By Staff | December 7, 2007 | Last updated on December 7, 2007
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(December 7, 2007) A new vice-chair has been appointed to Manulife Financial’s board. Gail C.A. Cook-Bennett took over the post on Tuesday.

No stranger to Manulife, Cook-Bennett has been a director since 1978. Her new role will see her assist Arthur Sawchuk, the board’s chair, in managing the board.

She was also appointed vice-chair of the corporate governance and nominating committee, which focuses on issues relating to board composition and succession planning.

“We’ve benefited enormously from her wise counsel over many years, and I am looking forward to working closely with Gail in the periods ahead,” says Dominic D’Alessandro, Manulife’s president and CEO.

Besides being on the Manulife board, Cook-Bennett is the chair of the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board and a director of Petero-Canada and Emera Inc.

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Positive long-term outlook for the big five: Edward Jones

(December 7, 2007) Anyone wondering if Canadian banks will suffer long because of the credit crunch shouldn’t worry, says investment firm Edward Jones. The company put out a report that says the long-term outlook for the big five is “broadly positive.”

Craig Fehr, a financial services analyst for the company, says a “healthy economy, strong demand for financial services from aging baby-boomers, improving efficiency and an increasing international presence by the banks will drive earnings growth going forward.”

He points to the bank’s current stock prices as an indicator that the future looks good. “We believe current share prices reflect the market’s high expectations for future growth, making stock selection among the big five banks central to relative investment performance,” he explains.

But things might not be as rosy in the short term. Fehr says that for the remainder of this year and in 2008, Edward Jones expects credit quality to deteriorate, causing more bad loans, which will affect earnings growth.

Edward Jones says investors should focus on banks with stable, diversified sources of earnings, high-quality loan portfolios, efficient operations and sustainable growth opportunities. The company adds that “over the long term, we believe the banks that execute on their stated growth strategies while maintaining disciplined cost control will outperform within the group.”

(12/07/07) staff


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