By Staff | May 20, 2010 | Last updated on May 20, 2010
2 min read
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While Canadian consumer debt levels are probing new highs, a recent survey found that nearly 80% rank debt-freedom as a priority. Unfortunately, nearly half feel they have lost ground in that quest over the past year, according to a poll by Manulife Bank of Canada.

“We know Canadians are concerned about debt loads and the key is to take some concrete steps to keep it under control,” said Doug Conick, president and CEO of Manulife Bank of Canada.

One third said debt freedom was their absolute top priority, while another 36% ranked it as an eight or nine out of 10.

Debt levels continued to rise over the past year for 27% of respondents, while 17% said they saw no change. Nineteen percent said their debt level fell, but not by as much as they had hoped. On a positive note, 11% said they were already debt-free.

“Debt seems to be the final taboo and it needs to be brought to the forefront of all of our financial planning discussions,” says Stephanie Holmes-Winton, a Halifax-based Advisor and President of The Money Finder. “Far too many adults never truly understand debt, much less how to use different types of debt to their best financial advantage. Working with an advisor who can educate clients on the best use of their debt dollars is of great value.”

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New Alberta investment bank in the works

George Gosbee, former CEO of Tristone Capital, has joined forces with ATB Financial to launch AltaCorp Capital Inc., a new financial advisory firm that will provide investment banking to the three cornerstones of the Alberta economy – energy, agriculture and technology.

The firm has not yet received regulatory approvals. When its doors open, AltaCorp will provide services in corporate mergers and acquisitions, property acquisitions and divestitures, equity financing, institutional equity sales and trading, and research. ATB Financial will have a 19.9% equity interest in AltaCorp.

“I think my career track record would show that the energy industry is both a strength and passion of mine, but I see tremendous upside in AltaCorp’s new and refined focus on agriculture and technology,” says Gosbee. “Looking to the future, I think there are untapped global opportunities in the value-added agriculture and food business and in emerging technologies that spin out of both energy and agriculture.”

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ScotiaMocatta turns up the base

Scotiabank has announced the expansion of its ScotiaMocatta division, with the addition of a base metals team to manage transactions in copper, aluminum, lead, nickel, tin and zinc.

“As our client base continues to grow, our customers are asking us to play a more significant role in base metals as well,” said Barry Wainstein, vice-chairman and deputy head, global capital markets, and global head, foreign exchange and precious metals. “The new team has many years of experience and has always been client focused, an approach that reflects ScotiaMocatta’s business philosophy.”

The new base metals team consists of four people in London, four in New York and one in Hong Kong.

(05/20/10) staff


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