By Staff | January 26, 2004 | Last updated on January 26, 2004
4 min read

(January 30, 2004) The ongoing integration of Berkshire-TWC has resulted in job losses in Radville, Saskatchewan, where TWC is based. In a release, Berkshire-TWC said some jobs previously located in Radville are being transferred to Burlington, Ontario, home of Berkshire.

No numbers were released, but Berkshire-TWC said there would be fewer jobs in Radville when the integration is completed this summer. “Berkshire-TWC has provided working notice for many processing and administrating staff for their existing positions,” the company said.

Berkshire and TWC joined forces last year. The company says it is not abandoning Radville altogether, but will be adding new processing jobs at that location. Job postings are expected in February with hiring continuing on throughout the summer.

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VenGrowth to cap labour fund

(January 30, 2004) VenGrowth Capital Partners today announced plans to cap the country’s largest labour-sponsored investment fund. The VenGrowth II Investment Fund will be closed to investors on March 1, 2004.

VenGrowth II, launched in January 2000, has nearly $500 million in assets and 100,000 investors.

“Capping VenGrowth II after it has enjoyed a series of successful fundraising years, will allow the broad portfolio of companies to mature in unison, increasing return potential for investors,” said VenGrowth senior vice-president Deborah Gray.

VenGrowth also plans to start up a third labour fund, expected to be named VenGrowth III, “which will mirror the conservative, late-state investment strategy pioneered by VenGrowth’s first two flagship funds,” the company said.

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Investors Group reports higher quarterly earnings

(January 30, 2004) Investors Group today reported net income of $144 million for the three months ending December 31, 2003, a 20% increase from the same period last year. The Winnipeg-based fund firm also announced a 2% dividend increase to 25 cents per share. Earnings per share were 54 cents.

“Strong financial markets have led to growing investor confidence and helped to produce good financial results for Investors Group,” said company CEO Jeffrey Orr.

Mackenzie Financial president James Hunter added, “2003 was a very strong year for Mackenzie. We led our key competitors with $5.28 billion in gross sales and ended the year with an increase in unitholder assets primarily from market appreciation of more than 10%.”

Orr acknowledged that the mutual fund industry was struggling with net redemptions, but pointed out that long-term fund sales were beginning to rebound. He also said 2003 saw the fewest competitive defections among Investors Group consultants in the past five years.

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Sun Life reports record earnings

(January 29, 2004) Sun Life Financial today reported record operating earnings for 2003 of more than $1.5 billion. The insurance giant also announced that it would be taking a $211 million charge against earnings to provide for the potential costs of regulatory action against its U.S. subsidiary, Massachusetts Financial Services, which has been caught up in the mutual fund scandal south of the border.

Including the charge, net income for the full year was $1.3 billion and Q4 profits topped $200 million.

“A strong performance from our Canadian businesses contributed to the continued improvement in earnings,” said Sun Life CEO Don Stewart. “These results confirmed our confidence in the acquisition of Clarica to complement and strengthen our domestic presence and position us for international growth.”

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Retirees urged to use RRSP room

(January 28, 2004) The Royal Bank is encouraging retirees under the age of 69 to continue making contributions to their RRSP, despite the fact they are no longer working, citing the tax savings they may still realize.

“Many retirees under 69 years old may think because they are no longer working, they are ineligible to contribute to their RRSP,” said Michael Walker, director and vice-president of the Financial Advisory Solutions Team at RBC Investments. “If they have unused contribution room available, investing right up to age 69 can be a great strategy to defer taxes, lower taxable income and shelter growth inside an RRSP.”

A poll conducted for RBC found the average yearly household income for retirees is close to $53,000. Employer pensions are the primary source of income for 44% of respondents.

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Federal Reserve leaves rates unchanged

(January 28, 2004) The U.S. Federal Reserve has finished its two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting, announcing interest rates would remain at 1%. Wall Street traders had been anticipating the Fed would stay the course for the time being.

“With inflation quite low and resource use slack, the committee believes it can be patient in removing its policy accommodation,” the Fed said in a statement. It also said it planned to keep rates low “for a considerable period.”

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Manulife rolls out online advisor tools

(January 28, 2004) Manulife Investments a new online investment tool called Manulife Portfolio Select to its independent advisors, which the firm says will assist advisors in recommending appropriate asset allocation portfolios.

The online service includes a risk-tolerance assessment questionnaire, customized investment policy statements and assistance in selecting appropriate Manulife products, including a selection of Manulife Asset Allocation Portfolios.

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Pension plan awareness lacking, StatsCan reports

(January 26, 2004) Many Canadian workers don’t clearly understand their on-the-job pension plans, according to a Statistics Canada survey. A study conducted in 2001 found that 390,000 full-time employees — about 4% of the work force — thought they had pension plans, but did not.

“They were working in firms that offered neither a registered pension plan (RPP) nor a group RRSP,” Stats Can said. The proportion of workers who didn’t know about their pension plans was twice as high among recent immigrants, the agency added.

Among workers who wrongly reported having a group RRSP, two-thirds actually had an RPP. “This suggests that many workers confuse group RRSPs with RPPs,” StatsCan says.

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Manulife launches pair of new seg funds

(January 26, 2004) Manulife Investments has added two new products to its segregated fund lineup: the Manulife Elliott & Page Dividend guaranteed investment fund and the Manulife Fidelity NorthStar guaranteed investment fund.

The Manulife Elliott & Page Dividend fund will be managed by Alan Wicks and Michael Hatcher of MFC Global Investment Management. “After a period of stock market uncertainty, investors are taking another look at the role dividend funds play in their portfolio,” said Wicks.

Manulife Fidelity NorthStar, a global equity fund, will be available through Manulife until the end of 2004.

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(01/26/04) staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.