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Sep 17, 2020

CIBC cuts portfolio managers, traders in drive for 5% reduction

Brian Madden discusses CIBC

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Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has cut a number of portfolio managers, analysts and traders as part of a plan to reduce staff by almost 5 per cent, according to people familiar with the matter.

Portfolio managers Nicholas Leach, Robert Gignac and Brian See and traders Bryan Trudel and Craig Wilson are among those who left the bank this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Kathleen Gregoire, assistant vice president of global equity trading at CIBC Asset Management, also left, the people said. Leach and Trudel declined to comment. Gignac, See and Wilson didn’t reply to requests for comment.

Representatives of CIBC referred Bloomberg to Chief Executive Officer Victor Dodig’s comments on a recent call saying that the restructuring announced earlier this year would be completed in the bank’s fiscal fourth quarter.

Metals analyst Oscar Cabrera and oilfield services analyst Daine Biluk also left the bank, according to a note sent to clients earlier this week.

The cuts come amid widespread job losses at banks this year that are on course to be the deepest in half a decade worldwide. After a pause during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, lenders including Citigroup Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc have restarted cuts, taking gross losses announced this year to a combined 63,785 jobs, according to a Bloomberg analysis of public filings. That puts the industry on track to exceed the almost 80,000 disclosed last year, the biggest retrenchment since 2015.

In February, CIBC announced plans to cut thousands of employees in a reorganization. This week’s departures add to a growing list of changes on Bay Street. In December, Bank of Montreal announced the most sweeping job cuts by a Canadian bank in 15 years and shuffled its top management ranks. While the pandemic has delayed some reorganization plans, the market volatility and economic downturn sparked by the virus has increased the pressure on Canada’s financial firms to boost efficiency.

CIBC and Bank of Montreal have each culled more than 1,000 positions since announcing cuts, according to financial disclosures. CIBC had 43,952 full-time employees as of the end of July, down 2.5 per cent from levels at the end of January when Chief Executive Officer Victor Dodig first warned employees of reductions in an internal memo. Bank of Montreal had 44,016 employees at the end of July, down 2.7 per cent from levels at the end of January.

Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. also announced cost cuts in February, with 11 departures in June. Earlier this month, 13 employees at Toronto-based investment dealer Eight Capital Corp. left in a wider shakeup in the business.

Deepak Khandelwal, CIBC’s chief client experience officer, will leave the bank in October, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported this week.

--With assistance from Danielle Bochove, Doug Alexander, Kevin Orland and Esteban Duarte.