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The former head of ScotiaMcLeod Inc. has joined independent brokerage Wellington-Altus Private Wealth Inc.

Rob Djurfeldt, a 28-year veteran of Bank of Nova Scotia, was appointed executive vice-president and senior investment adviser at Wellington-Altus on Sept. 1, where he will be responsible for adviser recruitment in Eastern Canada.

Mr. Djurfeldt departed ScotiaMcLeod last May. At the time, the leadership change was announced in an internal memo, with the reasons for Mr. Djurfeldt’s departure not mentioned. Craig Gilchrist, chief investment officer at Scotia Wealth Management, was named interim head of ScotiaMcLeod Inc. A permanent head has not yet been announced.

As bank-owned brokerages squeeze compensation models and increase revenue expectations, independent firms have found opportunities in acquiring larger books of business. Over the past two years, Wellington-Altus chairman and co-founder Charlie Spiring has acquired several investment adviser teams and executives from across the country.

Mr. Djurfeldt joined Scotiabank in 1991 as a wealth adviser in London, Ont. During his tenure, he moved into various branch manager and director roles, including time in Mexico City with the bank’s international wealth management division, before becoming the head of ScotiaMcLeod in 2015.

Mr. Djurfeldt said he met with several investment companies over the summer before meeting with Wellington-Altus co-founder Todd Degelman. The pair have a previous working relationship, having served together as rookie advisers with ScotiaMcleod.

“I was looking for a business model that really embraced an entrepreneurial culture for advisers, and allows them to be objective,” he said in an interview.

Mr. Spiring’s former boutique brokerage Wellington West Holdings Inc. was sold to National Bank Financial for more than $333-million in 2011. In 2017, Mr. Spiring – along with two original Wellington West advisers – left the bank and launched Wellington-Altus.

The wealth management firm has grown to $10-billion in assets under management with 43 investment teams in 16 cities across Canada.

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