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Sanjiv Samant, head of technology, media and telecom (TMT) banking with Canaccord for the past six years, joins National BankFred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. has lost two investment bankers – one of whom was among the firm's star performers – to National Bank Financial.

Sanjiv Samant, head of technology, media and telecom (TMT) banking with Canaccord for the past six years, joins National Bank on Monday as group head of TMT.

Brent Layton, a TMT banker who worked alongside Mr. Samant at Canaccord, has also left the firm for National Bank.

"What attracted me to the platform was the strong entrepreneurial culture and the strong partnership that they have," Mr. Samant said in an interview.

"They [National Bank] have an independent mentality, combined with a full-service bank capability."

A 20-year Bay Street veteran, Mr. Samant was among the independent's top producers, with clients including Kinaxis, Pure Technologies, Com Dev International and Halogen Software. He started his career with CIBC World Markets in the mid-1990s.

"I am proud of what Sanjiv has been able to accomplish as part of our leading technology investment banking practice and I wish him well in his next endeavour," wrote Canaccord chief executive officer Dan Daviau in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail.

Before joining Canaccord, Mr. Samant was a partner alongside Mr. Daviau at Genuity Capital Markets – the highly successful boutique mergers and acquisitions advisory bank acquired by Canaccord in 2010.

The loss of Mr. Samant is a blow for Canaccord in what has been a tumultuous period for the storied boutique brokerage firm founded by Peter Brown in 1968. Canaccord is much leaner than it used to be after the company laid off 7 per cent of its global staff in February. A number of its banking stars have left, too, including the departures of Phil Evershed and Barry Goldberg in early 2015.

"The loss of people, which represent the company's core assets, is perhaps the greatest business risk associated with a prolonged downturn," said Paul Holden, an analyst with CIBC World Markets, in a note to clients last week.

Lately, Canaccord has taken extraordinary steps to try to retain its key personnel.

As The Globe reported last month, Canaccord asked its bankers to commit to staying with the firm for a year as a requisite for receiving their year-end cash bonus.

In an interview last week, Mr. Daviau said the stipulation was made in part because the firm went out of its way to ensure bankers received a fair bonus. Canaccord took $40-million from the "house" in fiscal 2016 to pay its bankers comparatively more than the revenue they brought in. Still the bonus policy change caused friction in the firm.

"A very small subset of people felt that this [stipulation to stay for one year] was unfair," Mr. Daviau said. "And we offered them, in retrospect, an alternative."

The alternative was offering bankers half of their bonus in cash and the balance in vesting stock – but with no requirement to stay for a fixed time period.

"Less than 5 per cent of our employees took that option," Mr. Daviau added.

On Thursday, the firm announced a stock purchase plan for employees that would see those who buy in given half a warrant to buy additional stock. The shares can't be sold and the warrant can't be exercised for up to three years – an added incentive to stay at Canaccord.

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