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Canaccord Capital’s Peter Brown is retiring from the brokerage he founded in the late 1960s

One of the originals of Canadian finance is calling it a career, as Peter Brown steps down from his last roles at the company he founded, Canaccord Genuity Group Inc.

Mr. Brown built Canaccord from tiny beginnings in the late 1960s, when the firm focused on financing mining and resource companies on the Vancouver Stock Exchange, into a company that would become the largest independent brokerage firm in the country. In recent years, the firm has become increasingly international and moved upmarket. Today, the firm deals with large companies across all sectors, and Mr. Brown is a member of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

He cut the figure of the garrulous financier, never afraid to state his opinion in a gravelly voice and vivid terms. There's a story – apocryphal perhaps, but with a ring of truth – that some of the firm's original capital came from winnings at card games.

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He was a fixture on the Vancouver scene as Canaccord rose in prominence. Outside the firm, he was on the board of the organization that brought to Vancouver the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and was vice-chairman of Expo '86. He remains heavily involved in the Fraser Institute think tank and is vice-chairman of the Investment Industry Association of Canada.

In recent years, Mr. Brown had stepped back from operating roles. He ended a 40-year run as chief executive officer in 2006. He remained as chairman. His most recent title was honorary chairman, and he retained a seat on the board.

The firm announced his resignation with an internal memo from chief executive officer Paul Reynolds.

"As many of you are aware, Peter founded and played a key role in the development of the firm over nearly five decades of service," Mr. Reynolds said. "On a personal note, Peter has been a strong source of friendship and support in the 28 years we have worked together, an experience I have in common with many of my colleagues."

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