15 Years in Canada: Creating a Model for Global Engagement

As we celebrate our crystal anniversary, commemorating the launch of our Toronto office in 2001, Eagle’s growth in Canada reflects our “all in” commitment to the markets in which we operate.

Joel Kornblum, Head of Partner Relations and Client Solutions

Canada’s financial and capital markets landscape has always had a reputation for stability and prudence, yet that should not overshadow the financial innovation that regularly comes out of the country. Let’s not forget that Canada produced Nobel Laureates Robert Mundell, the father of the “Euro” and supply-side economics; Myron S. Scholes, the architect of the Black-Scholes model for valuing options; and William Vickrey, one of the first to apply game theory in understanding auctions.

As Eagle has been active—and present—in Canada for 15 years now, we have witnessed firsthand the innovation and collaborative spirit that is quite unique to the country. We also recognize how valuable our clients in Canada have been in helping shape our product set to meet the evolving demands of the global marketplace. With relationships that go all the way back to 2000, we continue to build upon a network of leading asset managers and pension funds in Canada that count on Eagle to understand their distinct market and facilitate efficient growth.

Our success in Canada can be traced back to a number of factors, but chief among them was Eagle’s decision to not only build a client base in the region, but rather to really grow a significant presence. When Eagle first committed to the market, we had only one client onboard. Yet from the outset, there was a genuine recognition that in order to fully serve the market, we could not simply view it as an extension of the U.S. Characteristics such as the prevalence of both French and English business communications required a team committed to understanding and working within the market. The differences between Bay Street and Wall Street, as all Canadians well know, are far more nuanced than choosing a favorite between Molson Canadian and Budweiser.

Eagle’s commitment to build our Canadian operations was established in 2000 and the market soon became familiarized with our value proposition. As recognition of the Eagle name increased among many of the country’s most influential institutions, momentum quickly built. Today, many of those same institutions are Eagle clients with longstanding relationships, including years of collaboration focused on developing and continuously advancing leading solutions for the Canadian market as well as other global locations. The Eagle Canadian Client User Group, one of several user groups that have taken shape in recent years, evolved out of informal discussions between Eagle’s Canadian clients. This group meets regularly to share best practices in how they leverage Eagle to meet business demands. In addition to the rewarding conversation between clients, Eagle also benefits greatly from the candid discussions and feedback.

In our early days in Canada, just as it does today, our domain experience created a tremendous advantage. For instance, being able to natively accommodate the slight differences between Canadian GAAP and U.S. GAAP accounting helped us differentiate ourselves from other solutions providers. And when Canada’s Accounting Standards Board (AcSB), in 2006, decided to adopt International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), we worked alongside Quebec’s Desjardins Asset Management to develop a multi-basis, multi-currency accounting offering that addressed the new accounting standards. This collaborative development effort, in turn, was critical in that it served as a springboard to help Eagle better meet global demands and grow our business across the Atlantic.

In many ways, the growth of Eagle’s Canadian business reflects the growth of the larger company. We officially opened our office in Canada in 2001, shortly after BNY Mellon-predecessor Mellon Financial Corporation acquired Eagle. While our entrepreneurial culture was critical in developing our solution set, the resources available to us through the affiliation with our parent allowed us to take the time required to form and invest in strong relationships that have blossomed over our 15 years in Canada. In particular, Eagle’s alliance with CIBC Mellon resulted not only in a joint Toronto office but also in the delivery of end-to-end financial services solutions, catered specifically to the Canadian market.

Initially, Eagle’s Canadian team was comprised of myself and two other colleagues, including Mal Cullen, Eagle’s current CEO. In 2001, Eagle had approximately 230 employees and 50 clients. Today, Eagle has over 160 clients, 25 of which are Canadian financial institutions, including Desjardins Asset Management; Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo); and Bimcor, the pension fund manager of Bell Canada. Our growing Canadian business, led by Darcie James Maxwell, now operates out of both Toronto and Montreal. Though we continue to add new resources every year, the majority of the Canadian team has now worked at Eagle for eight or more years, speaking to its stability and long-term commitment to relationships.

Our commitment stems from the fact that we view Canada as a strategic market and a critical piece in informing our global solution set. For instance, Canada’s over-the-counter market for financial derivatives has been in place since the early 1980s and it remains one of the more developed markets for these types of instruments. Canada also manages one of largest pools of pension assets in the world, and the country’s asset owners effectively created the insourced, direct-investing archetype that institutional investors across the world are now seeking to emulate.

Additionally, this especially forward-thinking and collaborative group of clients is a great asset as Eagle expands its offering for the Canadian market. With an eye towards the future, Eagle is currently working with Canadian fund accounting clients to expand its regulatory and reporting functionality as well as with CIBC Mellon to provide middle-office solutions. Though we are proud of the achievements of our first 15 years in Canada, we are already hard at work on the next 15 years of success.

It is a familiar refrain for those who know Eagle best, but we realize that our success relies on our ability to solve distinct business challenges for clients and facilitate their pursuit of efficient growth. It is our continued and growing presence in Canada and the other countries in which we operate that allows us to work alongside our clients, understand their markets and fully grasp the local competitive landscape—all with the goal of helping meet their current needs while continually evolving our solution set to help stay ahead of future demands. As we have been active in Canada for 15 years now—a historic milestone for those of us who helped build Eagle’s Canadian operations—we see our business there as representative of what is possible as we look to build upon our 15 locations around the world and further grow our global business.

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