By Staff | November 29, 2004 | Last updated on November 29, 2004
10 min read

(December 3, 2004) Credit Suisse First Boston Canada (CSFB) has been hit with a heavy fine by Canada’s stock market regulator for improper trading.

CSFB was fined $1.35 million and ordered to pay investigation costs of $150,000 to Market Regulation Services (RS) for off-market trading involving more than nine million shares of BCE last year and for failing to maintain a complete and accurate audit trail.

The shares in question were traded in London and not reported to a marketplace, stock exchange or market regulator.

CSFB also conducted sales of the BCE shares to Canadian clients in the over-the-counter market in the United States outside market hours, knowing that the details would not be disseminated in real time, RS added.

“These activities are contraventions of the Universal Market Integrity Rules, which are designed to safeguard market integrity and fairness in the capital markets by ensuring that trading in securities remains transparent and that there is a level playing field for all market participants,” RS said in a statement.

• • •

Nesbitt to lead TSX Group

(December 3, 2004) The TSX Group has promoted Richard Nesbitt to chief executive officer, replacing Barbara Stymiest, who left earlier this year to join RBC.

Nesbitt has been president of TSX markets since 2001. “Mr. Nesbitt’s time at TSX Group has been punctuated with a series of market improvements which now offer participants greater choices on the TSX Group’s exchanges,” the TSX said in a statement. “All are based on the best practices of exchanges from around the world and continue to define TSX Group as a market leader.”

The TSX Group formed a search committee after Stymiest resigned in September, recommending Nesbitt to the board of directors earlier this week.

Prior to joining the TSX, Nesbitt served as president and CEO of investment dealer BayStreetDirect. He also spent 10 years at CIBC Wood Gundy and was president of HSBC Securities for three years.

• • •

CRA announces interest rate schedule for next quarter

(December 3, 2004) The Canada Revenue Agency has announced the interest rates that will apply to amounts individuals and corporations owe to the tax department and vice-versa.

For overdue taxes, CPP contributions and employment insurance contributions, the rate will be 7%. The interest rate on overpayments will be 5% while the rate used to calculate taxable benefits for employees and shareholders from interest-free and low-interest loans will be 3%.

The CRA calculates interest rates quarterly — the stated rates will in effect from January 1, 2005 to March 31, 2005.

• • •

(December 2, 2004) The Financial Planning Standards Board, a non-profit organization for certified financial planners around the world has been officially launched.

Canada’s Financial Planners Standards Council, which owns the rights to the CFP designation in this country, is joining with non-profit associations in 16 other countries to manage the CFP certification process.

The new international standards-setting body is purchasing the CFP certification and service marks from the Denver-based CFP Board, which will continue to run the designation in the U.S.

“FPSB and CFP Board recognize their shared interest and responsibility in advancing the standards of the CFP certification program in their respective territories and have agreed to cooperate in this effort,” the FPSC said in a release today.

“As CFP certification gains ground internationally, the commitment of the FPSB affiliates and the CFP Board to work together to preserve the integrity of this global brand is increasingly important. FPSB will strive to work with and attract the best and brightest from all regions to help us develop a financial planning profession respected everywhere,” added FPSC President Don Johnston.

Johnston and FPSC Board vice chair Margaret Koniuck will represent Canada on the 2005 nine-member FPSB Board of Directors.

• • •

Accountants salaries predicted to rise in 2005

(December 2, 2004) Canadian accounting and finance professionals are expected to see an average increase of 2.6% in starting wages next year, according to the 2005 Salary Guide from Robert Half International.

Those working on compliance issues such as Canadian investor confidence measures and the American Sarbanes-Oxley Act will see the biggest pay hikes, as demand for their skills grows, the survey indicates.

“Compliance-related issues are fuelling demand for individuals with expertise in internal auditing procedures and corporate governance regulations,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “Accounting and finance professionals with skills in these areas may receive multiple employment offers in the current environment.”

The report says corporate accountants can expect starting salaries in the range of $64,500 to $87,000 per year while public accountants with one to three years of experience at large firms can expect average starting salaries rise to between $43,250 and $53,750,. Entry-level financial analysts should expect to earn between $32,750 and $39,750 annually.

• • •

Fixed-rate mortgages drop below 5%

(December 2, 2004) Fixed-rate mortgages have hit a 30-week low, with five-year terms falling below 5%, according to Invis, Canada’s largest independent mortgage broker.

A competitive five-year fixed rate mortgage may be obtained at 4.95%, says Invis, while a competitive variable rate mortgage stands at 3.5%.

“Although mortgage hunters may be anxious to hear whether the Bank of Canada raises the rate on Tuesday they shouldn’t overlook the stealth improvement in fixed five-year mortgage rates,” says Invis president Andrew Moor.

Fixed rate mortgages are tied to changes in the bond market, while variable rates are based on prime rates at the chartered banks.

• • •

CI sub-contracts to Waterfall

(December 2, 2004) CI Mutual Funds has announced it has retained Waterfall Investments Inc. as sub-advisor to several Canadian small-cap portfolios.

“Peter Hodson has been an asset to CI since he began managing funds for us, delivering excellent results in his Canadian small cap portfolios,” said Peter Anderson, CI president and CEO. “Under this new agreement, the funds will not only benefit from his continued guidance, but from the combined expertise of the entire Waterfall team.”

Under the agreement, Hodson will manage Signature Canadian Small Cap Class, CI Explorer Fund and portions of the portfolios of Synergy Canadian Style Management Class, Synergy Canadian Tactical Asset Allocation Fund and Synergy Extreme Canadian Equity Fund.

• • •

Altamira launches high-interest savings product

(December 1, 2004) In an effort to compete with the virtual banks, mutual fund firm Altamira Investment Services has launched its own high-interest savings account, available as of today.

The Altamira High-Interest Cash Performer offers an interest rate of 2.4%, the same as ING’s current rate.

“Whether it’s saving for a rainy day or as part of an overall investment strategy, every investor’s portfolio should include a cash component,” said Greg Reed, president and CEO of Altamira.

As a relaunch of Altamira Cash Performer, all investors currently holding Cash Performer will receive the High-Interest Cash Performer rate automatically. The account is RRSP eligible, carries no fees, is CDIC insured and requires no minimum balance.

• • •

New website aims to demystify investor protection funds

(December 1, 2004) In the unlikely event of a financial institution collapsing, customers can rest assured that some of their savings may be guaranteed by one of a number of insolvency compensation plans. But where can they go for information on the various investor protection funds?

A new website is aimed at clarifying the process of making claims in case of a collapse. The site,, is a joint project of Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Canadian Investor Protection Fund , CompCorp, The Property and Casualty Insurance Compensation Corporation, the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario and L’Autorité des marchés financiers.

“This consumer-oriented initiative provides a simple way for consumers to find out more about how they are protected,” the groups said in a joint press release. “Based on where a financial product is purchased, the portal allows consumers to search for the relevant compensation plan by industry segment, company and product category. Visitors to the site are then directed to the website of the appropriate compensation plan for more detailed information.”

• • •

Industrial Alliance finalizes National Life takeover

(December 1, 2004) The boards of directors at Industrial Alliance and National Life have approved a merger of the two firms, pending regulatory approval.

By the end of next year, Industrial Alliance expects all new contracts formerly underwritten under the National Life name to be underwritten by Industrial Alliance and all in-force National Life contracts to be transferred to and assumed by Industrial Alliance.

“This decision is the culmination of an integration process that began a few years ago and aimed to maximize the synergies between the Industrial Alliance Group’s three life insurance companies,” said Industrial Alliance president Yvon Charest. The Quebec City firm also owns Industrial Alliance Pacific, based in Vancouver.

Earlier this year, Industrial Alliance combined the retail distribution operations of National Life’s individual insurance and annuities sectors with the already largely integrated operations of Industrial Alliance and Industrial Alliance Pacific.

“This new distribution structure has diminished the advantages of maintaining a distinct legal entity for National Life, since the entire Industrial Alliance Group will now use the same products, systems and distribution strategy,” Charest explained.

Over the next two years, Industrial Alliance is expected to phase out about 90 information systems jobs at National Life, about half of which will be offered jobs at CGI Group, which already manages some IT services at Industrial Alliance.

• • •

New mortgage product targets self-employed

(December 1, 2004) Mississauga, Ont.-based Mortgage Intelligence today launched an upgraded mortgage application product that does not require potential homebuyers to declare their income.

Although applicants still must provide their place of employment and field of work, the approved loan amount will be based on the applicant’s credit rating and whether employment to service the debt is reasonable.

“At the end of 2002, Mortgage Intelligence launched the “ideclare” mortgage, a stated income product for the self-employed, requiring no documented proof of earnings,” says Mortgage Intelligence president Bob Ord. The new version goes even further, he says, eliminating the need for an income declaration, the use of debt servicing ratios, notice of assessment, and confirmation of business ownership.

The launch coincides with a considerable upswing in the number of self-employed workers in Canada, the firm notes. According to Statistics Canada, the self-employed segment represented close to 16% of the country’s workforce in 2001, compared to 12% in the previous census.

• • •

CSI teams with online learning firm

(December 1, 2004) The Canadian Securities Institute (CSI) has announced an alliance with WBT Systems, a provider of enterprise learning solutions.

“CSI’s customers have increased their demand for more tailored and integrated learning solutions based on our industry-leading course curriculum,” said Dr. Roberta Wilton, CSI’s president. “The alliance with WBT Systems enables us to meet this need and allows our customers to achieve significant business goals in new ways.”

The e-learning alliance offers corporate leaders a “whole learning solution” that addresses specific business challenges in sales performance and regulatory compliance.

• • •

CGAs call for better corporate accounting

(November 30, 2004) The head of the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada is calling on business leaders to “get the numbers right” to restore investor confidence.

“It will take better professional education, clearer financial reporting standards, diligence, attention to detail and sheer hard work,” says Tony Ariganello, president and CEO of CGA-Canada. “Over the past few years the corporate sector has taken a huge public relations hit. It’s been condemned and maligned. And every new case reinforces the need for greater transparency and accountability.”

Ariganello acknowledges that the complexity of modern corporate structures can present a challenge to executives, but that the health of the entire Canadian economy depended on investors having faith in corporate accounting.

• • •

Assante pools get new management

(November 30, 2004) Assante Asset Management has announced changes to the portfolio management arrangements for two investment pools in its Assante Optima Strategy program.

Wellington Management Company LLP has been awarded investment management of the Assante U.S. Equity Growth, while management of the Assante Canadian Equity Diversified Pool will be shared by Connor, Clark & Lunn Investment Management Ltd. of Vancouver and Tetrem Capital Partners Ltd. of Winnipeg.

The changes are effective January 7, 2005.

• • •

Manulife locks up Hancock unit

(November 30, 2004) Manulife Financial is beefing up its presence in southeast Asia, increasing its stake in Interlife John Hancock Assurance to 93%, through its locally-affiliated Thai holding company.

“This move creates an excellent opportunity for us to significantly strengthen our position in the Thai life insurance market, a market we see as offering tremendous growth potential,” said Vic Apps, senior executive vice president and general manager for Asia, Manulife Financial.

Manulife Financial gained entry into Thailand on April 28, 2004, following the completion of a large-scale global merger between Manulife Financial Corporation and U.S.-based John Hancock Financial Services, Inc.

• • •

Canada Life to offer National Bank services

(November 29, 2004) National Bank of Canada has signed a deal with Canada Life to distribute banking products and services through Canada Life’s distribution channels.

“At Canada Life, we are committed to providing a broad range of financial security products and services through our distribution channels,” said Rick Rausch, senior vice-president of individual retirement and investment services. “National Bank is an experienced banking product supplier, with the expertise to help us build a customized banking solution that is suited to the unique needs of our distribution channels across Canada.”

Canada Life will be able to offer a range of loan products, including RRSP loans, investment loans and All-In-One Account, all distributed under the National Bank banner.

• • •

CIBC issues apology over fax foul-up

(November 29, 2004) CIBC has issued an apology to customers for accidentally sending sensitive information to a West Virginia junk yard via fax.

“CIBC takes the issue of the confidentiality of personal customer information very seriously,” the bank said in a statement. “We sincerely apologize to all of our customers for any concern that this issue may have caused them.

“Effective immediately, we are instructing our branches to cease transmission of all internal faxes containing client information. This information will be transmitted to central processing operations via secure internal courier systems and by direct telephone conversation.”

• • • staff


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