Indigenous-led Cedar Leaf Capital to support reconciliation in finance industry, CEO says

The first Indigenous-owned investment dealer in Canada will provide a unique prospective and set of values, Clint Davis says

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The first Indigenous-owned investment dealer in Canada, created in partnership with the Bank of Nova Scotia, two Indigenous corporations and a First Nation, will allow investors to support Indigenous advancement and reconciliation, its new CEO says.

Clint Davis, the chief executive of Cedar Leaf Capital Inc., said the venture announced on Feb. 23 will provide a unique prospective and set of values to an industry that hasn’t traditionally been inclusive of Indigenous communities.

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“There’s a difference in how (Indigenous people) make decisions, where you’re considering future generations as a part of that decision-making process,” Davis, an Inuk from Newfoundland and Labrador with more than 20 years experience in finance, said. “And frankly, it’s (a difference in) how you assess opportunity and risk when it comes to Indigenous opportunities and their involvement in projects as well.”

Cedar Leaf plans to offer advisory services to Canadian clients, focusing on fixed income securities offerings, while also endeavouring to encourage Indigenous participation in the financial industry and create commercial opportunities for their communities.

Cedar Leaf, created in a venture between Scotiabank, Nch’ḵay̓ Development Ltd. Partnership, Des Nedhe Financial LP and Chippewas of Rama First Nation, will initially be controlled by Scotiabank, which will own a 30 per cent stake, while the Indigenous partners own 70 per cent.

The firm is intended to be wholly Indigenous-owned and operated in the future, and over time Scotiabank will reduce its stake. For now, Cedar Leaf will rely on Scotiabank’s infrastructure as it creates its own operational framework. The firm still needs regulatory approval.

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Scotiabank CEO Scott Thomson said Cedar Leaf serves as an important step toward reconciliation and Indigenous representation in the finance industry.

“Reconciliation and deepening relationships with Indigenous communities are critical priorities and we are immensely proud to partner with these Indigenous shareholders to work together and take additional and meaningful steps forward,” he said in a statement.

Cedar Leaf’s name itself is also indicative of that goal. The cedar leaf, native to many Indigenous communities in Canada, has a deep cultural significance and represents community. That’s something Davis hopes the firm can build, in part, by employing Indigenous people.

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“I’m excited about the outreach and hopefully becoming an employer of choice for Indigenous young people who want to consider capital markets and finance as a career,” he said, adding that he hopes Scotiabank’s backing with help the firm foster good training and employment experiences.

Davis said he thinks the venture offers investors a novel opportunity they’ll want to take part in.

“This is a unique opportunity and we’re building something new, going into a new market,” he said. “You’ll see different reactions, I believe positive reactions, in the business community.”

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