By Staff | July 5, 2006 | Last updated on July 5, 2006
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(July 5, 2006) The manager of a now defunct Vancouver mutual fund company has agreed to pay a total of $50,000 in penalties and fines to the British Columbia Securities Commission.

In a settlement agreement, Raoul Noel Tsakok of Sagit Investment Management admitted to compliance deficiencies and the violation of securities regulations.

Sagit ran 16 mutual funds between 1986 and 2003 before the company was merged with another firm.

Tsakok, who was responsible for the management of Sagit and who made all of the firm’s investment decisions, admitted that he acted contrary to securities rules by acting as an officer, director and principal shareholder of a reporting issuer while registered as an advising director of Sagit.

Tsakok also failed to manage the company’s mutual funds with the degree of care, diligence and skill that a reasonable person would exercise in the circumstances.

A compliance review by BCSC staff in 2002 found that Sagit’s policies and procedures were incomplete, out of date and inadequate. As part of the settlement, Tsakok will not apply for registration as an advising or trading officer of a registrant.

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Compliance seen as limiting growth, profits

(July 5, 2006) Canadian business leaders feel their corporate finance offices are spending too much time on compliance at the expense of other duties, according to a survey by KPMG.

Nearly three quarters of respondents said compliance had limited both growth and profitability of their companies over the past 18 months. At the same time, they also said their finance departments were successful in dealing with regulatory compliance.

“What the survey tells us is that Canadian business leaders are pleased with the way their finance groups have taken on the challenge of building sustainable compliance models,” said Diane Jeffreys, KPMG’s national service line leader for operations improvement in Canada. “The next step, though, is for finance to close those gaps on the business performance chart.”

The survey found a large gap between the importance executives placed on various functions, such as strategic planning and risk management, and their perception of their finance department’s performance.

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Worldsource incorporates PlanPlus into portal

(July 5, 2006) Worldsource Financial Management has teamed up with PlanPlus to develop an integrated financial planning solution, incorporating PlanPlus Web Advisor into WFM’s WorldPort portal.

“We have more than 600 independent advisors that depend on our exceptional back-end system to help them stay on top of their customer information, marketing tools, industry news and more,” said Andy Mitchell, president and chief operating officer of WFM. “WFM is excited about integrating PlanPlus’ financial planning and investment advisory software into WorldPort.”

WorldPort provides a platform that is collaboratively accessed by advisors, investors and corporate administrators and is made up of two components, Advisor Net and Investor Net.

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ICICI raises rates on GICs, savings

(July 5, 2006) ICICI Bank Canada has increased the interest rates it pays on short term GICs and its HiSAVE Savings Account.

A one-month GIC, denominated in Canadian dollars will earn 4%, while the U.S. denominated version will earn 5%. A three month GIC will earn 4.10% in C$, or 5.1% in US$. The six-month C$ GIC will earn 4.20%, while the US$ version will earn 5.15%.

The bank’s C$ HiSAVE Savings Account will pay an interest rate of 3.75%, up from 3.5%, effective July 5. The US$ HiSAVE Savings Account will earn 4.25% interest.

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Manulife lands Rogers benefits contract

(July 5, 2006) Manulife Financial has been awarded a contract as exclusive provider of employee benefits and pension savings plans for Rogers Communications, to be administered by Manulife’s Group Savings and Retirement Solutions division.

“We believe our customer service, innovative products and flexible support are a good fit for a dynamic and growing organization like Rogers and its approximately 25,000 employees,” said Paul Lorentz, senior vice-president of GSRS.

The move to Manulife, which already handles Rogers’ Group Benefits plan, is effective August 1, 2006. Rogers is the corporate parent of

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Credential named best online brokerage

(July 5, 2006) When most people think about online brokerages, they usually think of those run by the big banks, but in terms of online features and functionality, some of the best offerings come from smaller firms, according to Toronto-based ranking service, Surviscor.

“The results demonstrate the exciting world of online discount brokerage in Canada and that Canadians have more choice than even they are aware of,” said Glenn LaCoste, president and head analyst for Surviscor. “The rankings prove that firms need to stay ahead of the online features and functionality curve and prepare their next moves well ahead of the competition.”

Taking top marks overall was Credential Direct, a Vancouver-based online brokerage owned by the credit union movement. It scored top marks in design, tools and education, market intelligence and trading. These “Number 1” scores in a field of 16 brokerages landed it at the top of the chart for “investors.”

In terms of features geared toward “traders,” top spot went to TD Waterhouse, which edged out E*Trade in second. TD Waterhouse was second in the overall standings, with Scotia McLeod Direct Investing rounding out the top three.

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