Franchise model for independent advisors launched in Quebec

By Doug Watt | January 14, 2003 | Last updated on January 14, 2003
2 min read

(January 14, 2003) Quebec’s mutual fund distribution landscape underwent a dramatic shift last week with the launch of Nodus, a franchise-type operation aimed at advisors who want to set up their own independent firms.

A recent change to the province’s securities laws allows individuals to register their own independent securities firm. It’s estimated that about 3,000 Quebec advisors are tied to the province’s large mutual fund dealers, such as Peak Investment Services and Cartier Partners. Nodus is targeting high-level advisors in those firms who want to venture out on their own, says RoseMarie Labbé, Nodus’ general manager.

Montreal-based Nodus provides legal services, such as incorporation and registration with the province’s Bureau des service financiers (BSF). The network arranges back-office and accounting services through a third party.

“We also provide training to ensure their competency is always up-to-date with respect to new laws and new ways of doing business,” Labbé told

“Nodus is cutting out the middleman who would otherwise be providing back-office support, but little or no training,” said company president Rodrigue Julien in a recent interview with Objectif Conseiller. “A lone representative can set up his own firm, which is an extraordinary opportunity.”

Advisors pay a fee to belong to the network and in return Nodus takes 2% of their sales. There’s no restriction on products, however Nodus plans to work with five mutual fund firms that will get exclusive exposure to the network.

The start-up has already attracted 30 Quebec advisors with $500 million in assets under management. For now, Nodus is favouring established advisors with at least $50 million in assets. “Our selection committee will make sure that we recruit people of the highest calibre, because we do not want to weaken our name,” says Nodus’ Justin Marcotte.

“We’re talking to many people, but we wish to stay below 400 brokers in Quebec,” adds Labbé.

The Nodus concept isn’t limited to mutual funds. “We’re also building a private asset management platform and we’re setting up portfolio models,” Labbé says. “So we have many other products that we’re launching.”

There’s already talk of expanding Nodus outside Quebec. “In Toronto, people were very interested,” Labbé says, noting that Mutual Fund Dealers Association rules governing this kind of distribution model are similar to BSF regulations.

“We want to be the Remax of the financial products and services industry,” Julien says.

For more on Nodus, check out the January edition of Objectif Conseiller, a sister property of and Advisor’s Edge.

Filed by Doug Watt,,, with additional reporting by Yves Bonneau, Objectif Conseiller.


Doug Watt