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Beacon Securities looks to crack Bay Street Add to ...

After 24 years of running a securities boutique focused on the east coast, Halifax-based Beacon Securities is taking a crack at the rest of Canada.

Financier Lonsdale Holland launched Beacon in 1988 and built a business with a strong Atlantic base. Today, there is a string of retail advisers, an equities business focused on companies based in the region and even a bond desk with a presence in provincial debt issues. It’s all the elements of an integrated firm, but without much presence elsewhere in the country.

As Mr. Holland’s son, Daniel, looked at what to do after he came back from working overseas to join Beacon, he had three choices: Sell the business, stay at home in Atlantic Canada, or grow. He chose the third, which meant opening an office in Toronto.

The plan is to hire as many as 30 people. It’s a big bet at a time when many in the brokerage industry are barely scraping by amid a huge drop in equity trading volumes and a slow market for financings.

Daniel Holland said his plan is to focus on a wide range of industries, not just oil, gas and mining, where many boutique brokerages specialize. He said that portfolio managers have told him there’s a dearth of new ideas, so if Beacon can bring some, there should be profits to follow.

“There are great ideas,” he said in an interview. “You are going to have to work hard to make them happen and investment managers will reward you.”

New partners in recent weeks include industry veterans Alistair Maxwell, who joined as chairman and chief executive, and Richie Donohue, who came on as head of equity capital markets.

On Wednesday, the firm unveiled more new faces, including former Northland Capital head trader Tony Oram, who becomes head trader. In Calgary, Kirk Wilson joins as a managing director in investment banking after spending time as an analyst at another firm. Stuart Raftus, who has had senior roles at numerous financial firms, becomes president and chief operating officer.

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