By Staff | May 26, 2009 | Last updated on May 26, 2009
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Investigators working out of the York Regional Police Central Fraud Bureau charged Kevin Banks with defrauding victims of more than $900,000 in the town of Newmarket and the city of Barrie.

Banks, 50, used his financial planning and wealth management group, Kevin Banks Financial Planning Group Limited and Generations Wealth Management, to operate the alleged Ponzi scheme. He posed as a life insurance agent and targeted seniors to purchase fraudulent insurance-based investment products, primarily with Canada Life.

Investigators said none of the investors’ money went into life insurance-based investments. Instead, the accused used funds from previous investors to pay new investors high returns in the hopes of getting continued cash investment.

Police caught on when a client complained about not being able to transfer an investment.

Investors who have dealt with the accused are asked to contact York Regional Police and the life insurance company that holds their policy or investment to confirm that their money was secured with that company.

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Sprott’s senior portfolio manager to retire

Sprott has announced Jean-Francois Tardif, senior portfolio manager, will retire from the company in July.

Tardif joined SAM in 2001 and currently leads the investment management team for the Sprott Opportunities Hedge Fund L.P., the Sprott Opportunities Offshore Fund Ltd., Sprott Opportunities Capital Fund, L.P. and the Sprott Opportunities RSP Fund.

Tardif will be succeeded by Charles Oliver and Jamie Horvat as the new senior portfolio managers of the funds. In light of the change in managers, there will not be any changes to the funds’ investment objectives and strategies.

Oliver and Horvat are also on the investment management team for Sprott All Cap Fund, Sprott Global Equity Fund and Sprott Gold and Precious Minerals Fund. Prior to joining SAM on January 31, 2008, Oliver and Horvat were co-managers of a number of AGF mutual funds overseeing in excess of $4 billion in assets under management.

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Senior VP leaves TSX

TMX Group announced today that Richard Nadeau, senior vice-president Toronto Stock Exchange, will be leaving.

Effective immediately, Nadeau will be replaced by Ungad Chadda who is currently vice-president, business development and strategy for the TSX and TSX Venture Exchange. He will assume responsibilities as senior vice president Toronto Stock Exchange, overseeing the TSX Listings business.

Chadda is a chartered accountant. He joined the exchange in 1997 and has 12 years of experience in the listings business.

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Economic woes slows global metals M&A activity

Trouble in the auto industry, a weak economic environment, and buyers’ general aversion to risk are being named as primary reasons for the significant decline in M&A deals in the metals sector.

A report by PricewaterhouseCooppers found that in the first quarter of 2009 there were18 deals (five completed; 13 pending or intended) announced; this pales in comparison to 2007 and 2008, when there were 142 and 138, respectively.

Consistent with the buyers’ growing aversion to risk, minority state purchases have increased. Acquirers seeking less than 50% ownership accounted for more than 55% of the deals, compared to 33% in 2007 and 2008.

Significant decline was seen in the U.S., where no deals were announced in the first quarter. And for the final quarter of 2008 there were only two. This drop is notable because in 2007 and 2008 U.S. targets accounted for 21% of total deals announced.

Russians also experienced a sharp drop. In first quarter of 2009 no deals were announced, compared with 2008 when the region accounted for 30% of total deals. The fragile state of their metals companies takes most of the blame for the steep drop.

Asia and Oceania companies accounted for the majority of M&A activity. In fact, Chinese acquirers represented almost 90% of the deal value announced globally for the first quarter of 2009.

Jim Forbes, global metals leader at PwC, added overall metal activity is expected to remain low and that he sees this period as an opportunity for well-capitalized buyers to invest in mining assets and attractive metals.

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Hesperian appoints new CEO

Alexander Sasso, CFA, has been named the new CEO of Hesperian Capital Management, effective immediately.

Sasso joined Hesperian in 2004 and currently manages the Norrep Fund, Norrep II Class and Norrep Income Growth Class. These duties will not change following appointment to the CEO position.

Prior to joining Hesperian, Sasso spent 12 years as a portfolio manager and analyst at Altamira Management Ltd., eventually managing all of Altamira’s Canadian and U.S. small capitalization retail and institutional mandates.

Randal Oliver will continue in the role of chief investment officer and chairman of the board for Hesperian. “Alex has been an integral part of the management of Hesperian and he has the experience and expertise we require to lead the company through these economically challenging times,” said Oliver.

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Canadian household debt reaches all time high

Canadian household debt totaled $1.3 trillion in 2008 as a growing number of people spend unearned money and use credit to fund daily expenses, according to report by the Certified General Accountant Association.

“Household debt has increased significantly over recent years, jeopardizing the financial security of Canadian households,” says Anthony Ariganello, president and CEO of CGA-Canada.

The report shows 49% of Canadian families with one or more children under the age of 18 had increased their debt loads. The survey also showed 85% of Canadians reported having debts outstanding on credit cards; and 21% with debt said they are in over their heads and can no longer mange that debt.

(05/26/09) staff


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