Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Financial whiz casts global net

Pavilion CEO acquires Brockhouse

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Marty Weinberg is going global.

The CEO of Pavilion Investment House, a Winnipeg-based holding company of financial services firms, has completed a deal to acquire Brockhouse Cooper, a Montreal-based investment consulting and securities trading firm. It has operations in 50 countries around the world and advises on more than US$300 billion in assets under advisement.

"This is a new beginning for all of us. It's our first big acquisition in years," Weinberg said.

Weinberg burst onto Canada's financial services scene in the mid-'90s when he founded investment boutique Assante Corp. and led it on an aggressive acquisition spree of manufacturers and distributors across Canada and then into the sports and entertainment field in the United States. It culminated with the sale of the Canadian operations to CI Fund Management for $846 million in 2003.

Brockhouse Cooper is a different type of acquisition for Weinberg and his team. One side of its business works with predominantly Canadian pension plans to help them find investment managers to manage their money, while the other is a 24-hour securities trading division, which buys and sells on 50 stock exchanges around the world.

Weinberg said he's confident he'll be able to work with Brockhouse Coopers to expand its international footprint further.

"They've been operating in the international markets for more than 40 years. With the recent (economic) turmoil, particularly in Europe, the Middle East and South America, we believe there is a tremendous opportunity to recruit and acquire partners that have a local presence and understand their markets," he said.

Weinberg said the addition of Brockhouse Cooper would provide Pavilion's clients with access to in-depth research and a proprietary database of managers where more than 4,400 investment mandates are tracked.

"It gives us access to the best of the best in terms of trading efficiency, too," he said.

Brockhouse Cooper will continue to operate as a separate company under the Pavilion umbrella, led by its president and chief financial officer, Howard Messias. He said its approximately 60 employees have been looking for the right partners since the company's founders announced their intention to exit the business two years ago.

"In Marty and his team, we saw a group that had been successful in financial planning. We felt taking our institutional focus and marrying it with the experience they had in growing and integrating businesses would be the right move," Messias said.

As with Assante, Weinberg said Pavilion plans to be active on the acquisition front. "This is the first step to grow Pavilion into a global financial services firm," he said.

The strategy may even require taking part of the company or a new entity public at some point, he said.

"If we're going to buy more businesses, we're going to need money. There's only so much (internally)," he said.

Pavilion has about 100 employees across Canada, including 30 in Winnipeg.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 29, 2010 B5

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