By Staff | January 4, 2005 | Last updated on January 4, 2005
6 min read

(January 7, 2005) Northwest Mutual Funds plans to close the Northwest Specialty High Yield Bond Fund to new investors, effective January 15, 2005. Existing unitholders can still invest in the fund and it remains open to distribution reinvestment and the Northwest Quadrant Portfolio asset allocation service.

“Both Northwest and the portfolio manager feel that conditions within the high yield bond sector are such that a sharp increase in cash flows into the fund would dilute returns,” says Northwest president Michael Butler. “Since the key principle of investing is to buy low and sell high and our number one priority is to protect current unitholders, we felt that closing the fund to new investors provides us with the best opportunity to continue producing better returns with less risk.”

In December, Northwest announced the closing of Northwest Specialty Equity Fund to new investors, also effective January 15, 2005.

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GGOF launches new resource fund

(January 7, 2005) Guardian Group of Funds (GGOF) has announced the launch of the GGOF Resource Fund, which will hold 50% of assets in traditional resource stocks and 50% in income products, including trusts and high-yield bonds.

“By marrying resource equities with income products, we’ve designed a product that helps dampen the cyclical nature of energy and material stocks,” said Gavin Graham, vice-president and director of investments at GGOF. “A fund diversified in this manner offers effective exposure to performance with moderate volatility relative to other resource funds.”

The equity portion will be managed by Barrantagh Investment Management’s Wally Kusters, Peter Comber and Bruce Jackson, while the income portion will be co-managed by Guardian Capital’s John Priestman and Steve Kearns.

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Accumulus fund gets new portfolio advisor

(January 7, 2005) Accumulus Management — a subsidiary of Jovian Capital — has named Leon Frazer & Associates as portfolio advisor for the equity component of the Accumulus Balanced Fund.

The fixed income component of the fund will continue to be managed by Frances Connelly of Felcom Management.

“We are very excited about drawing on the expertise and solid track record of Leon Frazer & Associates as portfolio advisors for the Accumulus Balanced Fund,” says Accumulus president Mark Arthur, noting Leon Frazer’s 65 years of asset management experience.

Accumulus has also announced the second series of the Accumulus TargetYield Protected Note. The note is designed to help clients achieve high income potential with 100% capital protection by National Bank of Canada, Accumulus says, with the potential to deliver investors an 8% compounded annual return if called at mid-term by the bank, or an unlimited potential return if not called prior to maturity.

The underlying portfolio of the note will also be partially managed by Leon Frazer.

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AIC named tops in service

(January 6, 2005) Despite being hit by mass redemptions in 2004, there is some good news for AIC Group of Funds. The company has won DALBAR’s Mutual Fund Service Award in recognition of the firm’s quality of telephone service representatives, effectiveness of e-mail communication, telephone wait times and e-mail response times.

“2004 was a challenging year for AIC on a number of fronts, but they continued to ensure that their clients were treated with courtesy, professionalism, and with extremely knowledgeable representatives,” said Mark McDonald, client relationship manager at DALBAR. “To their credit, they maintained the same focus on strong service from January to December.”

Other companies finishing in the industry’s top quartile were Altamira Investment Services, Franklin Templeton Investments and RBC Asset Management. Second quartile ratings went to BMO Mutual Funds, AIM Trimark Investments, Scotia Securities, CI Mutual Funds and Fidelity Investments.

Companies placing in the third quartile were Mackenzie Financial Corporation, Talvest Fund Management and AGF Group of Funds. Fourth quartile firms were CIBC Securities, Dynamic Mutual Funds, TD Asset Management, HSBC Investment Funds and Investors Group.

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SciVest launches global fund of funds

(January 6, 2005) SciVest Alternative Strategies is launching a global fund of hedge funds, the SciVest Global Multi-Strategy Fund. The fund will be actively managed with a top-down strategy allocation process.

“The addition of the Global Multi-Strategy Fund to the SciVest family of quantitatively managed beta-controlled products complements our core equity market neutral strategy and enables us to offer high-net-worth Canadian investors choice and flexibility in managing the risk characteristics of their portfolio, minimizing volatility and market risk, and potentially enhancing portfolio returns,” says Lily Van, president of SciVest Alternative Strategies.

The fund will be managed by Colin Jang, CFA, who is responsible for the strategy and operation of fund of hedge funds within the Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group. Jang has over 15 years of experience in institutional money management.

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Skylon launches new closed-end trust

(January 6, 2005) Skylon Advisors today introduced the Yield Advantage Income Trust, a new closed-end investment fund. The trust is designed to distribute 7% annually to investors through exposure to an actively managed portfolio of income trusts, high-yield debt and other securities, the company said in a release.

Ben Cheng and Matt Chandro of CI’s Signature Funds group will manage the portfolio. CI bought Skylon in 2003.

Cheng and Shandro also manage the Signature High Income Fund, named the Canadian Income Trust Fund of The Year at the 2004 Canadian Investment Awards.

The fund will be open for purchase through IDA members until February 25, 2005, with a minimum investment of $1,000.

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Standard Life completes restructuring

(January 6, 2005) Standard Life announced today that is has completed the transfer of the Canadian branch of Standard Life Assurance to a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Standard Life Canada.

The transaction has been approved by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and the federal minister of finance. “The new structure will enhance the competitive position of Standard Life Canada and will help the company to pursue its overall growth plan,” the Montreal-based insurer said in a statement.

“The transfer of business has been a success,” added Standard Life president Joseph Iannicelli. “It was well received by our stakeholders and our clients. Domestication will allow access to cost-efficient sources of capital to help us pursue our development plans.”

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IFB turning 20 this year

(January 5, 2005) Independent Financial Brokers (IFB) is entering its 20th year, and the group plans to celebrate throughout 2005. Since its inception in 1985, IFB has grown to include 4,000 members, stressing their independence as a key to success.

“IFB members believe that there is no greater protection for the consumer than an independent broker — one who is free to offer the products and services of a wide variety of companies, rather than the one that he or she is bound to sell by virtue of contractual obligations,” says IFB president David Barber, “And the number of new members joining IFB every day tells me that we are doing something right.”

IFB will hold its Special 20th Anniversary celebration at the Toronto Spring Summit, May 31 and June 1, 2005 at the Toronto Congress Centre.

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CI launches callable notes

(January 5, 2005) CI Mutual Funds and Skylon Advisors have announced the launch of a new principal protected note. The Bank of Montreal CI C.A.P.I.T.A.L. Deposit Notes, Callable Class, Series 1 will be linked to CI Canadian Investment Fund and Signature High Income Fund.

“The notes offer a guarantee of principal and the performance potential of two leading funds — both of which were recognized for their excellence and outstanding portfolio management at the 2004 Canadian Investment Awards,” said David R. McBain, President and CEO of Skylon Advisors.

The Bank of Montreal can call the notes after two and half years, at a price that gives investors an 8% return. The minimum investment is $2,000 and they mature March 15, 2010.

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Rockwater announces financing

(January 4, 2005) Rockwater Capital Corporation has announced a financing deal worth $35 million, with Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec subscribing to $30 million in unsecured convertible debentures. Rockwater senior management subscribed to another $5 million worth.

The proceeds of the private placement will be used for general working capital purposes and to repay the bridge loan taken put by Rockwater for the acquisition of KBSH.

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Legg Mason closes Scudder deal

(January 4, 2005) Legg Mason, Inc. has announced the scheduled closing of its acquisition of Scudder Private Investment Counsel offices from Deutsche Bank.

The purchase includes offices in New York City, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Chicago. Scudder’s chief investment officer and all portfolio managers, including the managing directors of each of the four Scudder offices, have signed long-term employment agreements with Legg Mason Investment Counsel, LLC.

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Sun Life completes rejig

(January 4, 2005) Sun Life Financial has completed a reorganization plan, which would shuffle most of Sun Life Assurance’s asset management businesses to a newly incorporated subsidiary.

Sun Life Assurance has transferred its shares of CI Fund Management Inc., McLean Budden Limited, MFS Investments and its other U.S. subsidiaries. The firm retains the life, health and annuities businesses of Sun Life Financial Canada, most of the life and health businesses of Sun Life Financial U.S., and all of the operations of Sun Life Financial U.K. and Sun Life Financial Asia.

Sun Life says the reorganization will allow it to “optimize its capital structure by positioning it to benefit from the new capital rules for life insurance holding companies proposed by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Canada.”

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