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Investment dealer Echelon Capital Markets is betting on an extended rally in mining stocks by hiring two veteran specialists in the sector in recent weeks.

Toronto-based Echelon, an independent investment bank that focuses on raising money for small to mid-sized companies, hired Robert Lee as a managing director and head of institutional equities last week. In mid-July, the firm also hired deal maker Jason Yeung.

The two mining experts join the firm at a time when gold mining stocks are soaring on the back of surging bullion prices – in Canadian dollar terms, gold is up 26 per cent this year.

“The additions of Robert Lee and Jason Yeung substantially embolden our mining sector expertise while we witness one of the strongest precious metals markets in a decade,” said Echelon managing director and co-head of capital markets Karanjit Bhugra.

Mr. Lee spent two decades on the equity sales desk at RBC Dominion Securities Inc., specializing in advising clients on mining stocks. For the past three years, he worked at Red Cloud Securities Inc., a Toronto-based boutique investment bank focused on the mining sector.

“Institutional equity desks are attempting to keep relevant to clients through moves such as increasing sector specialization in sales and trading,” said Bill Vlaad, chief executive of Vladd & Co., an executive recruitment specialist in the finance sector. He said that the overall trend in equity sales, trading and research teams is to do more with less, with investment dealers using more technology and fewer people to service fund managers.

Echelon hired Mr. Yeung as a mining-focused investment banker and managing director. He was formerly with GMP Capital Inc., Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. and Desjardins Securities Inc.

Echelon Capital Markets is a division of Echelon Wealth Partners Inc.

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