By Staff | August 3, 2007 | Last updated on August 3, 2007
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(August 3, 2007) Great West Lifeco completed its planned acquisition of Putnam Investments Trust on Friday.

Great West announced back in February that it would be acquiring Putnam, is one of the United States’ oldest wealth management companies, which has more $193 billion in assets under management.

“This acquisition allows Lifeco to achieve, with a single transaction, a major presence in the mutual fund and institutional asset management industry in the United States,” says Raymond L. McFeetors, Great-West Lifeco’s CEO. “This acquisition also broadens our operations in Europe and gives us an entry into Japan.”

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Market conditions won’t erase budget surpluses: CIBC World Markets

(August 3, 2007 CIBC World Markets report finds that Canadian governments should be able to handily service their debt despite current volatility in the equity markets and rising interest rates.

“Facing sluggish U.S. demand, jittery credit markets, higher domestic interest rates, and an elevated loonie, Canadian finance ministers would be forgiven for viewing such forces as something akin to the four horsemen of the apocalypse,” says Warren Lovely, a senior economist with CIBC World Markets.

Lovely says Canadian governments are benefiting from generally resilient economies, remain in solid financial shape. As a result, he sees little risk of an unplanned escalation in borrowing to cover unexpected budget deficits.

“While weathering a notable slowdown in its largest trading partner — one exacerbated by unrelenting currency appreciation — Canada has churned out surprisingly solid economic growth,” he says. “Nominal GDP growth — a proxy for own — source revenue trends — is poised for a 5.5% advance this year, landing more than a percentage point ahead of the weighted average forecast. Economic prospects pose no serious threat to Canada’s fiscal performance.”

This is partially because while interest rates will increase debt servicing costs, at the provincial level, these will only decrease budget surpluses by about 9% of total revenues in 2007/08, down from a peak of nearly 15% in the mid-1990s. So for the federal government, which has paid off some $55 billion of marketable debt in the past decade, debt-servicing costs are actually at a 30-year low.

Lovely also notes that Canadian governments are working from an existing strong fiscal base. Ottawa’s surplus in 2006/2007 was estimated at $9.2 billion, three times what was initially pledged, building on an already outsized 2005/2006 tally.

At the provincial level the numbers are even stronger. The combined provincial surplus — keyed by Alberta — has trumped the federal balance for three years running, with a cumulative surplus of 13.6 billion.

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BCSC names new capital markets head

(August 3, 2007) The British Columbia Securities Commission announced on Thursday the appointment of Sandra Jakab as the director of capital markets regulation.

Jakab, a lawyer by trade, joined the BCS as senior legal counsel in 2001 and became the manager of policy and exemptions in capital markets regulation in 2005. Since then, she has been actively involved in securities reform projects, including the passport for registration and registrant regulation.

“I am pleased to announce today that Sandy Jakab has accepted the position as our new director of capital markets regulation,” said Brenda Leong, BCSC executive director. “Sandy has an excellent understanding of the issues facing the capital markets and the commission, and I look forward to working with her as part of the executive management team.”

(08/03/07) staff


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