Desjardins Group has inked definitive agreements to purchase Guardian Capital Group’s Worldsource brand of mutual fund, investment distribution and insurance businesses for C$750 ($552m).

The deals include Guardian’s insurance arm Idc Worldsource Insurance Network (IDC), mutual fund dealer Worldsource Financial Management (WFM) and a full-service investment firm Worldsource Securities (WSI).

These three units currently cater to over 5,000 independent advisors in Canada’s insurance and financial advice industries.

The move will help Desjardins to have over $2bn in life insurance premiums as well as $43bn in assets under administration in the sectors of mutual funds, segregated funds and securities.

As part of the transaction, minority shareholders of IDC will receive a portion of the total value of the deal.

Once the deal is closed, Desjardins will run the acquired entities as stand-alone businesses, which will continue to be headed by their existing management and employees, stated the firm.

Subject to customary closing conditions, such as regulatory approvals, the deal is scheduled to be completed by the first quarter of next year.

Desjardins Group president and CEO Guy Cormier said: “This acquisition strengthens Desjardins in the important life insurance and wealth management sectors across Canada.

“On the insurance side, it extends our market reach and positions us as a leader in life insurance independent distribution in Canada. On the financial advisory side, the mutual fund and securities dealers will enhance and strengthen our distribution of retail investment products.

“With this added bench strength, Desjardins will be able to serve more Canadians and achieve critical mass to generate the financial flexibility to innovate and invest to better meet the needs of our members, clients and advisors.”