By Staff | September 9, 2003 | Last updated on September 9, 2003
4 min read

(September 12, 2003) Boston-based Putnam Investments is exercising an option to boost its stake in Toronto’s Sceptre Investment Counsel by about 5%, bringing its total stake to just under 10%.

“This purchase is an expression of our confidence in the quality of the Sceptre management team and in the strength of its investment management,” said John F. Boneparth, Putnam senior managing director and head of international business. “We are fortunate to have made the decision three years ago to establish a strategic alliance with this firm.”

Under the terms of the original September 2000 agreement, Sceptre is the exclusive Canadian marketing agent for all Putnam Global, International and U.S. investment products.

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Asset allocation eases bear market pain for U.S. retirement savers

(September 12, 2003) A study of more than five million U.S. retirement savings accounts reveals a 10% decline in average balances from the end of 1999 to the end of 2002. Over the same four-year period, stock market indexes plunged an average of 40%.

“Asset diversification and continuing contributions generally muted the effects of poor equity market performance on 401(k) accounts,” says the study, conducted by the Investment Company Institute and the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

The researchers found that the average retirement account was 40% in equity, 35% in fixed income and 25% in other investments, such as company stock.

That mix has changed little since 1999, the study found, although the average allocation to stocks declined last year, reflecting poor performance on the markets.

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AGF launches new ‘Real Value’ line

(September 11, 2003) AGF has rolled out a new platform of funds under the brand Real Value, led by Keith Graham. The line will start out with the rebranding of two existing funds.

“The new fund names reflect my investment approach,” said Graham, senior vice-president and portfolio manager for AGF. “I look beyond traditional measures to determine the real, intrinsic value of a business. Then I wait for a chance to buy a quality business for less. That’s how I get long-term growth potential at bargain prices.”

The first two funds to be named are AGF Canadian Real Value Fund (previously AGF Canadian Value Fund) and AGF Canadian Real Value Balanced Fund (previously AGF Canadian Tactical Asset Allocation Fund).

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CNQ applies for exchange status

(September 11, 2003) Canadian Trading and Quotation System (CNQ) has applied to the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) for recognition as a stock exchange, rather than a quotation and trade reporting system (QTRS).

By becoming an exchange, CNQ will allow issuers to be automatically deemed as reporting issuers in Ontario. As a QTRS, companies from outside Ontario that wish to list on CNQ have to apply to the OSC for this designation.

“As an exchange, reporting issuers from other provinces will be able to trade on CNQ with less red tape and they will also benefit from the enhanced profile that comes with being listed on an exchange,” said the company’s president Robert Cook.

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Consumer confidence dips over the summer

(September 11, 2003) Consumer confidence has soured over the summer despite a more rosy outlook during the spring, according to a survey by Decima Research. But Canadians are still more optimistic than they were over the previous 12 months.

“Canadian consumers reported that their personal economic circumstances have not changed since the beginning of the year,” said Charles Feaver, vice-president of research for Investors Group. “But their optimism about the future for the Canadian economy has dropped back from the May survey, which took place shortly after the Americans declared victory in Iraq.”

The Decima-Investors Group Index fell by 2.9 points to 85.5 since May, mirroring the trend in the U.S. The University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment has dropped by 2.8 to 89.3.

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Industrial Alliance increases stake in FundEx

(September 10, 2003) Quebec insurance firm Industrial Alliance announced today it is increasing its ownership stake in independent Ontario mutual fund dealer FundEx Investments to 75%. Industrial Alliance purchased a 25% share of FundEx in June 2002.

“This partnership is a natural extension of the agreement concluded by our two companies last year,” said FundEx president David Vowles.

“FundEx will now have access to additional resources and greater expertise as well as an expanded range of financial products and services with which to better serve our clients,” Vowles added.

It’s the fourth mutual fund sector purchase by Industrial Alliance in the past three years and brings the firm’s fund assets to $4.5 billion.

“This transaction moves us closer to our strategic objective of becoming a leading distributor of financial products in Canada,” said Industrial Alliance executive vice-president Normand Pépin.

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Industry veteran O’Donnell joins IPC board

(September 9, 2003) Mackenzie Financial co-founder Jim O’Donnell is making his second foray this year into the fund business: IPC Financial announced today that O’Donnell is joining its board of directors.

“I am very happy to be back consulting with financial advisors,” O’Donnell said in a statement. “The financial planning industry has grown and evolved tremendously over the years, and now more than ever clients need financial advice.”

Earlier this year, O’Donnell became chair of the advisor board for Pro-Hedge Fund Inc., which launched a guaranteed note with returns linked to the performance of a fund of hedge funds managed by Norshield.

IPC is in the process of restructuring, IPC chair Steve Meehan said in a statement.

“Jim offers a depth of knowledge and wisdom to both our management team and advisors. IPC has almost completed its restructuring plans and we are now dedicated to assisting our advisors in continuing to grow our company and better serve our clients. Having Jim on our team will assist us in continuing to open avenues for growth in our company.”

For his part, O’Donnell said, “I believe IPC has created the tools necessary to carry their advisors into the future and, more important, has the vision and dedication to continue to adapt to our ever-changing industry.”

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(09/09/03) staff


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