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Griffiths McBurney & Partners Corp. confirmed Thursday its plans to go public in the first initial public offering by a major Canadian investment firm in almost a decade.

As reported in Thursday's Globe and Mail, the Toronto-based investment firm said its partners have approved the move, which would see common shares of a newly formed company, GMP Capital Corp., offered for sale.

GMP will acquire the business now carried out by Griffiths McBurney & Partners and its subsidiaries as part of the offering.

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"We believe that access to the capital markets will enhance our competitive position, afford us greater opportunity to grow our existing business and allow us to expand into new businesses that complement our current operations, including retail distribution and merchant banking," Griffiths McBurney chief executive officer Kevin Sullivan said in a statement.

A prospectus related to the offering has been filed with securities regulators in Canada.

The offering will be sold through a syndicate of underwriters led by CIBC World Markets and including Griffiths McBurney & Partners, BMO Nesbitt Burns, Dundee Securities, Canaccord Capital, Haywood Securities, McFarlane Gordon and Sprott Securities.

The move makes Toronto-based Griffiths McBurney the first Canadian investment firm to launch an IPO since Montreal's Marleau Lemire Inc. in 1994.

The firm was founded in March, 1995, by securities lawyer Eugene McBurney along with partner Brad Griffiths. Mr. Griffiths departed as CEO in 1999, with Mr. McBurney filling the chairman spot.

Today, Griffiths McBurney is a leading Canadian independent investment dealer with a focus corporate clients and institutional investors. The firm engages in investment banking, sales and trading and research activities, with 41 partners and 105 employees in offices in Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Geneva, Switzerland.

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