By Staff | November 7, 2007 | Last updated on November 7, 2007
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(November 7, 2007) The Alberta Securities Commission has issued a permanent ban against two Red Deer men for their role in a Mexican investment scheme that took as much as $4 million of Alberta investors’ money.

Starting in 2000, Larry Kenneth McLeod and Forbes John McLeod solicited investments from Albertans for a company that was supposedly selling prefabricated homes in Mexico. The pair was claiming that an investment of $10,000 would net each investor more than $1.6 million.

“Evidence was clear that Topsis [Investments Canada] had no contracts to supply homes to Mexico,” the ASC panel said in its decision. “None of the investor witnesses has received any return on, or of, their investment. All of the money invested in Topsis securities has apparently been spent.”

Aside from their lifetime ban from trading in Alberta, the McLeods must pay penalties of $100,000 each as well as $60,000 in costs.

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Building to remain robust through 2008

(November 7, 2007) Canada’s construction industry will survive any slowdown in demand for residential units, as spending on new office space and infrastructure will ramp up in 2008, according to Scotia Economics.

Housing starts are expected to decline in 2008, as rising mortgage interest rates dampen demand. But much of the country’s infrastructure is falling apart and in dire need of replacement. Not only do roads, public transit and power utilities need replacing but the energy industry is driving massive infrastructure demand as well.

At the same time, the economy shows no sign of letting up, fuelling growing demand for office space. Investment in non-residential buildings and structures, at $114 billion in 2006, exceeds residential construction and renovation expenditures by almost 40%.

Overall, spending on construction projects in Canada has increased at an annual rate of 6% since the mid-1990s, and is expected to top $200 billion for 2007. With a growth rate twice that of the overall economy, construction spending remains key to the country’s economy.

“The industry’s contribution to the nation’s overall economic well-being is disproportionate,” said Adrienne Warren, senior economist, Scotia Economics. “Since 2003, the construction sector has accounted for fully one-quarter of domestic output growth, double its share of the national economy. More than 250,000 construction jobs have been created over this period, or almost one in every five new positions.”

But the good times will not continue indefinitely. Warren says that the market for new office space could dry up by 2009–2010, and points out that credit problems in the U.S. could slow growth in the financial sector, the dominant buyer of office space.

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Canadian Investment Awards go green

(November 7, 2007) The Canadian Investment Awards has announced that its gala ceremony slated for November 29 will have zero carbon impact. The amount of electricity used by the event will be matched by clean energy provider Bullfrog Power.

“We are committed to making a difference in leveraging renewable resources and reducing our event footprint with several initiatives,” said Sabine Steinbrecher, founder of the Canadian Investment Awards. “Low impact and high style food and beverage will be served at the gala. The awards process is virtually paperless and submissions are online, with more initiatives planned over next few years to further minimize our footprint.”

The CIAs will include a special award this year, recognizing a leading organization which best accomplishes its green initiatives.

The awards ceremony will take place in Toronto at the Direct Energy Building, located on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition.

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BMO unit broadens global reach

(November 7, 2007) A subsidiary of BMO Harris has entered into partnership with several foreign banks, which will allow clients to conduct business in five additional countries.

“Our MasterCard commercial card programs provide our customers wider acceptance not only in North America but around the globe,” said Terry Wellesley, managing director of BMO Harris ePurchasing Solutions. “We have partnered with the leading banks in the nations where our customers are doing business, so we can continue to offer the strongest and most robust commercial card program available in the industry.”

The commercial payments division is now partnered with China Merchants Bank, Commonwealth Bank (Australia), Credit Saison (Japan), United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) and Crédit Mutuel (France).

BMO Harris ePurchasing Solutions is already partnered with Royal Bank of Scotland, Nordea (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) and Banco Santander (Chile).

(11/07/07) staff


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