(Resource News International) — The western Canadian offices of MF Global Canada Co., a subsidiary of MF Global Ltd., have been closed, according to a spokesperson in New York.
“We have decided to close our retail branches in Vancouver, B.C., Calgary, Alta. and Winnipeg, Man.,” said Tiffany Galvin with MF Global Ltd. “We announced this at the end of last week.”
MF Global Ltd. continues to see extensive potential in Canada, she said, and Canada remains an important market to MF Global.
“By closing our offices in Western Canada we will be able to more strategically focus our efforts around the major financial centres in the region,” she said.
Galvin said all accounts from the western Canadian offices have been transferred to MF Global’s eastern branch offices.
The move by MF Global to close its western branch offices came very sudden with clients unaware of the move.
“I had an account with a MF Global broker in Winnipeg and when I tried calling on Monday, someone in Toronto picked up,” a MF Global Canada customer, who did not want to be identified, said. “I was transferred to a broker I did not know and have no intention in trading with.”
The customer also noted that employees of the MF Global offices that were closed knew the company was planning on shutting down those offices, but did not know when that would occur.
Another former MF Global client questioned the decision to move its western Canadian client base to the Toronto office.
The source, also who did not want his name used, felt the Toronto office would not serve its western Canadian clients as well as the brokers who were located in Vancouver, Calgary or Winnipeg.
“Anyone from a small farming community in Saskatchewan who regularly traded agricultural commodities, is not going to want to deal with an easterner who has no knowledge of Western Canada,” the source said.
MF Global’s Galvin would not comment on how many staff were impacted by the decision to close its western Canadian branch offices.
Industry sources, however, said the firm had 26 brokers in the three offices, including 12 in Vancouver, eight in Calgary and six in Winnipeg.
The source also indicated that it was likely that individuals with accounts with MF Global will be looking to transfer their business to other brokerage houses still operating in Western Canada.
“We have already had some calls about transferring accounts from MF Global Canada,” Ken Ball, a broker with Union Securities Ltd., in Winnipeg, confirmed.
There had been rumours of MF Global’s situation making the rounds in the industry, he said, but the news still came as a bit of a surprise.
MF Global Canada provided execution and clearing services for exchange-traded and over-the-counter derivative products as well as for non-derivative foreign exchange products and securities in the cash market. MF Global operates across a broad range of trading markets, including interest rates, equities, currencies, energy and metals, agricultural and other commodities.