By Staff | March 2, 2010 | Last updated on March 2, 2010
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BMO Investments has announced changes to the portfolio management of the BMO Sustainable Opportunities Class and BMO Sustainable Climate Class.

The funds were managed by SAM Sustainable Asset Management AG. That arrengement will end on or before June 30, 2010. BMO has commenced a search for a new portfolio manager, to be announced by that date.

“We remain committed to this area of investments and are excited about the opportunities that exist in growing our sustainable investment platform,” said Hugh McKee, co-president of BMO Investments Inc.

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Canaccord Adams hires U.S. equity head

Canaccord Adams has announced that Stephen Buell will join the firm as managing director and director of U.S. Equity Research. He will lead a 32-person research team focused on growth stocks in the energy, technology, life sciences, consumer and sustainability sectors.

“Steve is an experienced and respected industry veteran, widely known for his commitment to quality research and superior client service,” said Jamie Brown, president of Canaccord Adams Inc. “Steve brings added depth to our U.S. management team and will work closely with his colleagues Peter Misek in Canada and Damien Hackett in the U.K. to continue building out our global research product.”

Prior to joining Canaccord Adams, Buell served as head of investment research at Piper Jaffray, and before that, as director of research at Thomas Weisel Partners.

“The disruption in the market over the past year has created unique opportunities for independent investment banks,” said Buell. “I am very excited to be joining Canaccord Adams’ strong global platform, and working with this talented team to continue investing in the momentum, quality and institutional relevance of Canaccord Adams’ capital markets team.”

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Contributions to group retirement plans rise

Both employers and employees are increasing their allocations to group retirement plans, a recent survey reveals.

The 2009 Capital Accumulation Plan (CAP) Benchmark Report by Benefits Canada/Canadian Institutional Investment Network in conjunction with The Great-West Life Assurance Company finds Canadian employers are increasing contributions to their group retirement plans and more employees are maximizing their contributions to get full employer matching contributions.

This fifth annual report shows that employers contributed 4.6% of salaries to their defined contribution (DC) pension plans in 2009, up from 4.5% the prior year; and contributed 4.3% of salaries to their group RRSPs in 2009, up from 3.9% a year earlier.

The report also notes that more employees are maximizing their DC pension plan contributions: 80% of respondents with DC pension plans said their plan participants maximized their contributions so they could get full employer matching, up from 75% in 2008. For group RRSPs, 82% of plan participants were reported to be maximizing their contributions, up from 75% a year earlier. Among firms with fewer than 100 employees, 91% reported that their employees maximize their contribution in order to optimize matching contributions from their employer.

“This research clearly illustrates how robust employer-sponsored retirement plans are in Canada,” says Bill Kyle, senior vice-president, group retirement services with Great-West Life. “The report shows that Canadian employers make significant commitments to group retirement plans and that employees value this benefit by taking maximum advantage of employer matching programs.”

The 2009 Capital Accumulation Plan (CAP) Benchmark Reportis based on data collected from 264 organizations in 2009. The results show an average DC pension plan had assets of $93 million and the group RRSPs had assets of $22 million.

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Canadians express anxiety over pensions

An overwhelming majority of Canadians polled believe the future of private pension plans is at risk, according to a recent Nanos Research poll for Policy Options.

The poll of 1,001 Canadians found that while only 12.5% of respondents indicated that strengthening pensions was currently their top concern, 69.6% believe that private pension plans will have to reduce payments to pensioners in the future.

Thirty-eight percent named job creation their first priority, followed by 21.1% with debt reduction and 15.5% who chose tax relief.

“For the moment, Canadians are more concerned about the economy, debt reduction and even tax relief than they are about their public and private pensions,” says Nik Nanos, president of Nanos Research. “But the dark cloud on the horizon is their worry about whether pension money is going to be there when they need it. There is a very high level of concern that both public and private pension plans will have to reduce payments to pensioners in the future in order to remain solvent.”

(03/02/10) staff


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