The West

There's nothing like a good rumour doing the rounds of the Perth broking industry, particularly when it concerns Euroz, arguably the most successful local broker over the past decade.

And no industry does rumourtrage as well as the broking community.

Murmurs up and down St Georges Terrace that not all is happy in the Euroz tent are getting louder, coinciding with the retirement a few months ago of long-serving institutional dealer Mark Hepburn and the defection a week ago of corporate finance associate directors Steve Harding and Alex Volante.

Mr Harding and Mr Volante, who are serving three months gardening leave, will join Karl Paganin in August to head the new Perth office for Canada's GMP Securities.

Mr Paganin used to be Euroz's head of corporate until a falling-out with Euroz's board last July. He would not comment last night on GMP's Perth arrival.

GMP's latest two Euroz recruits are known to have been close to Mr Paganin and are well regarded around town. Their departure, in particular, has added to talk along the Terrace that Euroz is not as success-driven as it has been in the past, creating tension among some of the newer staff as well as those not privy to the lucrative salary and bonus packages enjoyed by the founders and senior management.

According to Peter Diamond, who co-founded Euroz a decade ago, the Terrace sniping is just that. Mr Hepburn, he says, wanted a break from broking but remains a broking client of the firm.

As for the departures of Mr Harding and Mr Volante, Mr Diamond says "it's not a big deal" and points to the recruitment at the end of last year of corporate advisers Maurice Argento and Brian Beresford.

Not that Terrace rumourtrage is confined to Euroz.

There is speculation Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Perth-based head of investment banking for natural resources, Neville Gardiner, is looking to move and that its local office may close. Rubbish, says Mr Gardiner. "We have just signed a new lease on an office."

GMP is Canada's biggest non-bank broker and is eyeing Perth and Sydney to give Australian resources companies exposure to European and North American investors.

Mr Paganin's Perth team will be complemented by Geoff Reilly, the former chief operating officer of Patersons Securities who registered GMP Securities Australia this year.

Around the same time, Stephen Dobson hung out the local shingle for London brokerage Mirabaud Securities.

Goldman Sachs is also trying to set up a Perth corporate presence and has been asking senior investment bankers around town to join. To no avail, according to sources, who say Goldman's plans for a small team providing equity capital markets services now rely on relocating one of its senior Sydney operatives to Perth.

The West Australian

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