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The Hong Kong skyline is seen in a March 19, 2020, file photo.LAM YIK FEI /The New York Times News Service

Investment fund giant Vanguard Group Inc. has laid off a number of its Canadian staff, including the head of institutional sales, amid global cuts that have also shut down offices in Japan and Hong Kong.

Greg Walker, head of institutional sales for exchange-traded funds for Vanguard Investments Canada Inc., left the company earlier this week, along with nine other employees, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The job cuts in Canada come amid news reports that the Malvern, Pa.-based fund company – which manages about US$6-trillion in assets – is closing shops in other international markets.

Earlier this week, Vanguard announced in a statement it plans to “wind down” its offices in Hong Kong and Japan to focus on individual investors in faster-growing parts of Asia, such as Shanghai.

Vanguard Canada declined to comment on individual employee departures but said the staff cuts were part of a realignment for the company.

“As we evolve our business in Canada, we are aligning some of our resources and capabilities to meet the long-term needs of our clients,” said Vanguard spokesman Matt Gierasimczuk.

Mr. Gierasimczuk said the company continues to be “committed” to the Canadian marketplace.

“We will continue to invest in our people and infrastructure to give Canadian investors the best chance of investment success.”

In Canada, Vanguard manages about $27.3-billion in exchange-traded funds, as of the end of July. It also manages an additional $260-million in several mutual fund products.

Vanguard Canada has experienced several executive departures within its Canadian office in recent years. Last year, U.S industry veteran Kathy Bock replaced Atul Tiwari as the new country head. Mr. Tiwari was responsible for opening the first Vanguard office in Canada in 2011.

Mr. Tiwari’s departure was also around the time Jason McIntyre, head of distribution (Canada), and Jonathan Needham, head of marketing, both left the firm.

Vanguard did not release the names of its recent departures, but sources say it included several members from its institutional sales team.

Mr. Walker did not respond to a request for comment. Prior to joining Vanguard in 2017, he served as the global head of ETF distribution at RBC Capital Markets. He also held several executive roles for Canada’s largest ETF provider, BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited, including the head of iShares institutional business.

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