By Staff | January 7, 2009 | Last updated on January 7, 2009
3 min read
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Canadians have reached a 25-year low in optimism toward the Canadian economy, but they remain surprisingly upbeat about their personal financial situations, a new poll from POLLARA suggests.

More than 9 out of 10 (91%) Canadians believe Canada is currently in a recession, up from 22% in January 2008. More than half (57%) believe the Canadian economy will worsen over the next twelve months, compared to 20% who think it will improve.

The poll of 2,670 Canadians found a majority expect 2009 to be a year in which Canadian employment levels will drop substantially, inflation will stage a comeback, taxes will increase and the national debt will balloon, all while the value of the Canadian dollar depreciates.

But despite this pessimism, Canadians report their personal financial situation was better than they expected in 2008, and they anticipate personal financial growth in 2009.

More than half of Canadians (52%) report their personal financial situation either remained steady or even improved, and 36% report that their situation worsened — a 3% drop from 2007.

“There seems to be a perplexing disconnect in current public opinion,” says Michael Marzolini, chairman of POLLARA Strategic Insights. “While Canadians overwhelmingly feel the economy is in deep crisis, on average many feel unaffected to date, and in fact expect their personal financial situation to be maintained or even improved in 2009. But don’t for a minute think that they are laid back about the situation — they are truly alarmed for the country as a whole — they just don’t think it will happen to them.”.

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RBC Direct Investing gets new CEO

RBC Royal Bank has announced the appointment of Jason Storsley to the position of president and CEO of RBC Direct Investing, effective February 1, 2009.

Storsley will be responsible for developing strategy, growing assets under administration, guiding existing sales and expanding the revenue and market share of RBC Direct Investing.

Most recently, Storsley led the global institutional management team and was head of global equity research for RBC Asset Management. He was also a member of the RBC investment strategy committee and the RBC investment policy committee.

“Our clients and business partners will benefit from Jason’s knowledge and understanding of the industry,” says Ashif Ratanshi, head of branch investments, deposits and direct investing, RBC Royal Bank. “His knowledge of the investment industry and strong commitment to delivering the best possible client service make him an ideal fit for this role.”

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Military advice for RRSP investing

Apparently, military survival maxims can be used in RRSP investing, according to retired General Rick Hillier, former Chief of the Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces.

Hillier, now a senior advisor for TD Financial, is teaming up with planning pundit Patricia Lovett-Reid, senior vice-president of TD Waterhouse, to offer five maxims of the military that can be applied to investing.

“Soldiers need to conduct their basic drills first and foremost; otherwise they’ll lose the fight,” says Hillier.

Lovett-Reid says the same strategy applies to investing in your RRSP.

“There is a tendency right now to want to put your financial statement away, but you’ve got to confront the facts even though it might be tough,” she says. “You need to start off the new year by reviewing your financial plan and assessing your investment objectives, risk tolerance and time horizon.”

(01/07/09) staff


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