RPT-UPDATE 1-DundeeWealth boss not kidding about US intentions

Mon Oct 4, 2010 11:20am EDT

(Repeats to widen distribution)

* DundeeWealth on the hunt for U.S. deals small and large

* U.S. unit boasts No. 1 performing U.S. fund year-to-date

* CEO hosts annual charity gig "Stand Up for Kids" in Oct (Recasts first three paragraphs)

By John McCrank

OTTAWA, Oct 1 (Reuters) - You heard the one about the Canadian broker who took his loonie ideas to the United States, and laughed all the way to the bank?

When David Goodman isn't telling jokes at the local comedy club, the chief executive of DundeeWealth (DW.TO) is doing just that.

Goodman, who heads one of Canada's largest independent wealth management firms, with about C$40 billion ($39 billion) in assets under management, is looking U.S. deals to expand his firm's U.S. presence.

"We think the average U.S. investor has been under-served by the product offerings they have available to them," he said in an interview, using the S&P 500 exchange traded fund as an example.

"If you'd put $100,000 into the S&P500 (ETF) 10 years ago, today, I think it would be worth around $65,000. If you put that money into Citigroup (C.N), Merrill Lynch (BAC.N), Lehman Brothers LEHMQ.PK, Bear Stearns, or other financial services stocks, as many people did in the U.S., you're going to have very little of that $100,000 left."

Had that money been put into one of several of DundeeWealth's stronger-performing Dynamic Funds, Goodman said, it would have grown to between $200,000 and $1 million.

DundeeWealth U.S. unit's gold and precious metals fund, launched last winter, is the No. 1 performing U.S. fund year-to-date, he added. It was up 34.1 percent as of Aug. 1.

Toronto-based DundeeWealth moved into the U.S. market in 2008 when it bought a controlling stake in BHR Fund Advisors, based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. The deal wasn't all that big in terms of numbers, at a little more than $3.2 million, but it gave the firm a solid toe-hold in the lucrative U.S. market.

Now the 46-year-old Goodman thinks the time is right to make some more acquisitions, probably in the $10 million to $25 million range, though bigger or smaller deals aren't out of the question if they jibe with the firm's strategic objectives.

STANDING UP FOR CHARITY

Goodman knows a few things about timing. After he gave a speech at his brother's wedding about six years ago that left the crowd in stitches, the former litigation lawyer took an intro-to-comedy class at a local Toronto college.

In the years that followed, he hit every open-mike night stage he could get himself onto, developing his shtick until he started getting gigs at some top comedy clubs.

What he found along the way was that the business world and the stand-up world are more alike than most people realize.

"As a CEO you have to stand up for your company, and as a comic you've got to stand up and do your act. It's quite similar. The spotlight is on you and you have to perform."

These days, Goodman hosts an annual charity event called Stand Up for Kids. Last year, with the help of some internationally renowned funnymen, it raised C$130,000 for charities that help children.

This year's event is scheduled for Oct. 26 and features comics Demetri Martin, from Comedy Central and The Daily Show, and "king of deadpan" Steven Wright, along with a other established comedians.

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS

Back at the office, the focus moves from the punch line to the bottom line.

DundeeWealth is made up of an investment management unit, which includes Dynamic Funds and a private wealth business aimed at wealthy clients, as well as investment banking unit Dundee Capital Markets, and its financial advisery division.

There has long been speculation on the street that the firm would itself be a takeover target, especially after the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO) took a minority stake in the company a few years ago, which now stands at a little under 20 percent.

When asked if Scotiabank, Canada's No. 3, bank, might seal the deal and boost its interest to a controlling stake, Goodman had no comment, but a bank spokesman said Scotiabank "is always considering various options for growth and expansion".

Aside from its Canadian and U.S. operations, the firm has a European investment management unit that offers access to DundeeWealth funds.

Goodman joined DundeeWealth in 1994, became CEO of the mutual fund division in 2001, and head of the company in 2007. In his time there, the father of four has watched the firm build its assets from C$5 billion to C$40 billion, tripling the industry's growth average in recent years. That's no joke.

For tickets and more information on Stand Up for Kids, see www.standupforkids.ca.

($1=$1.03 Canadian) (Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Peter Galloway)

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