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(March 18, 2008) The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee has opted to cut its key Fed Funds rate by “only” 75 basis points. The Fed Funds rate now stands at 2.25%, while the discount rate has been cut to 2.50%.

“Recent information indicates that the outlook for economic activity has weakened further,” the FOMC said in a release. “Growth in consumer spending has slowed and labor markets have softened. Financial markets remain under considerable stress, and the tightening of credit conditions and the deepening of the housing contraction are likely to weigh on economic growth over the next few quarters.”

While the economy has slowed, there has been an increasing threat of inflation, the Fed noted, but that should moderate in the coming quarters.

Equity markets reacted negatively, as the move was shy of the expected 100 basis point cut. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 110 points within minutes of the announcement.

The decision was split, with eight members of the committee backing the 75 bps cut, while two members recommended an even less aggressive cut.

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AIM Trimark fills top vacancies

(March 18, 2008) AIM Trimark Investments has named Graham Anderson as chief investment officer, filling the role vacated by Patrick Farmer last year. Anderson has been serving as acting CIO, with the title of head of investment operations and services.

“Over the past seven years, Graham has played a major role in the evolution of Trimark’s investment team,” said Phil Taylor, senior managing director and head of parent company Invesco’s North American retail asset management business. “After a thorough review of internal and external candidates, it became clear to all of us that Graham is the most qualified individual for this role. I’m confident in his abilities to lead the group.”

As CIO, Anderson will oversee the firm’s staff of investment managers and will also join Invesco’s investors forum, an internal group of senior investment staff.

At the same time, AIM Trimark named chief operating officer Peter Intraligi as the firm’s new president.

“Peter has been pivotal to the success of AIM Trimark over the past nine years,” said Taylor. “By successfully taking on key positions within both Canada and Invesco globally, he has proven himself to be an exceptional leader.”

Both appointments are effective immediately.

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Ivey to honour D’Alessandro

(March 18, 2008) Dominic D’Alessandro, president and CEO of Manulife Financial, has been named this year’s recipient of the Ivey Business Leader Award, to be presented at a gala dinner on October 8, 2008.

“It gives me great pleasure to celebrate Dominic’s exceptional leadership with this award. His role in managing the successful completion of the merger with John Hancock Financial Services is exemplary of his cross-enterprise leadership,” said Carol Stephenson, dean of Richard Ivey School of Business. “Dominic has been a strong voice in encouraging Canadian companies to take bold action such that they grow into global leaders in their fields.”

The takeover of Boston-based John Hancock Financial Services made Manulife the second largest life insurer in North America.

The Ivey Business Leader Award was created in 1991 and honours “individuals and organizations that have made a significant contribution to the advancement of business in Canada, and reflect the ideals of the Richard Ivey School of Business.”

In recent years, the Ivey award has been presented to such business titans as Claude Lamoureux, Isadore Sharp, Peter Godsoe and Gwyn Morgan.

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UTAM names new president, CEO

(March 18, 2008) One of the country’s largest endowment funds, the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation, has named a new leader. Effective April 15, 2008, William Moriarty will take over as president and CEO.

Moriarty joins UTAM from the Royal Bank and RBC Capital Markets, where he held the post of vice-chair and head of the global research division. He also served on the board of RBC Asset Management Inc., and on the investment strategy committee of the bank’s pension fund.

“We are delighted that Bill has decided to join UTAM. His background and skills are ideally matched to the challenge of managing UTAM and the large and sophisticated portfolio we oversee,” says Ira Gluskin, board chair, UTAM.


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