Broker Northland loses top two

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The Independent Online

The City stockbroker Northland Capital Partners has been thrown into turmoil by the departure of its UK chairman and managing director.

The Independent has learnt that Stuart Lane and Tim Metcalfe left the company last week following a disagreement with the group's Canadian owner.

In 2010 Northland, a Toronto-based brokerage, acquired the London stockbroker Astaire for £2.45m. The City-based unit now employs about 30 people and is an adviser to 40 to 50 UK clients, including the AIM-listed Churchill Mining, Touchstone Gold and James Latham.

It is understood that Northland's Canadian management will be arriving in London this week to explore options for the unit.

Northland declined to comment. However, the news is likely to be seen as the latest sign of upheaval in the broking industry.

On Friday, the US broker Cantor Fitzgerald agreed to buy parts of Seymour Pierce, the 168-year-old stockbroker that fell into administration.

Pierce, which was part-owned by the football financier Keith Harris, had been hit by falling revenue and fees and was understood to have debts of between £3m and £4m.

The deal was the latest overseas takeover of a UK stockbroker, after the Canadian broker Canaccord paid £253m for Collins Stewart Hawkpoint last year.