July 25, 2024

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Investment banker Stifel closes Calgary office, cuts about 35 staff

2 min read

Stifel Financial Corp. SF-N is closing its office in Calgary and consolidating its operations across the rest of Canada, the U.S. investment bank said Wednesday, citing the need to cut costs.

Roughly 35 positions are being eliminated as a result of the decision, according to a source familiar with the matter, with most of the lost jobs related to the Calgary office closing. The Globe and Mail is not identifying the source because they are not authorized to discuss the job cuts publicly.

“After a thorough evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to consolidate some operations in Canada, which includes closing our Calgary office,” Stifel spokesperson Neil Shapiro said in an e-mail. “Current market conditions and operations costs necessitate this action.”

He declined to comment on the exact number of layoffs.

Stifel is also suspending coverage of Canadian banks because Mike Rizvanovic, the analyst who had previously covered the country’s largest financial institutions for Keefe Bruyette & Woods – Stifel’s research arm – has left the company.

“We appreciate the hard work, dedication and contributions of all those impacted and we are committed to assisting everyone through this transition,” Mr. Shapiro said. “Stifel remains committed to the Canadian market, serving our clients with a full range of investment banking services out of our Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver offices.”

The closing is a major symbolic loss to corporate Calgary, as Stifel’s office there was previously known as FirstEnergy Capital Corp. FirstEnergy was founded in 1993 by Murray Edwards, billionaire chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Corp. CNQ-T and part-owner of the Calgary Flames NHL franchise. FirstEnergy went on to establish itself as a successful boutique energy investment bank.

FirstEnergy was sold to GMP Capital Inc. in 2016 for roughly $100-million and was renamed GMP FirstEnergy FE-N. Stifel then acquired GMP’s investment banking businesses in 2019 for $70-million.

Harris Fricker, who assumed the role of president of Stifel Canada after the GMP acquisition, had previously served as chief executive officer of GMP Capital since late 2010. He received double his annual salary and a million-dollar bonus worth a total of $7.7-million, when the Stifel deal closed in 2019. At the time, GMP’s capital markets shares were down by 90 per cent from their peak in 2006 and by roughly 75 per cent since Mr. Fricker was made chief executive officer.

One year later, in late 2020, Stifel Canada made several executive-level hires shortly after cutting jobs in its oil and gas business.

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