BofM buying Freeman Welwood for $140 million

The Bank of Montreal continued buying wealth-management businesses Thursday by announcing it intends to spend $140 million to acquire Freeman Welwood, a Seattle-based brockerage firm.

"The acquisition of Freeman Welwood significantly increases our direct brockerage capabilities in the U.S. market and provides the scale to further expand our electronic and full-service brockerages and private banking in the United States," said Tony Comper, the Bank of Montreal's chief executive.

The Freeman Welwood purchase will add 90,000 accounts to the Bank of Montreal's direct brockerage client base in the U.S.

It continues the bank's expansion into the U.S., following the purchases last year of Harris InvestorLine and this year's acquisition of Village Banc of Naples, a Florida-based operation.

Adding Freeman Welwood its wealth-management fleet brings the Bank of Montreal another $7 billion in assets under administration. The Freeman Welwood purchase awaits regulatory approval.