C$50 million in 'robo-adviser' Wealthsimple

TORONTO (Reuters) - Power Financial Corp (PWF.TO) has invested C$50 million ($37 million) in “robo-adviser” Wealthsimple, bringing its total investment in the 2-year-old financial technology company to C$100 million, they said on Thursday.

Toronto-based Wealthsimple provides automated investment advice to consumers and helps manage personalized portfolios based on responses to an online questionnaire about investment goals. It entered the U.S. market at the end of January.

The robo-advice business was pioneered by fintech startups that, like Wealthsimple, have touted themselves as low-cost, easy-to-use alternatives to traditional investment firms. Competition has heated up as large established companies, including Charles Schwab Corp (SCHW.N) and Vanguard, have followed them into this area.

Targeting young, first-time investors, Wealthsimple has marketed its service with its “money diary” profiles of celebrities.

The company said it now has more than 30,000 clients in Canada and the United States, up from 20,000 in late January, investing more than C$1 billion in exchange-traded funds.

Power Financial, a Canadian holding company whose subsidiaries include Great-West Life and other insurers, has invested more than C$250 million in financial startups. Last fall it funded Portag3 Ventures, which invests in the fintech sector.

($1 = 1.3654 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Solarina Ho in Toronto; Editing by Jim Finkle and Lisa Von Ahn

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