Jimmy Karam, CFA
Jimmy Karam, CFA, is an accomplished professional with over a decade of financial industry experience. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from McGill University, he passed the CSC and CPH examinations through the Canadian Securities Institute and received the designation of Certified Financial Analyst through the CFA Institute. In 2019, he joined BMO Nesbitt Burns as director of ETF and Index trading, where the Fixed Income ETF business has since doubled in size capturing around 40% market share in Fixed Income ETFs—placing first in Canada and more than doubling the gap versus the second-place dealer.
Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, BMO Nesbitt Burns is BMO Financial Group’s full-service investing business in Canada as well as a part of the organization’s Private Client Group. With 76 branches across the country, their extensive network of 1,300 investment advisors offers comprehensive and client-focused investment and wealth advisory services—leveraging strong financial planning capabilities, a broad range of internal and external relationships, and high-quality products. Currently taking up 40% of the market, BMO Nesbitt Burns is Canada’s leading, dominant market-maker on fixed income ETFs. The broader ETF business is also #1 in Canada with around 30% of overall market share.
Within his role at the company, Jimmy works with Artificial Intelligence and high-frequency trading teams to develop ETF trading algorithms. This is how BMO has come to dominate the space while enhancing the liquidity clients receive and reducing their trading costs. In some of their record quarters, the team has hit over 50% market share in Fixed Income ETFs.
There is a lot of internal support for innovation at BMO, and Jimmy is exceptionally proud of his team. Their approach for investing in capital markets involves backing every decision they make with a plethora of data. “We’ve become the gold standard for anything ETFs related, which is a testament to the market share we’ve achieved,” says Jimmy. In fact, the team recently worked with BMO Global Asset Management to build and launch Canada’s first and only mortgage-backed securities ETF, and in April, BMO GAM issued a socially responsible ETF that resulted in one of the largest equity ETF trades in Canadian history at $1.6 billion. Utilizing the team’s ESG mentality, the ETF Desk helped a client transition out of an S&P 500 into a socially responsible portfolio.
The team has undoubtedly accomplished a great deal in ETFs over the years. Very recently BMO partnered with Purpose Investments to help launch and market-make the world’s first bitcoin ETF. They worked with numerous regulatory bodies to pioneer the project and to make it ready once trading began. “Purpose’s launch was regarded as one of most successful ETF launches in history,” says Jimmy. “On the very first day, the product traded over $200 million.” Still, because of their forward-looking approach and constant reinvestment into the business, the team is already thinking about their next step forward and where they can invest to stay ahead of the curve.
Jimmy got his start in the industry working at HSBC bank in 2011 as part of the corporate solutions team, which specialized in customized financial solutions for clients. Jimmy later transitioned into trading and worked his way up to associate vice president of Institutional Rates and Credit Trading. In 2016, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) offered Jimmy a position as director of investment-grade credit and mortgage-backed securities trading. It was within this role that he started exploring ETFs and working on various strategies to reduce the bid offer spread while enhancing liquidity to the end client. To date, Jimmy has spent his entire career working in capital markets and has traded every asset class within Fixed Income.
Jimmy Karam, CFA
Director, ETF and Index Trading
BMO Nesbit Burns