The exceptional financial results that we delivered in fiscal 2021 reflect the culmination of our long-standing commitment to – and execution of – a consistent strategy for our business, while fostering an enduring culture of partnership and shareholder alignment.
We have consistently improved our earnings stability over several years by creating a lower risk business model with growing contributions from wealth management, and by going deeper into our core capital markets strengths, to solidify our mid-market leadership. With this disciplined focus, we have strengthened our operating leverage and maintained ample liquidity and financial flexibility.
Underpinning our earnings growth is a strong and properly managed balance sheet, which provides agility to support the entrepreneurial drive that has been strongly evidenced in every area of our business, most notably over the course of fiscal 2021.
Our platform has proven that it can support substantially increased business activities over a relatively fixed cost base. As a result, we have established a higher foundation from which to grow our long-term earnings.
The Board has made it a strong priority to deploy capital in ways that increase the long-term value of our business and optimize value for our fellow shareholders. The continued growth of our global wealth management businesses has supported steady dividend growth over the past three years, with our most substantial increases in fiscal 2021. We also reduced our average diluted common share count by 15% over the fiscal year. While substantially higher capital markets activities have increased the demands on our capital, we remained active in our share buyback programs and we look forward to continued buybacks over the coming year.
We will always be firmly rooted in our core CG values, but we also recognize that our Company has evolved.
By committing to investing in our people and strengthening our culture, we have enhanced our operational resilience and made CG an increasingly stronger business. The Board is committed to operating with a greater consciousness of our impact on our people, our communities and the planet. By empowering our businesses and individuals to direct their charitable and volunteer efforts towards the causes and initiatives that will have a meaningful impact in their respective communities, we have seen extraordinary contributions from all regions.
We have also made meaningful progress on increasing the diversity of our talent mix across the organization as we work to cultivate a strong pipeline of future leaders, and this initiative has also extended to our external efforts. Following the success of our Canadian launch, we expanded this year’s Canaccord Genuity Advisory Program for Women Entrepreneurs to welcome applicants from all regions where CG operates. This program demonstrates our commitment to supporting global entrepreneurs, while championing women on their path to participation in the capital markets.
As our Company has evolved, the Board has continued to prioritize strong governance and diverse perspectives.
Beginning in fiscal 2021, Jill Denham assumed the role of Lead Independent Director. In March, we announced the resignation of Eric Rosenfeld, and we thank him for his contributions during his brief tenure as an Independent Director. And lastly, we look forward to nominating Jo-Anne O’Connor as an Independent Director at our upcoming Annual General Meeting. Jo-Anne brings more than 35 years of financial services experience to her role, having held senior positions in Institutional Equity Trading, in addition to serving as Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of a family office and more recently as President and CEO of a publicly traded investment company. With these changes, our Board of Directors will have 40% female representation, with 50% female representation at the independent level.
In closing, I would like to thank Dan and the Global Operating Committee for their exemplary leadership throughout what continues to be a historically significant period for our business and our industry. And on behalf of the Board of Directors, I would also like to thank every member of the CG team for their unwavering commitment to our clients and our shareholders. We are grateful for everything you do.
And to my fellow shareholders, thank you for your continued support.
Canaccord Genuity Group Inc.