Pershing pushes northward

New Canadian affiliate joins Toronto Stock Exchange to execute and clear trades

Sep 20, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

By Dan Jamieson

Pershing LLC has begun what it hopes will be a major push into Canada.

The company announced last week that its new Canadian affiliate, Pershing Securities Canada Ltd., has become a member of the Toronto Stock Exchange. This move will let Pershing execute and clear trades in Canadian securities for its U.S. customers, and allow it eventually to clear and custody for Canadian customers.

The planned first step for the new affiliate is to clear and execute Canadian securities within Pershing for U.S. institutional customers, said Francis La Salla, the Pershing managing director responsible for international operations.

“The next step [for Pershing Securities Canada] is a fully disclosed institutional business, then retail,” Mr. La Salla explained.

Pershing has been executing transactions in U.S. securities for Canadian firms for the past 30 years.

The new affiliate will “allow us to speak to Canadian broker-dealers to handle their clearing business,” he said.

Pershing plans to build a physical presence in Toronto to support its clearing and custody business, but has yet to open an office.

“It wouldn't surprise me if we brought in people by the end of next year, subject to our ability to get volume,” Mr. La Salla said.

Pershing will face an “oligopoly” of large banks that dominate the investment industry in Canada, said Dan Hallett, a vice president and director at HighView Financial Group in Oakville, Ontario, an independent advisory firm.

“I can't remember the last time someone set up an independent [broker-dealer] shop in Canada,” he said. “It's gotten tougher and tougher because of the increased regulatory regime.”

But some new independent advisory firms have opened over the past few years in Canada, Mr. Hallett added. These firms are similar to multifamily office firms in the U.S.

“Firms like ours always need platform partners,” he said.

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