By Staff | September 15, 2003 | Last updated on September 15, 2003
5 min read

(September 19, 2003) Advocis and the Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting (CALU) have called on the federal government to reduce debt and raise RRSP contribution limits in a pre-budget submission to Parliament.

“Canada’s population is aging and this will have a serious impact on our country’s healthcare system,” said Advocis president Steve Howard. “We need to reduce debt today so that funds will be available to meet the resulting future increased healthcare costs.”

The groups also called on Ottawa to re-examine tax policy toward insurance products “to encourage Canadians to be self-reliant and to protect themselves from financial risks.”

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C.D. Howe Institute calls for freedom in bank mergers

(September 18, 2003) The federal government should stop forcing bank shareholders to bear the cost of “social goods” and allow the big banks to merge with each other or insurance companies, according to a report from the C.D. Howe Institute.

If the requests of special-interest groups appearing before Commons’ committees on banking are so important to the national good, the report says, the taxpayer should be willing to foot the bill, rather than burdening bank shareholders with the cost.

The report says the government places too many conditions on bank mergers, making them so expensive that the transactions lose all economic sense. Placing the responsibility for “social goods” on the taxpayer would increase accountability for such programs as providing credit to higher risk borrowers.

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Canadian economy poised for solid growth in 2004, TD says

(September 18, 2003) The Canadian economy, battered by a series of short-term disruptions, is poised to bounce back in 2004, with solid if unspectacular growth, according to the latest forecast from TD Economics.

TD economist Don Drummond predicts real gross domestic product to rise by an average of 3% in 2004, compared to this year’s expected rate of just 1.8%.

The severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak and the beef export ban took a “heavy toll” in the second quarter, Drummond says. And just as the impact of those shocks waned, the economy was again rocked by power outages in Ontario and forest fires in B.C. “However, there is every reason to believe the worst is behind us,” he says. “There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Canadian economy.”

“Monetary and fiscal policy are currently at settings that are conducive to economic growth,” Drummond says. While the performance of the Canadian economy might lag the U.S. next year, that’s more a reflection of recent history, he points out. Canada outperformed the U.S. economically from 1999 to 2002.

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Morgan Stanley fined for fund sales contests

(September 17, 2003) Morgan Stanley has been slapped with a $2 million fine by U.S. regulators for conducting prohibited mutual fund sales contests.

The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) says Morgan Stanley offered incentives, such as event tickets and resort trips, to reward brokers and managers who sold the firm’s in-house funds.

“It is not acceptable for NASD-regulated firms to hold contests for prizes that promote the sale of one fund — especially their own — over other mutual fund products,” said NASD vice-chair Mary Schapiro.

The NASD also fined Morgan Stanley’s head of retail sales $250,000 for failing to have a system in place to monitor the incentive schemes.

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Life insurance activity dips in August

(September 17, 2003) Applications for life insurance in North America declined 6.6% in August, the seventh decline in the last eight months, according to figures released today by the MIB Group.

U.S. applications decreased 6.8% while Canadian applications were down 4.7% compared to the same period last year.

In the 60 and over age group, U.S. applications were up 2.5%, the third straight month of increases. But applications among those 45 and younger fell sharply, down 9% from August 2002.

In Canada, life insurance applications in the 60-plus age group have seen 12 consecutive months of year-over-year gains.

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CVCA announces new president

(September 17, 2003) The Canadian Venture Capital Association (CVCA) has announced the appointment of Dr. Robin Louis, president of Ventures West Management, as the group’s new president. Louis replaces Brad Ashley, who will assume the role of chair.

“As the Canadian venture capital and private equity industries adjust to more realistic investment and valuation levels following the Internet ‘bubble,’ there is an excellent opportunity for the asset class to grow in importance for investors in Canada and internationally,” Louis commented. “I look forward to leading the CVCA in building the industry’s stature, here at home and abroad.”

The new position of senior vice-president will be filled by Samuel L. Duboc, president and managing partner of EdgeStone Capital Partners.

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CVCA names “Deal of the Year” winner

(September 17, 2003) The CVCA has awarded its 5th annual “Deal of the Year” award to Brightspark Ventures for its investment in Think Dynamics.

Brightspark invested in the company in 2001 and saw a return of 163% when Think Dynamics was bought by IBM in May 2003.

The award was accepted by Tony Davis, co-founder and managing partner of Brightspark Ventures at the CVCA’s annual general meeting dinner Tuesday night in Toronto.

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CIFPs launches new Web site

(September 16, 2003) The Canadian Institute of Financial Planners (CIFPs) has launched a new Web site at The site offers information on the group, including its errors and omissions insurance plan for members.

“CIFPs members, the public and the media alike will find the CIFPs Web site to be a functional one-stop resource for financial planning information,” says Keith Costello, managing director of CIFPs.

The site will allow members to access information on CIFPs’ general bylaws and governance, regulatory, advocacy and professional development information.

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Pension plan assets fall with stock prices

(September 15, 2003) Assets of company pension plans declined nearly 5% in the first quarter to $518 billion, Statistics Canada reported today. Pension assets peaked at $614 billion in 2000 and have been steadily falling since then, the agency says.

“These declines have been due to falling stock prices that resulted in a devaluation of fund assets,” StatsCan says. “This devaluation forced employers to increase their contributions to these plans, halting a contribution holiday period for many funds that lasted in some cases up to four years.”

According to the agency’s quarterly survey of trusteed pension plans, 37% of total assets were invested in stocks as of March 31, 2003. In Q1, the S&P/TSX Composite Index lost 4% of its value, though the market has rallied since then.

Although employer contributions to pension plans were off slightly in Q1, StatsCan expects the yearly total to match or exceed 2002’s level of $12.6 billion. In 2001, employer contributions to pension plans were $7.3 billion.

At the end of 2000, trusteed pension plans in Canada had 3.5 million members.

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IPC unveils new management team

(September 15, 2003) IPC financial has announced its new lineup of executives, as a follow-up to its previously announced shuffling of the boardroom. The new team includes founder Chris Reynolds, who assumes the role of president, IPC Financial Network Inc.

Scott Franklin will assume the role of CFO and secretary of IPC Financial Network, and Geoffrey McCord takes over as executive vice president and COO.

John Novachis becomes president of IPC Investment Corp., the company’s mutual fund dealer, while Sam Febbraro becomes the new president of IPC Save, the company’s agency banking division. John Croce becomes president, Counsel Wealth Management, the asset management division.

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(09/15/03) staff


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