Leading broker founds new brokerage

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The former manager/COO of one of Canada’s largest brokerages has resurfaced as the president of a rate site’s brokerage arm – a move likely to drum up some debate in the industry.

“We’re focusing on training and getting our processes set up properly; getting our team of five trained and licensed,” James Laird, president of CanWise Financial told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “We are operating as a different unit; customers will only end up with CanWise if they choose us over Ratehub’s other broker partners.”

That may or may not silence criticism that roared across the channel – and MortgageBrokerNews.ca – this summer. Many of the brokers who use the rate site reacted with surprise and disappointment at the idea at the news, the suggestion being the new brokerage would be given preferential treatment for leads.

Laird, who nonetheless owns a stake in RateHub, says CanWise will operate out of a separate office.

Rounding out his team is Bryan Freeman, formerly of ING Direct, who will serve as CanWise’s vice president. He brings with him 10-plus years of experience, as well as a number of former teammates from his bank days.

“I didn’t plan on hiring mostly bank employees, it just happened that way; with the ING/ScotiaBank shakeup, there were a lot of displaced professionals looking for new opportunities,” Laird said. “I was thrilled he was interested in joining; he brings skills that I don’t have.”

Of course, this past summer wasn’t without its controversy for Laird and RateHub, with his former business partner, Dan Eisner of True North Mortgage, threatening legal action after learning about Laird’s plans to head a competing brokerage.

However, it seems as though that is all in the past.

“Things have quieted down since the summer,” Laird said.

Neither party has made any public statements since then.

For now, the broker is concentrating on running his newly-minted brokerage – which already has four deals ready to close in October.

“Everything we do at CanWise, we think about the Canadian customer first and how we can meet their wants and needs,” Laird said. “That’s how we approach everything – how can we do it better than the banks and others in the industry.”
  • Ron Butler on 2014-09-29 2:41:34 PM

    Good Luck to James and his new brokerage. James' belief in putting the consumer first with great advice, high efficiency and real value is a certain route to success.

  • Ottawa Broker on 2014-09-29 3:58:31 PM

    Is this not a rehash of a story about a month ago? This is old news.

  • Broker on 2014-09-29 6:55:45 PM

    "with his former business partner, Dan Eisner of True North Mortgage, threatening legal action...it seems as though that is all in the past."

    LOL. That is quite presumptuous of you Mortgage Broker News!

  • Daniel McKay on 2014-10-02 2:23:33 PM

    I believe the "legal action" had to with Eisner trying to enforce a non-compete clause that would have prevented Laird from leaving True North to run or have a leadership role in another brokerage. My guess is that Eisner discovered that the clause was unenforceable and that it was not the case they settled their differences amicably.

    My point being, maybe mortgage broker news should do the following story: "Non-Compete Clauses, are they Enforceable in the Mortgage Broker Industry?"

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