By Staff | December 19, 2007 | Last updated on December 19, 2007
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(December 19, 2007) CIBC issued a statement on Wednesday that it will likely incur a “large charge” in its first quarter results because of its association with embattled sub-prime debt provider ACA Financial Guaranty Corporation.

The statement comes on the heels of a massive downgrade of ACA’s credit rating by Standard and Poor’s, which reduced ACA’s credit quality from A to CCC. ACA recently informed the New York Stock Exchange that it could no longer meet its listing requirements.

CIBC says it has approximately $3.5 billion US of U.S. sub-prime real estate exposure hedged with ACA.

“It is not known whether ACA will continue as a viable counterparty to CIBC. Although CIBC believes it is premature to predict the outcome, CIBC believes there is a reasonably high probability that it will incur a large charge in its financial results for the first quarter ending January 31, 2008,” CIBC said in the statement.

At the other end of the spectrum, RBC said Moody’s Investors Services assigned a P-1 rating to its Canadian asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) program.

Three Canadian multi-seller conduits administered by RBC — Plaza Trust, PURE Trust, and Storm King Funding — were all awarded Moody’s highest short-term rating. Moody’s rating complements an existing R-1 (high) rating from Dominion Bond Rating Service, which until recently was the only major credit rating agency that rated ABCP in Canada.

“We have great confidence in the quality of the assets in our ABCP programs and are pleased to see that Moody’s has assigned its highest short-term rating to our conduits,” says Nick Lewis, head of RBC Capital Markets’ Canadian conduit programs. “We look forward to receiving additional third-party ratings in the coming months, which we hope will reinforce our clients’ comfort with the quality of their commercial paper holdings with RBC’s Canadian conduits.”

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Claymore launches agriculture ETF

Claymore Investments is targeting investors who prefer bacon and eggs over oil and gold with its Claymore Global Agriculture ETF. The ETF began trading today on the Toronto Stock Exchange, with the fitting stock symbol COW:TSX.

The Claymore Global Agriculture ETF will attempt to provide investment results that generally correspond to the performance of the MFC Global Agriculture Index.

The MFC Global Agriculture Index seeks to provide long-term capital appreciation by investing in equity and equity-related securities in the agricultural sector.

“Agriculture and the business of feeding the world’s population continue to develop into one of the biggest stories of this century. Structural changes in the industry have caused an interesting supply-and-demand dynamic for the agricultural sector from increasing pressure for human use and new competing demand from bio-energy and sustainable energy sources,” says Som Sief, president and CEO of Claymore Investments.

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Creststreet offers clean-power fund

(December 19, 2007) Creststreet Mutual Funds has announced the launch of the Creststreet Alternative Energy Fund, which will invest in the renewable energy sector.

The Creststreet Alternative Energy Fund will invest primarily in securities of companies whose businesses exploit opportunities to generate energy beyond North America’s traditional dependence on high carbon emitting sources of supply. The fund code is CAM400.

Like Creststreet’s other three offerings, the fund is available as a corporate class investment, allowing assets to be rolled over between funds without triggering a taxable event.

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Private Advisors appoints Fink

(December 19, 2007) An American hedge fund company has appointed Peter Fink as managing director of its Toronto operations. The firm, Private Advisors, is seeking to boost its presence among Canadian institutional investors.

Fink has more than 20 years of experience in business development and relationship management through his work with corporate and public pension funds and other institutional investors in both Canada and the U.S. Fink most recently served as director, alternative investment business development for the U.S., at the Russell Investment Group.

Private Investors also named Bruce Barrett as managing director of its New York City operations.

“We are pleased that Bruce and Peter have joined Private Advisors to increase awareness of our private equity and hedge fund of fund capabilities within the institutional investor community,” said Lou Moelchert, managing partner. “Bruce’s and Peter’s experience enables Private Advisors to provide a more solution-oriented approach to meeting the alternative investment objectives of sophisticated institutional investors.”

(12/19/07) staff


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