By Staff | April 2, 2007 | Last updated on April 2, 2007
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(April 2, 2007) The Canadian Security Administrators has launched the Financial Fitness Challenge, an online investment awareness program and interactive contest that runs between April 2, 2007, and April 30, 2007. Designed to engage youth with games, a quiz, tips and interactive simulations, the program emphasizes the importance of saving and investing money for the future.

The CSA said that, last year, more than 20,000 youth — a 13.5% increase over 2005 — participated and registered to win in a similar program from 2004, called Test Your Financial IQ.

“This tells us that young people have a thirst for learning about saving and investing information,” said Jean St-Gelais, chair of the CSA.

The Financial Fitness Challenge will have updated content and many new interactive games, including Slapshot Shopping, a game where players are given $200 of virtual money to purchase a number of necessities and luxuries. The CSA said the game uses humour and hockey to teach the importance of balancing financial needs with wants.

The quiz is available at Thirteen entries, one from each province and territory, will be randomly selected from eligible quiz participants to win a $750 cash award.

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AGF, CIBC launch 7-year foreign equity PPNs

(April 2, 2007) In conjunction with CIBC, AGF announced Monday that is launching the CIBC AGF International Stock Class Deposit Notes Series 1. The notes’ performance is linked to AGF International Stock Class.

At the notes’ maturity date of June 6, 2014, the original principal of the note is guaranteed. The final variable payment per deposit note will be payable on the maturity date and will equal the amount, if any, by which the final NAV exceeds the principal.

The minimum investment in the notes is $5,000. Advisors receive 5% commission on the sale of the notes and an annual trailer of 25bps on the fund account value. The fund itself, the AGF International Stock Class Fund, is managed out of Dublin, Ireland, by AGF International advisors and invests in foreign equity.

The notes will be available until June 1, 2007.

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Canada’s Big Six face challenges: PwC

(April 2, 2007) Canada’s Big Six banks overcame many challenges in 2006 to earn a combined net income of over $19 billion — 50% more than in 2005, according to Canadian Banks 2007, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ annual review of the banking industry.

“Canadian banks showed they can prosper in the face of change in 2006. The year was a challenge on several fronts, but they still turned in stellar results,” says Diana Chant, partner and leader of the PwC Financial Services Practice in Canada. “The challenges are not over — regulatory issues and increased competition will only intensify in the coming years. Canada’s banks will need to stay nimble and continue to adapt. But the earnings in 2006 speak for themselves.”

Despite the success of the Big Six, PwC said there are a number of ongoing challenges the banks face both domestically and abroad..

For example, the study points out, spending by Canadian banks on regulatory and compliance requirements has been substantial, and resources have had to be pulled from other projects to deal with them. And more will be needed with the changes that will be brought by International Financial Reporting Standards and the impact of Basel II. European banks that have already dealt with IFRS found that the effort should not be underestimated, PwC warns.

Domestically, the banks are facing stiffer competition for customers. Competition from smaller players and global giants is eroding the consumer banks of Canada’s Big Six, particularly in niche markets like credit cards and mortgages.

“Banks are focusing on customers like never before. Satisfied customers provide a stable base of income, and the banks realize the retail market is the new battleground,” said Chant. “The Big Six are expanding their services across the board — and are opening new branches for the first time in a long time. Banks are realizing that branches are excellent distribution channels for their products and services and want to cash in on the opportunities.”

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Standard Life names new senior VP of retail markets

(April 2, 2007) Denis Berthiaume has been named senior vice-president, retail markets, for Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada. Berthiaume’s main responsibilities will be to develop and implement marketing, sales and customer service strategies for retail markets.

Berthiaume comes to Standard Life from Desjardins Sécurité financière, where he held the positions of senior vice-president, individual insurance, and president of Gestion SFL. Prior to his 10-year career with Desjardins, he held various management positions in two other major financial institutions in Quebec.

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(04/02/07) staff


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