By Staff | May 19, 2006 | Last updated on May 19, 2006
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(May 19, 2006) The C.D. Howe Institute’s Monetary Policy Council is calling on the Bank of Canada to raise its trend setting interest rate target to 4.25% when the board of governors meets on Wednesday.

The decision to make the call was close, however, with just six of the 11 council members making the recommendation, while five called for a pause at the current 4% rate.

“Several members mentioned the subduing effect of the strong Canadian dollar on many consumer prices, an effect that would disappear or reverse if the dollar stabilized or fell,” the group said in a press release. “Members favouring a more aggressive stance also tended to feel that the bank ultimately needs to establish an overnight rate significantly above the current level to hold inflation at 2%.”

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AGF to merge Harmony funds

(May 19, 2006) AGF Funds will call special meetings for unitholders of its Harmony Portfolios and Pools to seek permission for a handful of mergers.

The company is proposes merging Harmony RSP Balanced Portfolio into Harmony Balanced Portfolio; Harmony RSP Growth Portfolio into Harmony Growth Portfolio; Harmony RSP Growth Plus Portfolio with Harmony Growth Plus Portfolio; and Harmony RSP Maximum Growth Portfolio with Harmony Maximum Growth Portfolio.

The mergers would be subject to regulatory approval as well and would be effective after the close of business on or about July 7, 2006. The proposed meeting date is June 30, 2006. An information circular will be mailed on or about May 28, 2006 to unitholders.

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Receiver appointed for Juniper

(May 19, 2006) The OSC has obtained an order from the Ontario Superior Court, appointing Grant Thornton as receiver of Juniper Group, which includes The Juniper Fund Management Corporation, Juniper Income Fund and Juniper Equity Growth Fund.

The OSC slapped a cease trade order on Juniper on March 13, extending the order twice, after a compliance review by the Commission found “apparent deficiencies with the fund’s accounting, governance practices and records.”

As part of the receivership order, Juniper president, Roy Brown faces under-oath questioning by the receiver. The appointment of Grant Thornton is set for a period of 15 days.

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Jovian buys Charterhouse

Jovian Capital has acquired control of Charterhouse PSI Management Corporation, buying up the remaining stake in the controlling holding company it did not already own. Charterhouse is the manager of Charterhouse Preferred Share Index Corporation and Charterhouse PSI Investment Corporation.

Jovian acquired a 12.5% minority stake in the Charterhouse holding company in September 2004. Charterhouse Preferred Share Index Corporation, with assets of $54 million, is an investment fund that provides investors with exposure to the Canadian preferred share market through investing in an indexed portfolio of fixed-rate preferred shares and preferred securities of Canadian issuers.

“This transaction makes a lot of sense for PSI shareholders. Jovian has been involved with PSI since day one with its initial investment in Holding and subsequently through Jove as the index administrator for IndexCo,” said Peter Rizakos, one of the founders of Charterhouse and the outgoing CEO of PSI and IndexCo. “While the day-to-day operations of PSI and IndexCo will not change, PSI is now part of the more substantial group of Jovian companies.”

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Electronic security transfers given same legal status as paper certificates

(May 19, 2006) The Ontario government has passed a bill that many investors and businesses would likely already think was in effect. Bill-41, or the Securities Transfer Act, which passed third-reading on Thursday with all-party support, provides a legal framework for electronic trading in securities and ensures that those transactions are valid.

According to a release, the bill brings the province up to date by giving the same kind of legal certainty to securities transferred electronically as those that are transferred by physically moving paper certificates. Furthermore, it consolidates all of Ontario’s current securities transfer laws, making it easier for everyone to know the rules and understand their rights and obligations.

The result, the province says, is an estimated $140 million in annual savings. “Pensioners, mortgage holders and investors all win with this bill because it helps ensure Ontario will remain an investment destination of choice,” said Ontario Minister of Government Services Gerry Phillips.

The Securities Transfer Act is the first phase of a three-part plan to update Ontario’s corporate and commercial laws. The Act also proposes complementary changes to the Ontario Business Corporations Act, the Personal Property Security Act, the Execution Act, the Securities Act and the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act. Work on the Act began in October 2004 after the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs unanimously recommended the government introduce securities transfer legislation based on U.S. law.

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