Investment advisers at wealth manager Richardson GMP are jumping ship amid a slew of shareholder opposition to its parent company’s restructuring plans.
Earlier this week, a Calgary-based team of three investment advisers departed Richardson GMP, taking a $350-million book of client assets to competitor Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, while a second Montreal-based team left the firm with a $275-million book to join RBC Dominion Securities Inc.
Stuart Raftus, president of Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, confirmed to The Globe and Mail by phone that Neil Gregory, Stanley Wei and Grant Mutch joined the firm on Wednesday.
Mr. Raftus would not comment on how long he had been in discussions with the advisers, but said the team, which goes by the name Gregory Wei Mutch Wealth Counsel, had “taken time to do their due diligence” before moving their practice to a new firm.
RBC did not reply to a request for comment, but according to LinkedIn profiles, portfolio managers Inder Arya and Brian Becker joined the Montreal office of RBC Dominion Securities Inc. this month, after spending eight years at Richardson GMP.
The departures could be the first of many for one of Canada’s largest independent wealth managers if a proposed plan to restructure GMP Capital Inc., and its subsidiary Richardson GMP, is voted down in a coming shareholders meeting on Oct. 6.
GMP Capital has made an offer to purchase the remaining 67-per-cent stake of Richardson GMP it does not already own. The remaining stake is jointly owned by the Richardson family and a group of financial advisers from Richardson GMP.
Already both the Richardson family and financial advisers that oversee about 97 per cent of Richardson GMP’s client assets have indicated they are in support of the transaction.
But the deal also requires the support of the majority of GMP Capital shareholders unaffiliated with the Richardson family, of which a growing number – about 36 per cent of non-Richardson shareholders – are opposing.
Earlier this month, former GMP chief executive Kevin Sullivan and minority shareholder Anson Funds said the deal significantly “undervalues GMP to the detriment of its shareholders.” A second group, which includes 22 former GMP Capital and GMP FirstEnergy employees and others whose names were not identified, announced on Monday that they, too, will not support GMP’s proposed plans.
On Wednesday, Mr. Sullivan disputed the company’s reasoning that the overall business could deteriorate as investment advisers are at risk of departing the company for its competitors.
“Investment advisers are compensated fairly by [Richardson GMP], and [Richardson GMP] offers an attractive platform to clients,” Mr. Sullivan said in a news release. “None of that will change if the transaction is rejected.”
But Neil Bosch, a portfolio manager and adviser representative on the Richardson GMP board, told The Globe that the “threatened departure” of advisers is not just a scare tactic, but a reality that is already happening.
“We have been dealing with uncertainty for quite some time now, so to say that [uncertainty] won’t have an impact on the business is inaccurate,” Mr. Bosch said in an interview. “We lost a team this week that cited specifically that they were tired of the uncertainty and needed to move forward.”
"What we need now is a quick end to uncertainty regarding the ownership of Richardson GMP so that we can attract new colleagues and retain the investment advisers that we already have.”