By Staff | May 24, 2006 | Last updated on May 24, 2006
5 min read
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(May 24, 2006) July 1 will mark the first time the GST rate has been changed since the its introduction in 1991. To help with the transition, the CFIB has produced a checklist, developed in collaboration with the federal Department of Finance and the Canada Revenue Agency, to help small businesses prepare for the reduction to 6%, announced in the federal budget earlier this month.

CFIB’s research shows that businesses will need to go through a number of steps to comply with the GST reduction. The list highlights the general transitional rules established by the Department of Finance and provides pointers on key issues like updating accounting software, online payment software, tax-inclusive pricing and input tax credit calculations that will need to be considered when the rate reduction is implemented.

“This isn’t just a matter of changing the settings on a cash register. Business owners need to be well prepared for the implementation of the GST rate reduction. We want to play a proactive role to ensure this happens,” says CFIB’s executive vice president, Garth Whyte.

The GST checklist is available for download by clicking here.

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RBC launches online security awareness campaign

(May 24, 2006) RBC says many more Canadian consumers would use online banking if they were aware of how secure and well protected such transactions are.

The bank has launched an online security public awareness campaign to inform clients about the company’s 100% guarantee to reimburse clients for funds removed from their accounts as a result of unauthorized transactions through online banking as long as clients safeguard their passwords, close their online sessions properly, and let the bank know right away if they notice any unusual activity in their accounts.

James McGuire, vice president of online strategy and client experience says “Our own records and industry research show that a small number of unauthorized transactions ever occur online. We want people to feel comfortable choosing online banking.”

The company’s materials include an online banking guide to security and privacy and an online security quiz.

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National Bank launches U.S. dollar depreciation notes

(May 24, 2006) National Bank has released a new issue of Class A U.S. Dollar Bearish Notes II, for clients interested in betting against the greenback.

The notes have no management fees and offer 100% principal protection at maturity on December 16, 2008. Performance is linked to the depreciation of the U.S. dollar relative to seven world currencies including the Canadian dollar, the Mexican peso, British pound, Japanese yen, Hong Kong dollar, South Korean won and the Indian rupee.

At maturity investors receive their principal, plus an amount equal to 165% of the decline in the U.S. dollar compared to the note’s basket of currencies. If the dollar appreciates against the basket, investors will only receive their principal in full. Minimum investment is $2,000.

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M&A activity reaches new highs in global metals industry

(May 24, 2006) A new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers reveals that firms in the global metals industry shows are continuing to consolidate in an effort to control the rising cost of raw materials.

The report, entitled Forging Ahead: Mergers and Acquisitions Activity in the Global Metals Industry 2005 suggests that further M&A activity, particularly among Chinese companies in the sector, is likely in the current and coming years.

According to PwC, there were 250 metals industry deals in 2005, far surpassing the 166 reported in 2004, but the total value of the deals reached only $35 billion, less than the $37 billion reported in the previous year.

“The emerging markets were most instrumental in deal-making and we expect that Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America will continue to be driving forces in the industry’s consolidation efforts,” says PwC global metals advisor leader, Jim Forbes. Companies in these countries jointly accounted for $17.7 billion or 51% of the total value of industry transactions worldwide, up from 32% in the previous year. The report says the trend is expected to continue, given that industrial production in all three regions is growing much more rapidly than it is in North America and Western Europe.

China’s steel consumption meanwhile, has quadrupled since 1998. In 2004 it accounted for 53% of total consumption, a pattern that the report’s authors say will likely persist in the coming years as China invests in vast infrastructure projects like the Three Gorges Dam and the 2008 Olympics. The country’s steel consumption is forecast to rise by 4-5%, significantly outpacing the 3% rise in consumption elsewhere in the world. The country’s domestic steel sector however, is highly fragmented and suffering from over capacity in certain product areas, eroding the industry’s profitability.

“The Chinese steel sector is sure to be a significant source of deal-making over the next few years,” says Forbes. “The central government has made it clear that the industry must consolidate and that it wants the four leading domestic steelmakers to play a major role in the process. Big foreign steelmakers are equally eager to tap the opportunities that China offers. They know that, as China reduces its imports and ramps up its capacity, they will have to improve their ties with domestic producers to cash in on its growth.”

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Quality of life tops list of executive priorities

(May 24, 2006) A poll of more than 270 chief financial officers in Canada suggests that quality of life is more important than compensation when it comes to job opportunities.

One-third of those questioned by Robert Half International said the quality of life in a new city would most influence their decision to relocate for a new job, followed by 27% who say compensation would be their foremost consideration.

The cost of living in a new city came in third on the list of considerations, with 11% saying it would be foremost in any decision to re-locate.

“Companies that highlight the qualities that distinguish their city, such as a reputation for safety, highly regarded school system or cultural events, increase their chances of attracting top professionals,” says Robert Half chairman and CEO, Max Messmer. “Employers enhance their ability to secure commitments from prospects by taking steps to ensure a smooth transition for employees, including providing information about housing and assisting with job placement for spouses, if appropriate.”

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