Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Bay Street in the financial district in Toronto.

Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

There are early signs that boutique investment banks are staging a rebound after years in the wilderness.

Two independent firms grabbed a slice of the investment banking fees in Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd.'s $1.13-billion acquisition of precious metals assets from Orion Mine Finance Group. The cash-and-stock deal, which was announced Monday, sent Osisko's share price almost 14 per cent higher to $16.35. With the deal, Osisko will add a diverse roster of cash-generating assets to its portfolio.

Independent investment bank Maxit Capital LP is Osisko's lead financial adviser and also produced a fairness report for Osisko's board. BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., National Bank Financial Inc. and PricewaterhouseCoopers were also named as advisers for Osisko. On the other side the deal, Orion turned to CIBC World Markets Inc. and boutique Haywood Securities Inc. for financial advice.

Story continues below advertisement

The win for the boutiques goes against the conventional narrative of big banks muscling out their smaller brethren on billion-dollar-plus deals.

Toronto-based Maxit was founded in 2013 by veteran investment banker Bob Sangha. The firm shuns the traditional model of a full-service investment bank, offering only advice. Maxit does not have a sales and trading desk, and it does not write traditional research reports. The firm makes the claim that its advice is conflict-free, because it is not chasing a fee for underwriting a bought deal, which some allege puts full-service dealers in a conflicted position. Mr. Sangha's relationship with Osisko goes back about a decade, when he worked for BMO. Mr. Sangha continued the relationship during his tenure with Dundee Securities, now known as Eight Capital. After Maxit was set up, the boutique advised Osisko on its $408-million (U.S.) acquisition of Virginia Mines Inc. in 2014.

"They are an outstanding firm. They provide great advice," Bryan Coates, president of Osisko, said in an interview.

In 2014, Osisko worked alongside Maxit to fend off a hostile takeover attempt from industry behemoth Goldcorp Inc. The company, then known as Osisko Mining Corp., instead agreed to be acquired by Yamana Gold Inc. and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.

"They are very well experienced and respected in the mining circle," Mr. Coates said of Mr. Sangha and Maxit's managing partner, Sandeep Singh.

While Osisko is one of Maxit's top clients, the firm has also landed lucrative advisory mandates with Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd., Alamos Gold Inc. and Premier Gold Mines Ltd. over the past few years.

Around 50 boutiques either went out of business or were acquired in distressed sells during the latest commodities slump that ran roughly between 2013 and 2016. A rebound in the commodities sector over the past 18 months has helped reinvigorate the independent sector.

Story continues below advertisement

In 2017, GMP Securities LP advised Eldorado Gold Corp. on its $590-million deal for Integra Gold Corp., while Haywood worked on a smaller tie-up between Luna Gold Corp. and JDL Gold Corp.

As mutual fund fees continue to come scrutiny, advisors may need to prepare for a rise of commission-free investing options.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the authors of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies