stock exchange

Canadian equity markets enjoyed strong growth in new issue activity last year, while debt underwriting pulled back from the highs of 2020, Refinitiv reports.

Total equity issuance was up 45% last year to $52.2 billion. This marked the highest level of new issue activity for Canadian equity markets since 2015, the firm said.

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The volume of deals also reached its highest level since 2010, with 616 offerings during the year.

Both secondary and initial public offering (IPO) activity soared last year, led by the tech sector, which accounted for 19% of the new issue activity. The energy and power sector, as well as the materials sector, trailed closely with 14% market shares each.

BMO Capital Markets led the equity underwriter league tables last year, ranking first in both secondary offerings and IPOs, and in preferred securities.

Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. ranked second overall, with Scotiabank, RBC Capital Markets and TD Securities Inc. rounding out the top five.

The big banks dominated the IPO league tables however, with Scotia, RBC, TD and CIBC World Markets trailing BMO.

In retail structured products, Investec was the year’s top underwriter, followed by CIBC, RBC, National Bank Financial (NBF) and Eight Capital.

On the debt side, total issuance was down by about 12% in 2021 to $236.1 billion, Refinitiv reported.

While corporate debt issuance was up 13% year over year, government offering activity was down by about 30%, following the surge fundraising prompted by the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

The number of debt deals was also down by 8% to 502 transactions in 2021.

Governments led the way, accounting for 52% of debt market activity, followed by the financial sector at 27%, and energy and power at 8%.

RBC led the overall debt underwriter league tables, and topped the corporate debt rankings. NBF was the top underwriter for government offerings, and Bank of America Securities was first in cross-border offerings, Refinitiv said.