The Great Canadian bank
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is one of the largest banks in Canada and commonly referred to as simply, CIBC. CIBC's wholesale banking business provides a wide range of credit, capital markets, investment banking, merchant banking, and research products and services to government, institutional, corporate and retail clients in Canada and in key markets around the world. The firm's global headquarters are in the Canadian financial capital of Toronto, with additional international offices located in various financial centres around the world. In Europe, the bank has offices in London. The firm's investment banking and capital markets divisions offer a range of financial services, including equities, commodities, fixed income, foreign exchange, money market and securitisations.
In Europe, CIBC's wholesale banking business is headquartered in London. The firm's main European businesses are global equities, corporate and investment banking, and fixed income, currencies and distribution. The European business offers a wide range of financial services in both debt and equities, including advisory, origination and syndication, trading and sales to both European and international markets. While primarily Canadian cross border-focused, it provides global products and services in foreign exchange, commodities, and energy and mining investment banking.
CIBC's wholesale banking division was born in 1988 when CIBC acquired a majority interest in Wood Gundy Inc., a leading Canadian securities dealer established in Toronto in 1905. Combining CIBC's capital with Wood Gundy's underwriting reputation, CIBC Wood Gundy Inc. became a powerful investment banking arm, quickly establishing itself as a leading North American investing institution. Until recently, the marketing name of CIBC's wholesale banking division was "CIBC World Markets." (Today, technically speaking, CIBC World Markets plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and part of the bank's wholesale banking arm, which also includes other affiliates such as CIBC World Markets Corp., CIBC World Markets Inc., CIBC World Markets Securities Ireland Limited, CIBC Australia Ltd, and CIBC World Markets [Japan] Inc.)
Ups and downs
Although CIBC's results for its 2008 fiscal year (ending October 31st) included C$4.2 billion in structured credit losses, the bank remained positive when it reported them, stating that its Tier-1 capital ratio of 10.5 percent "exceeds regulatory requirements" of 7 per cent as well as its own "medium term target of 8.5 percent." In addition, in 2008 and the first half of 2009, CIBC said it "repositioned its wholesale banking business to reduce risk and strengthen its alignment with CIBC's desired risk profile."
According to a column in Canada's Globe and Mail, CIBC had greater US credit exposure than its Canadian peers, and its losses were likely the catalyst for its move to "largely exit" global markets. And between November 2008 and January 2009, CIBC's stock price fluctuated madly on the Toronto Stock Exchange, hitting record lows in mid-November, but climbing fairly steadily after that only to fall again in mid-January 2009.
The bank and its bankers have received several awards recently, and one of the most noteworthy was given by Bloomberg Markets magazine, which ranked a senior economist at CIBC, Avery Shenfeld, as a top forecaster (fifth place) of the US economy between 2006 and 2008. (Shenfeld received more good news when CIBC's chief economist Jeff Rubin left the organization and Shenfeld took over his post; Rubin had been with CIBC for 20 years and, during his stay, was named Canada's top economist 10 times).
CIBC also picked up honours from Financial Times and Mergermarket in its inaugural M&A Awards Americas. The bank was named Financial Advisor of the Year in Canada and Mid-Market Financial Advisor of the Year in Canada. The firm was also recently named "Investment Bank of the Year" for its strong M&A performance by ACQ Finance Magazine.
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