"We're going to double the size of our business"

Canaccord Genuity's new head of private client group on the future for his firm, advisors

"We're going to double the size of our business"

Matt Cicci has some ambitious goals. Six months into his tenure as the new head of the private client group at Canaccord Genuity, Cicci shared where he sees his firm headed now. He explained some of the platform that has been built across CG and particularly on their private client side, and noted how that platform is meant to serve the needs of modern clients. He expressed full-throated confidence in his advisory teams. He believes that they can meet and exceed his goal for the firm.

“We’re going to double the size of our business and we’re going to achieve that in several different ways,” Cicci says. “Our practices are going to grow and we’re going to support that growth through technology, through our collaborative culture, through investing with our advisors on client development. We’re going to do it by increasing our service levels and expanding our share of wallet so that our average client size really grows. We can do that because we’re set up for that. We have the best technology stack in the business bar none, I feel invincibly confident about that.”

Cicci’s greatest confidence is in his advisory teams. He believes that CG advisors now are strong, well equipped teams of experienced and optimistic advisors. His role now is to remove as many obstacles as he can for those advisors and continue to maintain that technology and service platform.

Cicci attributes the strength of CG’s current platform to the work done by his predecessor in the private client group, Stuart Raftus. Raftus was named CEO of Canaccord Genuity Corp. (Canada) in June of 2023 and Cicci describes the work his predecessor completed as exciting, sophisticated, and technology centric.

In taking the reins at the private client group Cicci — who has spent over 20 years with the firm — took a national tour. He went coast to coast meeting with advisory teams, hearing about their successes and listening for their pain points. He notes that across the country his firm’s advisors shared common ambitions and willingness to grow. He says his advisors feel they are part of a winning team. What he wants, now, is to maintain that optimism and help his advisors deliver better and deeper service to clients because, in doing so, they will drive deeper relationships and greater share of wallet.

Managing regulation is another key aspect of Cicci’s mandate. Regulation in this industry is constantly changing, often necessarily as it keeps pace with a rapidly changing world. Keeping advisory practices compliant without burdening them with a massive time commitment is a challenge, but one that Cicci thinks technologies like automation can play a role in alleviating.

While CG wants to grow by deepening advisor-client relationships, Cicci also notes that changing client demands mean they need to deepen their relationships too. He cites research that found many clients are trimming their financial service providers, going from three providers to two and — in many cases — down to one. Cicci wants his advisory teams to be that one provider, which means they have to keep evolving and delivering more sophisticated service to clients.

One of the ways his advisors are meeting clients’ needs now is by expanding their teams. Where a decade ago teams of four advisors were rare, Cicci now sees advisory teams of 10 or 20 popping up relatively frequently. Adding scale allows advisory teams to deliver more sophisticated and integrated service to their clients. While kept distinct by regulation from a family office, the model starts to look more like family offices and allows clients to receive a similar level of bespoke service.

That is not to say CG is dictating how they want their advisors to run their businesses. Cicci insists that the firm is ‘agnostic’ and inclusive in regards to the kind of business an advisor operates.

“We do not tell advisors what their clients want – we are agnostic to the style of practice that an advisor wants to build as long as they deliver real value to their clients,” Cicci says. “High net worth clients are looking for unique ideas, and that may include private placements, new issues, or financial planning. Our broad platform has been designed so that advisors can offer high net worth clients what they really want and need.”

It’s on Cicci to equip his advisors with the tools they need to succeed whatever their business model may be.

Those tools include marketing and content education, teaching advisors to become authoritative voices on the platforms where their clients and prospects are now. That work can be challenging as advisors need to establish themselves in a noisy and unregulated ecosystem. Cicci is confident, though, that the quality of their insights and the strength of their client relationships will be enough for CG’s advisors to cut through the noise.

While he is still relatively new in the role, Cicci is a longtime veteran of Canaccord. Despite all his time in the trenches, he remains optimistic and excited about the next growth stage for his firm.

“We have built an impressive platform that supports highly professional advisors and their growth aspirations,” Cicci says. “By providing our advisors with the tools and resources they need, we equip them to deliver better client outcomes and capture more of their clients’ assets. It’s amazing to see highly successful people working together and driving such impressive growth.”