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Scotiabank to set up Canadian investment dealer owned by Indigenous shareholders

Published 02/23/2024, 09:20 AM
Updated 02/23/2024, 11:35 AM
© Reuters. The Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) logo is seen outside of a branch in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

By Nivedita Balu and Arasu Kannagi Basil

(Reuters) -Bank of Nova Scotia said on Friday it would set up the first Indigenous-owned investment dealer in Canada, that would encourage the community's participation in capital markets and create new opportunities.

Cedar Leaf Capital has been established in partnership with two Indigenous development corporations and one First Nation, each owning 23.3% stake with Scotia controlling the rest. But Scotia will reduce its ownership once Cedar Leaf Capital builds its own operations.

Cedar Leaf Capital, which is still awaiting regulatory approval, would sell a broad selection of investment products to institutional clients across Canada.

Indigenous communities account for about 5% of Canada's nearly 40 million population, but they long faced barriers to accessing capital to purchase equity stakes in turn limiting their participation in infrastructure developments.

They also suffer higher levels of poverty and a lower life expectancy than other Canadians, and are more often the victims of violent crime, addiction and incarceration. But the federal government has launched several initiatives to improve their standards of living the Indigenous communities themselves have shown greater interest in being part of large resources projects where they have the land rights.

Named after the cedar leaf which is native to many Indigenous communities in North America, the company will focus on encouraging greater Indigenous participation in the capital markets and offer financial advisory services to institutional clients in Canada with a particular focus on fixed income securities.

The Canadian government has outlined a plan to sell equity to Indigenous communities in the C$30.9 billion Trans Mountain expansion project.

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Scotiabank has named Clint Davis as CEO of Cedar Leaf Capital. He has more than two decades of experience with banks and Indigenous organizations in Canada.

"You have this emerging opportunity existing with communities who are considering financial capital markets as an opportunity for access to capital," Davis said in an interview.

He noted the inception of the company came following an inquiry from a client focused on indigenous procurement.

About 70% of large Canadian corporations have a reconciliation plan to work with Indigenous people, giving Cedar Leaf Capital an opportunity to be able to provide "differentiated service," Davis said.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank has also launched a product designed to support First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities in purchasing equity ownership stakes in infrastructure projects within their traditional territories.

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