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A Bay Street sign is seen at the financial district in Toronto, October 10, 2008.MARK BLINCH/Reuters

Energy expert Dan Tsubouchi's departure a few weeks ago from GMP Securities prompted a feeding frenzy in Calgary, as other investment banks tried hard to lure the long-time oil and gas financier. In the end, Mr. Tsubouchi's choice will surprise many.

Amid rumours that he would join firms such as Dundee Securities and Canaccord Genuity, he has gone a different way.

He is headed to the smaller boutique brokerage of Haywood Securities, attracted by the partnership culture and the chance to build an oil and gas franchise from its roots. Mr. Tsubouchi is now head of investment banking at Haywood.

As much as markets and the business have changed in recent years, "one thing that has worked pretty well is the partnership, so I wanted to go somewhere where the employees own 100 per cent," he said.

Mr. Tsubouchi, 58, started at GMP when it was employee-owned, long before it transitioned to a publicly traded company. By the time he left, he was one of the last long-time partners in a top role at GMP, which is undergoing a generational shift. (Here's a link to what Streetwise wrote when he left GMP ) A team is already assembling under Mr. Tsubouchi at Haywood to cover the energy business. The firm also brought in Jeff Reymer, as managing director in investment banking with a focus on global energy. Mr. Reymer is a veteran of Wellington West, another partnership, and National Bank Financial, which bought Wellington.

Darrell Bishop, also late of National Bank Financial, becomes energy research analyst. Michael Dilay joins the trading desk, after a stint as head of sales and trading at Casimir Capital in Toronto.

There's an international exploration and production bent to the new team, a bet on the fact that some Canadian banks don't cover that area as thickly as the domestic producers, while global securities firms tend to ignore Canadian-based international plays. That said, look for Mr. Tsubouchi to start to add other areas of expertise, including domestic E&P.

"They are committed to building a top oil and gas franchise," Mr. Tsubouchi said.