The year is, so far, looking up for securities dealers. The number of IIROC-regulated firms grew in the first five months of 2017 after shrinking every year previously since 2011.

Registered broker firms rose to 172 at the end of May, up from 170 at the end of 2016, according to IIROC data.

In every year previously since 2011, the number of registered firms had declined, largely on industry consolidation and competitive pressures related to technology.

“We continue to see changes taking place within the investment industry as firms merge, close, consolidate or launch new/different business models in order to stay competitive and gain economies of scale,” Evelyn Yallen, spokesperson for IIROC, says in a statement.

Read: ‘Death by a thousand cuts’ for independent IIROC firms?

Between January and the end of May, two firms deregistered and four registered, for a net gain of two. The four new registrations include two based in Montreal: Fortification Capital and Financiere FCL. The other two were Gestion Q.I. Capital S.E.N.C. in Laval, Que. and Rabo Securities in Toronto.

IIROC reported a third net additional registration for the year on Thursday afternoon, for Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities in Calgary.

Albert Zonnevylle, general manager of Rabobank in Canada, said the bank is focused on food and agriculture companies and looking to assist clients with corporate bond issuances and some equity transactions. “It seemed the right moment to set up a broker dealer to be helpful to our clients in this area,” he told “We have these capabilities worldwide, in North America and obviously in New York, but didn’t have it so far in Canada.”

Wolverton Securities Ltd. and Global Securities Corporation deregistered, according to IIROC notices, after Vancouver-based PI Financial Corp. reached a deal last year to acquire the firms.

The increase may represent a turnaround in 2017 from previous years.

Craig Skauge, head of the National Exempt Market Association, told last year that he viewed IIROC firms and the public venture exchange as experiencing death by a thousand cuts.

“The big banks can survive; the large fund companies can survive, because they have the economies of scale to afford it, but the little guys can’t,” he said at the time. “We used to have venture markets that were the envy of the world, but the rules are so large now that companies can’t afford to be listed anymore. So they stay private.”

IIROC-registered firms and individuals, 2008-present

Calendar year Registered individuals (RR & IR) IIROC-regulated firms
To May 31, 2017 27,578 172
2016 27,312 170
2015 27,122 174
2014 26,705 181
2013 26,560 191
2012 26,522 200
2011 26,549 208
2010 26,372 207
2009 26,445 204
2008 26,774 210

Source: IIROC

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