Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is making significant leadership changes that span wealth management, capital markets and retail banking, including naming CEO Victor Dodig’s brother as head of retail brokerage Wood Gundy.
Ed Dodig is moving from capital markets to become an executive vice-president responsible for private wealth and CIBC Wood Gundy, according to internal memos obtained by The Globe and Mail. The move is one of eight executive and management changes announced internally last week.
CIBC’s reorganization comes as Canada’s major banks look to boost their wealth-management divisions. For much of the past decade, Big Six banks have benefited from a lending boom. Lately, however, these institutions have referred to the current era as the decade of wealth. Baby boomers are starting to retire in waves, and they are looking for investment and retirement advice.
Mr. Dodig is taking over from Peter Lee, who is moving to the retail bank and will become executive vice-president for banking centres. He will be responsible for all of CIBC’s bank branches and takes over from Stephen Forbes, who will take on a brand and marketing role as EVP. Mr. Lee had been running CIBC Wood Gundy since 2016 when Monique Gravel, one of the bank’s most prominent female executives, retired.
Together with Canadian commercial banking, the private wealth business at CIBC accounts for approximately 25 per cent of the bank’s overall earnings. CIBC Wood Gundy is a subsidiary of CIBC Private Wealth and is home to approximately 1,000 securities licensed advisers, managing more than $160-billion in assets in 80 branches.
Mr. Dodig most recently ran equity markets for CIBC’s investment bank. Earlier this decade he ran CIBC’s European capital markets business from London, but in 2014 the bank announced he would relocate to Toronto. His equity markets role will be filled on an interim basis by Anton Erdody.
The changes are effective Monday. CIBC spokesperson Tom Wallis said the new appointments “will serve to foster collaboration, share best practices and further our strong, client-focused culture.”
Within wealth management, CIBC has spent that past few years integrating the traditional retail brokerage with private banking. At an investor day in 2017, the bank laid out plans to integrate the two businesses to cut costs and to set up cross-referral systems between wealth management and retail and business banking.
“We want to be the personal, private or wealth management bank of owners as they grow their business,” commercial bank and wealth head Jon Hountalas said at the investor day.
As part of this strategy, CIBC has made space in its largest retail brokerage offices for private bankers, with the goal of getting people from the two historically-distinct worlds to get to know each other so that business between the two starts to flow.
Within Wood Gundy specifically, the bank created some friction among advisers in recent years under the direction of Mr. Lee after compensation changes saw certain business models paid out differently.
Mr. Lee’s wealth-management experience will complement CIBC’s retail banking strategy. Over the past five years, financial technology firms have taken banking by storm and many mundane transactions, such as paying bills and transferring money, are now completed digitally.
Because the disruption has been so severe, and so swift, many analysts and investors have wondered if there is a role for branches in the future of banking. Lately, however, a number of Canadian banks, notably CIBC and Toronto-Dominion Bank, have been adamant that retail branches are central to their strategies. These institutions have publicly said they want to turn their branches into advice centres that offer wealth services to mass-affluent customers or middle-market Canadians.
As part of the shuffle, Mr. Forbes, the former head of branch banking, will become executive vice-president, purpose, brand and marketing, reporting to human resources head Sandy Sharman.
Other changes include executive vice-president Veni Iozzo adding full accountability for the workplace design and architecture team to her mandate, and Paulo Brazinha being promoted to senior vice-president and regional head for British Columbia, reporting to Mr. Lee, according to the memos.