By Staff | August 9, 2010 | Last updated on August 9, 2010
4 min read
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Sun Life names Quebec president

Sun Life Financial has appointed Isabelle Hudon as president, Sun Life Financial for Quebec, effective today. She will be responsible for driving the company’s growth in that province.

“Isabelle is a well-known figure on the Quebec business scene and her outstanding leadership and entrepreneurial skills will support our goal of maintaining and enhancing Sun Life Financial’s position in the very competitive Quebec market,” said Kevin Dougherty, president, Sun Life Financial Canada.

Hudon has 20 years of experience on the Quebec business scene, most recently as president of Marketel, following a stint as president and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

“Joining Sun Life Financial is a unique opportunity for me to be part of a strong organization in Quebec with a commitment to expansion in the coming years,” she said. “I look forward to the challenge of my new role, and to working with our Quebec team to continue to build Sun Life’s business and profile in the province.”

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India may relax capital controls

India may allow foreign individuals to invest directly in its stock markets, said two people familiar with a new report prepared for the Ministry of Finance that recommends loosening capital controls.

The recommendation comes as top policymakers worry that global risk aversion could dampen foreign capital inflows, which India needs to fund its widening current account deficit and meet credit demand.

“There is already a first level evaluation. They are giving it now to the regulators to examine,” said Ashvin Parekh, a partner at Ernst & Young in Mumbai, who helped advise the committee that prepared the report. “It’s at an early stage,” he said. A second person involved with the report, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the document is not yet public, also confirmed the recommendation.

India’s financing needs are huge, especially for infrastructure projects, which some estimate could cost up to $1 trillion. The government is also selling off minority stakes in large state-run companies as it seeks to plug the fiscal deficit.

But there are few long-term sources of capital available in a nation where investments by pension and insurance funds are tightly regulated and commercial banks are still the primary source of corporate finance.

A 16-member committee was set up last November to broadly evaluate capital controls in India, covering individual and institutional inflows as well as private equity and venture capital investment. They handed their report, which has not been made public, to the Ministry of Finance last week.

In the central bank’s July policy review, governor D. Subbarao warned that global risk aversion could slow capital inflows even as India’s current account deficit widens.

Currently, India allows foreign institutions to invest in markets directly, but not individuals.

Ministry of Finance officials declined comment. The Reserve Bank of India said it has yet to receive a copy of the report.

– The Associated Press

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Christie’s to auction Lehman art, office signs

Artworks from the European offices of Lehman Brothers are being auctioned to help pay creditors of the failed investment bank.

Auctioneer Christie’s says the Sept. 29 sale will feature works by modern artists including Gary Hume and Lucian Freud, and tea caddies, cigar boxes and Chinese ceramics.

Buyers can also bid on the sign that adorned the bank’s British headquarters in London’s Canary Wharf.

Barry Gilbertson of administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers said “there are many people around the world who would like to acquire some art with a Lehman connection.”

Christie’s said Monday the sale was expected to raise about 2 million pounds ($3.2 million). More artworks from Lehman Brothers’ collection will be sold by Sotheby’s in New York on Sept. 25.

– The Associated Press

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UBS expects Fed to stand back

Analysts at UBS investment research see little reason for the Fed to significantly alter the language in the Federal Open Market Committee statement or for an announcement restarting quantitative easing at its meeting on Tuesday.

In a U.S. Economic Perspectives report, they explain the data for July have been generally better than the data for June. And while recent data – notably the payroll report – have been disappointing, they haven’t been disastrous and don’t warrant a resumption of asset purchases.

The report plays down fears on unemployment numbers and says seasonal factors appear to have exaggerated the softness in private payrolls in July. Analysts expect this distortion to reverse in August.

There was also positive news regarding employed workers, as the workweek extended and earnings rose.

Income gains and a stable savings rate should help boost consumption and stimulate moderate second-half growth. This should be enough to convince the Fed that another intervention in the U.S. Treasury market is unnecessary.

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The week ahead

Major reports expected this week are retail sales, the University of Michigan Sentiment index, and the CPI, all on Friday. While UBS is forecasting a decent rise in retail sales (+0.5%), details of the report will likely be softer. Aside from autos and gas, the company expects no change.

The report also notes that consumer confidence appears to be improving in early August. For the core CPI, UBS is forecasting a second consecutive 0.2% m/m increase, with the y/y pace rising to 1.0% from 0.9%.

(08/09/10) staff


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