By Staff | February 4, 2008 | Last updated on February 4, 2008
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(February 4, 2008) The Pan-Canadian Investors Committee has issued a progress report — of sorts — on the implementation of a restructuring plan for third-party asset-backed commercial paper.

The committee announced that Bank of Montreal, CIBC, Royal Bank and Scotiabank have agreed, in principle, to participate as lenders in a margin call funding facility, the cornerstone of the restructuring plan.

Absent from the report, however, were any details about the approval process by noteholders. Complete information on the plan is now expected by the end of February, according to the committee. The previously announced “standstill agreement” has been extended to February 22, 2008.

The committee still plans to have the restructuring process completed by March 31, 2008.

“We are making substantial progress on the implementation details of the restructuring proposal announced in late December,” said Purdy Crawford, chairman of the group. “The support of the major Canadian banks is an important component of the plan, and we are pleased to confirm their participation, which further reflects the spirit of compromise and goodwill that has prevailed throughout this process.”

The committee has recommended BlackRock be appointed administrator and asset manager for the proposed restructuring vehicles, but this appointment is subject to approval by the full gamut of participants.

“BlackRock’s reputation, expertise and technology capabilities will ensure noteholders are well served in terms of asset management and administration,” Crawford said.

Notably absent from the list of banks participating as lenders is TD Financial. Chief executive, Ed Clark, stated in December that the bank did not want to participate in bailing out the third party ABCP, since it had avoided exposure to such products in the first place. In TD’s view, becoming a lender to the ABCP providers unfairly increases their own risk profile.

TD spokesperson Simon Townsend, says this remains the bank’s position.

“We want to support the process where we can, but only as long as that doesn’t involve us taking on additional risk. That’s been our position, and that hasn’t changed,” he says.

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Manulife offers small shareholders an exit

(February 4, 2008) Manulife Financial has initiated a voluntary program to facilitate the sale of its stock for shareholders with fewer than 100 shares.

“Small shareholders who might otherwise have a difficult time selling or face high fees to do so can choose to sell their holdings through the program by Internet, phone or mail,” said Terri Neville, assistant vice-president, shareholder services.

Shareholders opting to take part in the program will receive the weighted average price of shares sold through the program on the New York Stock Exchange open market during the week in which their shares are sold, less applicable program fees.

The program comes into effect on February 5, 2008, and expires at 5 pm EST, on March 12, 2008. Shareholders wishing additional information on the program may find it online at or may contact Manulife’s U.S. transfer agent, Mellon Investor Services, by calling 1-877-300-7100.

Demutualization of the insurance industry around the turn of the century led to the creation of thousands of small shareholders, as policy owners were issued stock. Manulife currently has about 150,000 odd-lot shareholders, who collectively control less than 1% of the company’s stock.

(02/04/08) staff


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