U.S. investment dealer Stifel Financial Corp. showed it is serious about expanding its newly acquired Canadian franchise by hiring veteran financier Matthew Gaasenbeek on Wednesday as co-head of investment banking.
Less than a week after Stifel acquired the capital-markets arm of Toronto-based GMP Capital Inc. for approximately $65-million, the firm landed the former president of the capital markets division at Canaccord Genuity Group Inc., a rival Canadian investment bank. Over the course of a two-decade career, Mr. Gaasenbeek worked in both institutional equities and corporate finance. In an internal note, his new employer said the banker has raised more than $15-billion for clients and advised on more than $3-billion of takeovers.
St. Louis-based Stifel branded its Canadian arm as Stifel GMP, and the domestic firm is led by president Harris Fricker, former CEO of GMP Capital. Mr. Gaasenbeek will share responsibility for Canadian investment banking with Calgary-based Stifel GMP executive Nick Johnson, who has strong ties to energy companies. Mr. Gaasenbeek is joining the Stifel GMP executive committee and expected to start on Dec. 16.
GMP Capital remains a Toronto-based wealth-management firm, and subsidiary Richardson GMP oversees approximately $29-billion in client assets, administered by 160 advisory teams. The company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and its largest shareholder is Winnipeg’s Richardson family.
Stifel is expanding at a time when most other Canadian investment dealers, including the bank-owned firms, are cutting staff in the face of a cyclical drop in equity underwriting activity and a long-term decline in equity trading revenue, driven largely by technology. The domestic industry has been consolidating around its largest players for more than seven years. Statistics from the Investment Industry Association of Canada show there are 161 investment dealers in Canada, down from a peak of more than 200 in 2012.
Under long-serving chief executive Ronald Kruszewski, Stifel has expanded over the past two decades through a series of acquisitions. One of Stifel’s takeovers, in 2010, saw the firm acquire San Francisco-based investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners Group, Inc., which ran a small Canadian operation, with offices in Toronto and Calgary. Mr. Kruszewski decided to close down the Canadian unit in 2013, in part because of a perceived cultural mismatch with the U.S. operation.
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