Merix/Paradigm Quest wins new owner

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Controlling interest in Merix Financial has been sold to a large international equity firm, the lender’s CEO Boris Bozic told in an exclusive interview, also sharing the news with employees Thursday.

“We made the announcement to our team today,” the company’s founder said Thursday afternoon. “This is great day for our company and our customers. With the tremendous strength of our new partners, Merix is looking forward to building on its support of independent mortgage professional as we grow our market share and continue to bring innovative and professional solutions to our customers.”

The news ends weeks of speculation about the sale of one of the broker channel’s most important monolines but also its sister firm Paradigm Quest, the industry’s leading mortgage servicing company.

The deal -- for an undisclosed amount -- sees an institutional investment group, led by Culpeper Capital Partners, take that majority stake, although the current management team will continue to operate and lead the business on a day-to-day basis.That very much includes Bozic and partner Kathy Gregory, Paradigm's head.

Culpeper and the new institutional investment group will provide ongoing strategic support, however, with an eye to bolstering its already winning performance, said Bozic, whose trailer fee compensation has helped cement relationships with veteran brokers from one end of the country to the next.

That may have played a role in attracting Culpeper even in a slower market.

“MERIX is a unique player in the residential mortgage space with opportunity to grow market share,” said David E. King, senior managing director for the firm. “We are very excited to be in a position to provide assistance to the MERIX management team as they pursue the company’s future growth.”

Founded in 2005, Merix was quick to grow market share, achieving Top 7 ranking within a year. By 2007 it had grown volume by 78 per cent, and within 12 months would be in key markets across Canada. It is a multiple-winner of CMP lender awards for excellence and now claims over $15 billion in funded mortgages.

Brokers are now expected to turn their attention to Culpeper as they parse through the meaning of today’s announcement.

The equity firm was founded in 2011 and focuses exclusively on financial and business services. The firm operates as a joint venture partner with Fortress. It also provides capital in traditional management buyouts and “other opportunistic situations involving financial services platforms and assets.”

  • trailer fees concerned broker on 2013-03-01 11:17:47 AM

    The recent letter sent out to BC Brokers from Northern Savings Credit Union (NSCU) stating that if you send them the Form 10 (Conflict of Interest & Disclosure Statement) showing them that you disclosed to the client on going trailer fees they will send you the promised trailer fees that were secretly discontinued as of Jan 2010. This practice of trailer fees is not guaranteed. Who will recieve your trailer fees once you leave the industry - try to retire. Also if you do not keep up volumes is there really a trailer fee coming??? Also this Form 10 issue now comes to light. As far as I am concerned I will not sign up for trailer fees ever again. take the commission up front invest properly and take control of your own future. Sure I signed up for these trailer fees and yes I get the Macquarie ones every couple of months so it is nice but I believe this program is designed for the sheep.

  • Ontario Broker on 2013-03-02 2:03:00 AM

    ....and the Merix chicken comes home to roost. Bye, bye trailer fees.

  • BDM on 2013-03-02 2:52:11 AM

    Just thought I'd put my two cents in here..
    Actually every originator who signs up with Merix signs a 10 page contract which outlines our wholesalers are under contract to pay trailers to you regardless of where Merix stands. Also, keep in mind, trailers at Merix are paid in the form of Xrewards for the exact reason that you would use this as retirement savings, giving you the opportunity to earn these even when you leave the business. If they were paid in cash they would be owned by your brokerage.
    Lastly, our trailer fee program is the reason why Merix and Paradigm are so attractive. Who wouldn't see value in a company that has broker partners working together to ensure the retention of the client so both parties are paid?
    Seems like a pretty slam dunk deal to me :)

  • Lee Perry on 2013-03-02 3:03:57 AM

    Once again how can I take seriously a comment from anyone that does not use their real name. If I can't believe in what you have to say or at least know who I would call to discuss their point of view as another professional in the industry how believable are you with clients? Maybe you should have an email address or so someone could email you and ask you mortgage questions and that way you can respond without ever revealing who you are. I suggest you continue to support the lenders that don't support you at renewal time. I am tired of the BS and uninformed comments from those that hide behind some fictious name. Why not call up those lenders with trailer fee models and find out about their commitments to the channel. Odd are better than even that both of you were once Firstline supporters as is that going for you today?

  • BC Broker on 2013-03-02 3:04:26 AM

    I agree with "trailer fee concerned broker" a sub broker for a small brokerage I am lucky enough to get paid my trailer fees when I use such a lender, but legally trailer fees are the property of the "Mortgage Broker" not the sub broker...and when my broker retires or I retire what will ensure I continue to receive trailers? If I was a Mortgage Broker & not a Sub Broker I would be all over trailer fees, but having been burned by Northern, and other such programs (points offers etc)I will also take up front commissions and invest wisely...Nothing against Merix, but any sub broker should seriously consider why they are resorting to a trailer fee model & reduced up front pay....

  • Angela Wong-Liao, Invis Inc on 2013-03-02 4:21:28 AM

    I sent two deals to Merix in 2012, which was the first time that I try their "Trailer Fee" program. I personnally do not believe in trailer fee as I am a strong believer in controlling my own retirement investment. I will not consider of entertaining "Trailer Fee" program from any lenders again. A good learning experience from Merix. I like dealing with big and established lenders because they are reliable and substainable, get pay upfront and move on to the next deal.

  • Ron Butler on 2013-03-02 5:30:26 AM

    The trailer fee debate is just that: a debate.

    The arrangement an agent or sub-broker has with their brokerage is a very key point in making these decisions. Will the brokerage pay the agent or sub-broker the trailers when they come in? What if the agent is wiht a new brokerage? That is a totally legitimate point to consider.

    Will the lender offering the trailers be around in the future to pay the trailers? Fair question.

    What does the trailer contract say about a brokerage house that has been cut-off by the lender paying the trailers? There is a lot of contract study to be done.

    That being said we absolutely know that Merix is paying trailer fees to some brokerages every pay cycle so to suggest there will be no pay in future is simply lender bashing. It is unfair to simply say you won't get paid when people ARE getting paid.

    Every agent and broker needs to study their contracts, the lender's contracts, the nature of their own books of business and make an informed judgement. This is not one size fits all.

Broker news forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

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