Montreal-based MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier Inc. (3Macs) and Desjardins Securities, the brokerage arm of Lévis, Que.-based Desjardins Group, announced on Wednesday that the two firms have come to an agreement to work together to grow their businesses.

The agreement includes 3Macs’ acquisition of three Ontario branches of Desjardins Securities as well as the transfer of their employees and clients. The acquisition will include 14 advisors and 25 employees, who will transition to the 3Macs platform by the end of August.

“Two years ago when I joined the firm, I made a commitment to develop a long-term growth strategy,” says Randy Ambrosie, president and CEO of 3Macs. “One of the components of that strategy was to strengthen our platform to ensure all of our advisors and portfolio managers are in a position to offer the best services and advice to their clients. This transaction will do just that.”

The deal will not only enhance the footprint of 3Macs in Ontario but also provide 3Macs advisors access to Desjardins Securities’ wealth-management products, including access to the Desjardins Securities’ bond inventory, syndication product flow and an online order entry system, which Ambrosie says is a significant improvement for 3Macs’ advisors.

The completion of the transaction will also allow Desjardins Securities to distribute its products more widely across the country and provide an opportunity for the firm to exercise a minority ownership interest in 3Macs in the coming year.

“We were looking for a strategy to grow our brand outside Quebec and we decided after many years of looking at a way to do this that going through a partnership is a much stronger approach than going at it alone,” says Luc Papineau, vice president and general manager of Desjardins Securities.

3Macs is a privately held wealth-management firm with a history of more than 160 years — and Desjardins Securities selected 3Macs for this partnership thanks to its expertise in wealth management.

“The opportunity for us to embrace a high-quality team of advisors in Ontario allows us to not only strengthen our platform but also to strengthen our advisory team,” Ambrosie adds.

Both executives are already in discussion concerning a second phase to the acquisition, which could see more collaboration in support services for advisors, Ambrosie says.

“Desjardins is like a supermarket and there are a lot of things that Desjardins offers to their advisors,” he explains. “We have had very productive conversations about the things to come. We don’t necessarily know exactly how or when or what, but suffice it to say that we agree that we should talk more about how we can strengthen 3Macs’ business in as many ways as we can.”