CIBC restructures global operations into single entity

CANADIAN Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) is reorganising and renaming its global investment banking arm in a drive for more business.

CIBC chairman Al Flood said the investment banking arm would be known as CIBC Wood Gundy and the name change was not cosmetic.

'This is far more than a name change or even a combining of two business activities,' he said. 'We are introducing a new era for CIBC and our evolving global investment bank.' The bank also named members of a new executive committee to guide the evolution of the organisation, which will be run by a group of operating committees from November 1.

CIBC is partly owned by Li Ka-shing, who reportedly holds a 10 per cent stake in the bank, the second largest financial institution in Canada. CIBC and Mr Li's Cheung Kong (Holdings) own CEF Holdings, a merchant bank which last year was involved in 17 capital market deals worth US$32 billion.

Mr Flood said the two steps effectively completed the re-engineering of CIBC's corporate and investment banking businesses, including investment dealer Wood Gundy Inc, into a single organisation providing a full range of credit and capital market products.

CIBC Wood Gundy's president, John Hunkin, said the change reflected a tougher market. 'To prosper, financial institutions are being forced to become client-driven,' he said.

'The total integration of the skills and strengths of CIBC and Wood Gundy will allow the new organisation to develop into a strong and competitive global player.' CIBC Wood Gundy's executive committee comprises Mr Hunkin as chairman, Jim Beqaj, Al Keiser, David Kassie, Ron Lalonde, Joe Mirza, deputy chairman Richard Venn and Matt Singleton, who will soon join the bank as chief administrative officer.

Under the restructuring of CIBC, Wood Gundy's retail brokerage operations are being spun off into an independently managed business, Wood Gundy Private Client Investments, which will focus on individual investors, retirement planning and investment planning on a retail level.