UNB Alumni
Telling our #ProudlyUNB stories

Relationships and hard work led to success for this SIF alum

Author: UNB Alumni

Posted on Jan 22, 2023

Category: Management , Inspiring Stories , UNB Fredericton

Sean McNulty (BBA’07) is principal and co-founder of XIB Financial Inc., a Toronto-based capital markets advisory and asset management business. A BBA graduate member of the Student Investment Fund (SIF) program at UNB’s Faculty of Management, Sean says that his career path was both serendipitous and the result of hard work and building good relationships.

“I had top grades and had taken a lot of psychology and HR courses in my first years but by third year at UNB I needed to choose a major. An HR professor suggested finance would be a better fit for me, and that was some of the best advice I’ve ever received. I dove into math and finance courses and joined the SIF program which made me a bit unique – SIF was an experience that most other schools didn’t offer their students. By chance, in my final year, the SIF program hosted the Atlantic Futures Symposium and invited all the big banks and investment firms to recruit right on campus at UNB. I was invited to Toronto and took a job with CIBC World Markets as an investment banking analyst. I had a strong work ethic and even though I didn’t want to continue in investment banking, I worked hard to prove I could cut it, earned a promotion, and built good relationships at the bank along the way.”

Sean soon made a name for himself in the mergers and acquisitions investment banking group “because it’s action-oriented and the most competitive.” “Eventually I moved to the equity sales desk and loved it! Work every day was different, I was able to build and maintain relationships with professionals from a different part of the bank, and I got to communicate with clients on the buyside. In 2012, a hedge fund client recruited me and I made the move to MM Asset Management (“MMCAP”).”

MMCAP is one of Canada’s most successful hedge funds, and Sean was part of a five-person investment team responsible for managing an event-driven investment portfolio. “I was there for almost five years, had a great time, and learned so much. But I had some ambitions and ideas I wanted to take out on my own. I recruited a former colleague to be my business partner and we started XIB in 2016. We initially did a lot of consulting for cannabis companies as Canadian regulations changed and instead of charging cash, we decided to take the majority of our fees in stock. There was not a lot of competition at that point and we ended up timing things quite well on the back of that. Our consulting mandates earned us enough to seed our own hedge fund in 2019. We have our own life savings invested right beside our clients so we care about the returns a lot more than the fees. That makes us different than most money managers.”

During the initial onset of the pandemic, During the COVID-19 pandemic, he and his wife (a New Brunswicker that Sean met during his time at UNB) both worked remotely from their apartment in Toronto. He learned quickly that working from home was very doable for an asset manager, so he decided to take on a new adventure and moved to Bermuda. “We love it here.”

Recently, Sean visited his old stomping grounds at UNB to speak with current SIF and Master in Quantitative Investment Management (MQIM) students. The former class valedictorian told them that they had some advantages over other graduates and gave them advice on how to succeed.

“The work ethic and experiential learning at UNB in programs like the SIF is a definite advantage, but you still need to figure out a way to make yourself stand out.”  In addition to academics and his participation in the SIF program, Sean was an amateur kickboxer during his university years. “That was something unique and interesting and it stood out on my resume and in conversations with potential employers, who could see that I had aptitude, ambition and a lot of “fight” in me.  Doing something that makes you different or interesting is an easy conversation starter.”

Sean also had sage advice for those looking for success to bring them happiness. “Success comes from being happy, not the other way around. You do good work when you’re happy. Help others, expect nothing back, build trust and work hard at something you like. That will lead to doors opening for you and people and opportunities being there for you when you least expect it.”