By Staff | August 13, 2009 | Last updated on August 13, 2009
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Canadians are showing more confidence in the economy’s future, according to results from the TNS Canadian Facts’ Consumer Confidence Index.

The index increased by 6% to 99.2 from 93.4 in July. Each of the three indices that produce the overall index posted sizeable increases in August.

The Present Situation Index, which captures evaluations of the overall state of the current economic and employment situations, reached 83.4 — a jump of 4.3 points from last month’s reading of 79.1.

Meanwhile, the Buy Index, which gauges the degree to which people think the current period is a good time to make major purchases, gained five points, moving from 103.2 in July to 108.3 in August.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Expectations Index, which measures consumers’ estimation of the economy, household income and employment in the next six months, posted an eye-popping 8.5 point rise, leaping from 102.6 in July to 111.1 in August.

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Canada moves up in economic ranking

Canada is expected to move up in the ranking of international economic performance in 2009 and 2010, according to the Conference Board’s How Canada Performs — Economy Forecast 2010.

“Canada is expected to weather the global recession better than most of its peers, which is a credit to its stable financial sector and a relatively healthier economic position upon entering the downturn,” says Glen Hodgson, senior vice-president and chief economist. “But achieving a higher rank because other countries are falling farther is not the basis for sustainable prosperity. Some of Canada’s fundamentals, such as labour productivity, remain weaker than those of the global leaders.”

Canada is expected to move up from its 11th place position ( out of 17 comparator countries that were last ranked in 2008) to the 5th spot in 2010 — narrowly missing an “A” grade.

According to the report card, which is based on the recent economic outlook report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Develpment, Canada’s relative ranking is expected to improve on five indicators:

• GDP growth • unemployment rate • employment growth • inward foreign direct investment (FDI) performance index • outward FDI performance index

The study forecasts that Ireland will be at the bottom in 2009 to 2010, and the U.K. is among the countries that are expected to fall sharply in overall economic performance between 2008 and 2010.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and Belgium are expected to make their way up the ranking over the next two years.

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CWT hits $5 billion in assets

The Vancouver-based Canadian Western Trust Company (CWT) has established a new internal benchmark for assets under management, announcing that it has surpassed $5 billion in assets under management in spite of the recent economic turmoil.

“At a time when challenging economic conditions are front page news, it is refreshing to announce that CWT continues to grow both assets under administration and its client base,” says Scott Scobie, general manager of CWT. “This, coupled with our move into the Ontario market, makes it a very exciting time for CWT and our clients.”

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TD beats big five for customer satisfaction

TD Canada Trust ranked highest in customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Canadian Retail Banking Customer Satisfaction study.

The study showed that TD ranked above the big five Canadian retail banks for the fourth consecutive year.

“We’re honoured to receive this recognition, especially in a year that has been a difficult one for many people,” says Tim Hockey, group head Canadian Banking, president and CEO with TD Canada Trust. “When times get tough, customer service is sometimes the first thing to slip but our employees made sure that didn’t happen. Instead, they pulled out all the stops to help as many people as they could, and demonstrated real compassion for the hardship many of our customers have experienced.”

The study measures customer satisfaction through six factors, which include: transaction experiences; account set up and offerings; account information; convenience/facility,fees; and problem resolution. TD was the leader in all but problem resolution.

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More bad news for ABCP investors

Beleaguered holders of asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) have been dealt another setback in the form of a downgraded rating for the investment vehicle by DBRS, reports the Financial Post.

The rating agency cited the recent failure of several companies linked to the bonds, as well as a “rapid deterioration” in the credit quality of some of the underlying assets resulting in “higher probabilities of default.”

DBRS lowered the A2 notes to BBB (low) from A, and warned that further downgrades are possible.

The ABCP market collapsed on Aug. 13, 2007, leaving investors with frozen notes that were eventually swapped for new ones after an 18-month restructuring process. To date, only a portion of investors have been compensated for their losses, while banks and investment firms that sold the product have been granted immunity from lawsuits stemming from their role in the affair.

(08/12/09) staff


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