Once Considered a Safe Haven, Canadian Investment Banks Are Now Making Some Cuts

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It’s nothing like the downsizing we’ve seen in the U.S., and yet quite a few pink slips have apparently gone out at Canadian investment banks over the past several weeks.

“October 31st is year-end for Canadian banks, and it’s when they do their productivity planning and analysis,” Janice Detta Colli, Managing Director at Boyden Toronto, tells eFinancialCareers.

So it’s no wonder that banks including Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce have reported making “small, strategic cuts,” she says.

The cuts are unlikely to signal a sudden drop in overall employment in Canada's securities business, writes the Globe and Mail, which goes on to says it's more like a stagnation as firms try to allocate suddenly scarcer resources to areas that are growing.

Among those who have downsized investment banking in Canada are:

• The wholesale unit at CIBC, which shed about 10 front-line staff from its business from a business employing about 1,200 overall, a CIBC spokesman confirmed, while observing that this occurred over the summer

Macquarie Group, which reportedly cut about half a dozen bankers from its Canadian advisory operations in early September from a staff of about 170 who work in capital markets and investment banking

Canaccord, the country's largest independent brokerage firm, which shut down a Vancouver-based group of so-called registered traders. Their business has been decline as stock trading becomes more electronic. The shutdown affected a group of less than 20, people with knowledge of the cut told the Globe and Mail.

One large firm reportedly adding staff in Canada is Credit Suisse.

According to Detta Colli, many of the boutiques are also adding staff. "They are smaller and more nimble than our big banks so they can play the niches better," says the recruiter. "It makes sense they’re continuing to add and grow.” For example, the boutique firm Beacon Securities signaled it plans to hire as many as 30 people in Toronto.



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