Toronto-based GMP Capital Inc. is scrapping its dividend, closing overseas offices and cutting staff as cyclical weakness in commodity markets and structural shifts in the global financial services sector have taken their toll on the firm.
The brokerage firm announced on Wednesday that it will take a $15-million after-tax restructuring charge in the fourth quarter in connection with cuts to its capital markets division, which includes closing its offices in London, U.K., and in Sydney and Perth, Australia. GMP is also rationalizing its offices in Houston and New York and streamlining sales, trading and research in Canada.
GMP indicates that it expects to save $40 million annually because of these cuts, which combined with cost-control efforts announced last November, will see it reduce its staff by 25% to 291 employees.
The cuts are designed to “sharpen its focus on [the firm’s] core North American operations,” which generated 93% of its revenue in 2015, GMP says in a statement. In addition, the firm’s board has decided to suspend its quarterly dividend.
“Our actions today arise from an exhaustive review of all aspects of our capital markets business,” says Harris Fricker, CEO of GMP, in the statement. “They represent a substantive response to both the structural changes in our industry, via technology-driven disintermediation and increased regulation, and the sustained trough in the global commodity cycle. We emerge from this restructuring a leaner and more focused business better able to weather prolonged periods of market and industry turbulence and to successfully compete in our core markets through all aspects of the cycle.”
GMP’s announcement says the decision to scrap the dividend is “consistent” with its conservative approach to capital and risk management.
“This action is in-line with the measures undertaken today and further enhances our already strong balance sheet,” Fricker says. “We remain conservatively capitalized with no outstanding debt or covenants of any kind.”