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Euro Pacific Canada, the Canadian branch of U.S. broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital, is officially up and running after Canadian regulators granted the required securities approvals.

The firm's journey started about a year and a half ago when the Canadian team approached Peter Schiff, who heads the U.S. operation, with plans to expand north of the border.

The new Canadian broker-dealer will focus on the resource sector and agricultural commodities, targeting companies looking to raise $5-to-$20-million. Historically firms like GMP Capital and Canaccord Genuity have played in this space, but Euro Pac's management say these players have grown and now target bigger names, creating more room in the smaller cap space.

At the moment Euro Pacific Canada's management includes Russell Starr, who was most recently in institutional equity sales at Scotia Capital; Rob Furse, who put together resource sector private placements at Integral Wealth Securities; and David Cusson, who co-founded Integral Wealth Securities and Canadian ShareOwner Investments.

The three men operate without any U.S. hands in the Canadian operations, but they abide by Mr. Schiff's investing philosophy. Key tenets include investing in hard assets like precious metals, targeting government securities from countries with strong reserves, like Norway, and capitalizing on the growth potential of emerging economies. Investors who feel the same way will soon be able to have their money managed by Euro Pac in Canada.

But attracting clients could be difficult. The banks are targeting wealth management to supplant lower investment banking and trading revenues, and rival independent shops like Canaccord Genuity and GMP are ramping up their retail operations. That will also make it difficult to hire investment advisers.

South of the border, the Euro Pacific Capital has 55 brokers and north of $2.5-billion (U.S.) in retail assets.

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