By different routes, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Royal Bank of Canada have found their way to near the peak of a top-heavy Canadian mutual fund industry.

Toronto-based CIBC announced plans late last week to buy Merrill Lynch & Co.'s Canadian retail brokerage and asset management units. The deal, expected to close by January, would bring CIBC 1,000 brokers and 41 mutual funds with $2.96 billion of assets.

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