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Chair Message  


Dear Fellow Shareholders,

While certainly not without challenges, 2017 highlighted the important role that fully integrated Canadian independent firms, like GMP, continue to play in the efficient functioning of the Canadian capital markets. GMP continues to demonstrate considerable resilience in the face of daunting cyclical lows in commodities. And, more importantly, as a much leaner organization, it is better capable of responding to emerging revenue opportunities as they arise. GMP continues to enjoy a leadership position in the Country’s two largest economic sectors, mining and energy, and has been aggressively gaining greater market share in the non-commodities portion of the business. While the firm’s financial performance is not where the Board and management would like it to be, the strides made to date have been encouraging and the Board believes the pre-requisites for sustainable growth are in place

In 2017, GMP Securities established itself as an emerging leader in the provision of advice and financing solutions to the blockchain and cannabis sectors. These sectors are a logical extension of GMP’s proven expertise and rich history in providing advice and capital raising services to the small- to mid-cap segments – the lifeblood of the Canadian economy. They also help re-inforce the strength and capabilities GMP has always maintained outside of commodities. These two sectors represented key investment themes in 2017 and we believe this momentum will continue in 2018.

The Board was closely involved in the firm’s strategic agenda to expand its capabilities in the non-commodities portion of the business. We actively participated in a number of strategic reviews to help ensure that identified growth opportunities received the requisite discussion, analysis, monitoring and oversight.

The response from clients has been overwhelmingly positive, and investor interest in these sectors surged in 2017. More specifically, the benefits of this diversification were clearly evident in our fourth quarter performance. 

Working Closely with our Partners at Richardson GMP

GMP stands alongside its partners at Richardson GMP at the forefront of change. Market leadership and solid profitability at Richardson GMP over the past several years evidences the success of this partnership. Both firms continue to benefit from a high degree of professional collaboration and significant mutual business synergies, namely in the areas of product origination and distribution, access to diverse product offerings, and operational scale support services. We remain committed to deriving further synergies between our wholesale and retail businesses.

Risk Management and Capital

Chief among the lessons learned from the Global Financial Crisis is the importance of a strong risk culture in identifying, anticipating, and responding to the principal risks and challenges facing the industry. An effective integrated risk management framework ensured the Board proactively debated and assessed growth opportunities in the blockchain/ cryptocurrencies and cannabis spaces.

The Board remains committed to ensuring the firm maintains strong capital positioning to weather the inevitable market cycles, but more importantly, have the flexibility to pursue growth opportunities as they arise. The Board is comfortable that GMP has ample capital to do both.

Special Dividend

Given GMP’s improved operating performance, its strong capital position and the Board and management’s outlook for the first half of 2018, we declared a special cash dividend of 10 cents per common share on March 1, 2018. As the firm’s future results allow, the Board plans to continue to return excess capital to shareholders.

Board Renewal

At our Annual and Special Meeting of Common Shareholders on May 3, 2018, James (Jim) Meekison will retire from our Board. Jim has been a valued member of our Board since 2008. On behalf of the Board, we extend thanks to Jim for his wise counsel and considerable contributions to the firm over the past decade.

Under the guidance of the Governance Committee, we have commenced a recruitment process to identify and recommend to the Board two individuals qualified to become independent members of the Board. Consistent with our diversity policy, the Governance Committee will take into account diversity considerations such as gender, age and ethnicity, with a view to ensuring that the Board benefits from a broad range of perspectives and relevant experience.

Closing

We believe GMP remains on the right track and in a stronger position moving forward. GMP delivered on its promise to remain a dominant Canadian independent player in the small- to mid-cap segments of the capital markets. GMP has successfully extracted considerable fixed cost savings over the past two years while simultaneously expanding its capabilities and winning greater market share in the non-commodities portion of its business. With significantly leaner operations, a growing non-commodities business, and a leading independent Wealth management franchise, it is plainly evident that GMP will remain disruptively competitive moving forward.

I would like to thank our shareholders for their ongoing support and my fellow Board members for their insight and sound judgement.

DONALD A. WRIGHT
Chair of the Board of Directors