In her three decades in the capital markets, Beth Shaw has established a number of milestones. She added to that list Monday when she was named head of equity capital markets at Echelon Wealth Partners, a firm aiming to be one of the leaders of the independent or non-bank owned, brokerage firms.

“Echelon is looking to grow to the next stage of their development in investment banking,” said Shaw, referring to the newly created position that sits between investment banking and equity sales and trading.

The idea is to enhance the current two-person syndicate function both internally and externally. Achieving the latter goal will be easier, but not necessarily easy, because of the relationships Shaw has established at other firms.

Even so, “what can you offer,” is a question that Shaw, who held a similar role at Desjardins Securities, will be frequently asked.

Indeed, her first responsibility will be to bring the Echelon name — and the $4 billion of assets that are managed by its retail brokers, as well as its research and institutional equity sales and trading capability — more to the attention of the rest of the Street.

That’s not a slam-dunk given that Echelon, which focuses on the small- to mid-cap part of the market, is not a lender to corporations. “We are not trying to cross sell our banking products,” she added. Instead the firm will offer “an independent perspective and independent advice.”

In this way, Shaw’s experience in working with a number of independent firms is what Echelon needs. “I have the type of experience they need,” she said.

Shaw has her admirers. “She excelled at her job. She was well-versed in the capital markets, a real professional who was detail oriented and very capable,” said John Nagel, the former head of preferred share trading at Desjardins Securities and a colleague of Shaw’s for 13 years. Nagel added that Shaw has been a “mentor” to many women in the capital markets given that she is an active member of Women in Capital Markets.

Shaw is joining about a week after Echelon hired a two-person real estate research team (Frédéric Blondeau and Stéphane Boire) to its Montreal office.

The second part of her role will be helping the investment bankers prepare their pitch books, part of the process to win mandates that are up for grabs, and to be a source of market intelligence as to what’s popular — and not.

“What’s selling, what’s not selling as far as types of transactions or products in the market,” said Shaw, who prior to joining Echelon, ran her own firm QB Advisory Group Inc., which provided strategic and capital markets advisory services.

The services included providing advice on all aspects of raising equity capital such as underwriter selection, market positioning, offering size, and pricing.

Aside from Shaw, women also head up Equity Capital Markets at GMP Securities (Rosemary Teixeira) and IA Securities (Vilma Jones).

Canopy connection

It was there at the start and it was there Monday when Canopy Growth Corp. announced the largest Canadian marijuana transaction to date, the sale of a minority stake in the company to U.S. based, Constellation Brands.

In return for that $245 million, Constellation Brands, whose normal business is producing and marketing beer, wine and spirits brands, will get a 9.9 per cent stake. Constellation will also receive 18.88 million warrants.

On this transaction, INFOR Financial Inc. acted as Canopy’s financial adviser. “We did the initial round, which was the first public transaction by a marijuana company,” said Neil Selfe, chief executive.

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