By Staff | June 8, 2007 | Last updated on June 8, 2007
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(June 8, 2007) Manulife Financial has announced a shuffle in the executive suite. Dominic D’Alessandro, president and CEO, has named John DesPrez, currently senior executive vice-president and general manager of the John Hancock division, as head of all Manulife’s North American businesses.

Reporting to DesPrez will be Paul Rooney, senior executive vice-president and general manager of Manulife’s Canadian division.

Donald Guloien, senior executive vice-president and CIO, will assume responsibility for Manulife’s Asian insurance and wealth operations. Bob Cook, senior executive vice-president and general manager, Asia & Japan, will report directly to Guloien.

“This realignment of reporting relationships creates broader, more international roles at the most senior levels of the company, which I expect will encourage further cross-divisional collaboration,” D’Alessandro said in a memo to senior leadership. “It also provides an opportunity for our senior executives to work closely with a wider group of our talented officers across the company.”

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TSX launches new global mining index

(June 8, 2007) Investors with a penchant for mining will be happy to hear that the TSX is launching a new mining index.

The S&P/TSX Global Mining Index will go live on June 12, said the TSX in a release today. “The index will offer investors wide exposure to the world’s mining markets.”

The index allows for new index-linked investment opportunities, with the first — Claymore S&P/TSX Global Mining ETF — hitting the market also on June 12.

Launching the index makes a lot of sense, as 60% of global mining issuers are already listed on the TSX. “[This] is a natural extension of our role as the world’s leading mining exchange group,” said Richard Nadeau, the TSX’s senior vice-president. “This is a very positive development for our listed issuers and for mining investors.”

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MD Financial introduces “S” class funds

(June 8, 2007) MD Financial announced Friday that it’s introducing a separate class of mutual fund units for most of the MD family of mutual funds. The new “S” class is available exclusively to Stratos Wealth Management clients.

“At MD Financial, our number-one priority is to create wealth for our unitholders,” said Brian Peters, president and CEO of CMA Holdings. “Opening the MD family of mutual funds up to a larger market makes good business sense — it’s about ensuring continuity and stability for MD clients through measured and targeted expansion opportunities.”

The CMA Holdings and MD Funds Management boards approved the amendments, and the new class is expected to launch around August 7. Current MD mutual fund owners will have their funds renamed class A units.

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CIBC shakes up fund families

(June 8, 2007) There are some big changes happening with CIBC’s fund lineup, as a number of funds will merge and adopt the Renaissance moniker in order to streamline the offerings under the bank’s Renaissance Investments arm, effective August 17.

Among the funds being terminated are Talvest European Fund, which will roll into the Renaissance European Fund, and the Talvest High Yield Bond fund, which will take on the name of its continuing fund, the Renaissance Canadian High Yield Bond Fund.

The mergers were approved on April 27 by the Independent Review Committee of Investment Funds and on June 7 by the CIBC Asset Management’s board of directors.

CIBC says that capital gains or losses won’t be triggered on the units, as the average cost of units in the terminating fund will roll over to the continuing fund. Investors can purchase, redeem or switch the terminating funds.

To streamline some of CIBC’s other offerings, several name changes will occur. The Talvest Asian Fund will become the Renaissance Asian Fund, and the Talvest Income Fund will be renamed the Renaissance Canadian Income Fund.

Starting on June 17, some portfolio sub-advisors are getting the boot. The Global Value Investment Portfolio Management Pte. Inc. will be replaced by Wintergreen Advisers as portfolio sub-advisor of the Renaissance Global Opportunities Fund. Walter Scott & Partners will take over portfolio sub-advisor duties for the Talvest International Equity Fund from GE Asset Management, and McLean Budden is replacing Connor, Clark & Lunn Investment Management as portfolio sub-advisor of the Talvest Canadian Equity Growth Fund.

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Consumer confidence down in America

(June 8, 2007) It’s tough being an American. At least that’s what RBC is reporting. The bank revealed Friday that our southern neighbours’ confidence in their economy has dropped this month.

The RBC Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household Index revealed that consumers are “much less confident” about their current situation and “only mildly optimistic about their future prospects.” These attitudes forced the RBC CASH Index down six points from 87.1 in May to 81.4.

“In spite of continued jobs growth, U.S. consumer sentiment is weighed down by several factors,” said T. J. Marta, economic and fixed income strategist for RBC Capital Markets. “Mortgage rates have spiked to their highest level since last July, gasoline prices remain above $3 per gallon going into the driving season, and equity prices have begun to waver after two months of gains.”

The survey found that only 23% of Americans said their personal finances were strong, down from 31% in May. On the flipside, 27% said their finances were weak. Combine that with more reluctance to go shopping and buy cars, and the RBC Current Conditions Index fell 16 points from 113.2 in May to 96.8.

While Americans say the present looks bleak, at least the future looks brighter. After four consecutive months of decline, the RBC Expectations Index, which tracks attitudes toward future economic conditions, rose almost 8 points from 24.3 to 32.2.

Another improvement was in the RBC Job Index, which rose slightly from 123.8 in May to 126.9. Only 14% of consumers think they or someone they know will become unemployed in the next six months. That’s down from 18% in May.

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(06/08/07) staff


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