TORONTO (March 26, 2021) – CI Global Asset Management (“CI GAM”) today announced that unitholders have approved proposed changes to its First Asset-branded mutual funds, including two fund mergers and the introduction of fixed administration fees. The changes, which were first announced on January 18, 2021, were approved at unitholder meetings held on March 25, 2021.
Unitholders and securities regulators have approved the following two fund mergers (the “Mergers”):
On or about April 16, 2021, First Asset Utility Plus Fund and First Asset Canadian Dividend Opportunity Fund will be terminated and unitholders will receive the equivalent dollar value of securities in the equivalent series of the corresponding continuing funds. The Mergers will not result in a taxable disposition for unitholders, but the terminating funds may pay a distribution when the mergers take place.
In each case, the terminating and continuing funds have the same CI GAM portfolio management teams. Both First Asset Utility Plus Fund and Signature Global Infrastructure Fund are managed by Kevin McSweeney and Massimo Bonansinga, and both First Asset Canadian Dividend Opportunity Fund and CI North American Dividend Fund are managed by Peter Hofstra. In addition, the management and administration fees of the continuing funds are lower than the management fees and operating expenses of the corresponding terminating funds.
CI GAM is undertaking the Mergers to reduce duplication in its fund lineup and to create larger, more efficient funds with increased potential for diversification opportunities. The costs and expenses associated with the Mergers are being borne by CI GAM and not the funds.
Fixed administration fees
Unitholders of First Asset Canadian Convertible Bond Fund and First Asset REIT Income Fund also approved the adoption of fixed administration fees for the funds. Effective on or about April 16, 2021, CI GAM, as manager, will be responsible for the operating expenses of each fund, other than certain expenses, in exchange for the payment by each fund of a fixed administration fee. As a result, the management expense ratio (“MER”) of each fund series will consist of the management fee, the fixed administration fee, certain expenses and applicable taxes.
The benefits to unitholders of fixed administration fees include greater predictability and transparency of the MER for each fund, as well as protection from potential increases in future operating expenses. CI GAM first implemented fixed administration fees in 2005 and the practice has since become widely used within the Canadian fund industry.