By Staff | January 31, 2005 | Last updated on January 31, 2005
10 min read

(February 4, 2005) Mackenzie Financial Corporation announced Charles Sims, former chief financial officer and head of sales at Franklin Resources, will join the company as president and chief executive officer, replacing Jim Hunter. Hunter, meanwhile, takes over the top spot as the company’s chair of the board of directors.

Sims spent more than 15 years at Franklin Resources, part of Franklin Templeton Investments, in various roles, including vice-president, financial officer of the parent company and chief administrative officer, global distribution. Sims joins Mackenzie on March 1.

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Loring Ward appoints new president

(February 4, 2005) Life management services company Loring Ward International, formerly the U.S. arm of Assante, hired Donald Herrema to be the company’s next president and chief executive officer. Herrema succeeds former president Martin Weinberg, effective immediately.

The move is part of the company’s U.S. expansion plans to transition management of the company’s operations to a completely U.S.-based team.

The company says in his new role, Herrema will assume responsibility for the overall management of the public company and for enhancing Loring Ward’s presence in the U.S. marketplace, improving recruitment and acquisition opportunities, and strengthening the management of all of the company’s core business interests.

Executive vice-president, corporate development, Kish Kapoor is also in the process of transitioning his responsibilities, but will stay on with the company until June.

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Scotia economists see slower growth for developed economies

(February 4, 2005) Scotiabank Group economists say growth in developed economies will slow in 2005 while developing economies will continue to outperform.

The company says this year will highlight marked differences in the pace of economic growth between the developed and developing world. The report, entitled “International Views,” summarizes Scotiabank’s perspective on major world economies and highlights key factors affecting international economic zones.

The report says expansion is taking place in Latin America, led by progress in Brazil. There is also greater stability in the Mexican economy, which helps Canadian corporations in extending their North American strategies beyond the U.S. Finally, Russia is re-emerging as a significant global force, helped by its status as the world’s largest exporter of crude oil.

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PlanPlus announces Asian partnership

(February 4, 2005) PlanPlus today announced a partnership with a Hong Kong firm to offer financial planning software in Greater East Asia. The Lindsay, Ont.-based firm signed a letter of intent with Velocity Solutions to supply sales, marketing and technical support for PlanPlus Pro and Plan Plus Web Advisor.

The deal — expected to generate more than $6 million for the two firms over the next three years — came about after PlanPlus president Shawn Brayman went to Hong Kong as part of a recent Canadian trade mission.

PlanPlus has been active in Asia since 2000, but lost its initial distributor during the bear market. “We are excited to see the marketplace rebounding so effectively,” said Brayman. “Partnering with Velocity will allow us to be far more aggressive in not just marketing our solutions, but more importantly providing a much higher level of service to our customers.”

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TD predicts shift to large caps, weaker industrials in 2005

(February 3, 2005) In separate announcements, TD Waterhouse Canada and TD economists released their outlook for investments in 2005.

TD Waterhouse released its 2005 Investment Outlook examining 2004 predictions, and suggested six themes that should dominate the markets in the coming year. Among them, the outlook says U.S. presidential politics should have a muted effect, and the markets will likely avoid the negative returns that typically come with the first year of a new presidency. U.S. small-cap stocks, being sensitive to economic fluctuations, will likely underperform after three years of outperforming their large-cap counterparts. Large-cap companies with stable sales, earnings growth and decent dividends, particularly some pharmaceutical companies and household goods producers, should do well in 2005. Income trusts will likely be divided into high- and low-quality groups, and Japanese stocks should outperform U.S. equities.

TD economists, meanwhile, say Canadian industries will experience more modest growth in 2005, due in part to the higher Canadian dollar. The semi-annual Canadian Industrial Outlook, co-authored by Derek Burleton and Carl Gomez, found operating bottom lines shot up nearly 20% in 2004, building on strong gains from the year before. The impact of the dollar, however, will put a squeeze on Canada’s trade reliant industries this year as commodity prices cool down alongside moderating global demand. TD also predicts job growth will slow in the coming year. The report says services, retailers and domestic oriented companies are the brightest investment prospects for 2005 and 2006.

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Quebec regulator urges caution and RRSP contributions

(February 3, 2005) The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) urged Quebecers to be cautious about their financial transactions and make regular contributions to their RRSPs. In addition to advising clients to be wary if advised to transfer part or all of their RRSP funds or dip into a registered account for the purpose of investing in a “tax sheltered vehicle,” the AMF tip sheet encourages people to check with the regulator to determine whether the business or representative is registered and properly authorized to sell financial products, carefully read and understand related documentation, keep all contracts, account statements and investor profiles, and maintain a record of conversations, including the times, dates and the names of those they spoke with.

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KeySpan Income fund renamed

(February 3, 2005) KeySpan Facilities Income Fund announced it is changing its name to Keyera Facilities Income fund to reflect changes in the company’s ownership structure.

The fund operates a natural gas midstream business, consisting of natural gas gathering and processing, transportation, storage and marketing products, including propane, butan and condensate, to customers in Canada and the U.S.

In December 2004, the fund became a 100% publicly-owned entity. “The name KEYERA captures the essence of our company,” says president and CEO Jim Bertram. “It recognizes our rich heritage, built on the legacy assets of Gulf and Chevron, and embraces our exciting future.”

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Federal Reserve hikes rates

(February 2, 2005) The Federal Reserve announced its decision to raise interest rates for the sixth time since June. In a move widely anticipated by market watchers, the central bank increased the benchmark interest rate this afternoon to 2.5% following a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.

Citing relatively low inflation, moderate economic gains despite energy prices and improving conditions in the labour market, the Fed restated its plan to make measured increases in the future in order to keep inflation in check.

Chair Alan Greenspan will present the committee’s semi-annual forecast to Congress on February 16.

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RBC says most Canadians can’t afford to retire

(February 2, 2005) A recent RBC survey suggests there’s plenty of opportunity out there for retirement planners. Canadians surveyed by the bank say they intend to contribute more than double what they did 12 years ago to their RRSPs, but more than three-quarters of those who are not yet retired do not have a retirement plan.

The 14th Annual RBC RRSP Survey found more than half of those surveyed intend to retire before they turn 65, but only 31% have determined the amount they need to accumulate in order to have a comfortable retirement. Of those surveyed, one-third say they are still trying to keep their heads above water, 24% of those between 18 and 29 say owning a home is more important, and 19% of those between age 30 and 54 say saving for their children’s or grandchildren’s education is the most pressing concern.

Those who are not yet retired say they expect to count on pension income from their employers, income from their own investments, or plan to live off their home equity.

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AGF announces year-end results

(February 2, 2005) Despite paying $31 million in expenses in December to compensate mutual fund unitholders, AGF Management today announced positive earnings for the fiscal year ended November 30, 2005. Earnings per share jumped $0.37 per share to $0.84, up from $0.47 in 2003.

Dividends paid by the company increased 39% in the year; dividends on class A and class B shares jumped to $0.41 per share, up from $0.30 per share in 2003; and the company repurchased 2.1 million non-voting shares and paid down more than $54 million in debt during the year.

The company’s total assets under management, including mutual funds, institutional mandates and private investment management, stands at $33.1 billion as of December 31, 2004.

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GrowthWorks launches Atlantic Canada LSF

(February 1, 2005) Provincial officials gave the final go-ahead to launch the GrowthWorks Atlantic Venture Fund for investors in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. The labour-sponsored venture capital fund invests in small and medium sized companies in the provinces, focusing particularly on technology, life sciences and advanced manufacturing companies.

In addition to tax deductions for RRSP contributions, Atlantic Canadians investing in the fund are eligible for 30% federal and provincial tax credits (35% in Nova Scotia) if they hold the fund for more than eight years. “We believe we can leverage off our expertise to make GrowthWorks Atlantic Fund a growing sources of capital for entrepreneurial companies in Atlantic Canada,” says president and CEO, Tom Hayes. “The generous tax savings are a great opportunity for Atlantic Canadians to get some much needed tax relief while supporting regional companies and growing our economy.”

The fund has also proposed a merger with the region’s Workers Investment Fund, currently the largest labour-sponsored fund in Atlantic Canada. If approved, the company expects the merger will be completed by the end of 2005.

Sales commissions are 6%, paid by the manager, with an annual 0.5% service fee. Management fees are 2% of average net assets plus 1.25% administration fees. In addition, the manager earns an annual capital retention administration fee of 0.75% of the original purchase price of shares issued but unredeemed. Finally, the manager also earns dividends or an incentive fee equal to 25% of the realized gains and income if investments have met certain criteria and generated sufficient returns.

Minimum investment is $500.

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Altamira launches inflation adjusted bond fund

(February 1, 2005) Altamira Investment Services today launched the Altamira Inflation Adjusted Bond Fund for investors with a relatively high tolerance for risk and 5+ years to invest, seeking moderate capital growth, portfolio diversification and income hedged against inflation.

The fund invests in Canadian federal and provincial real return government bonds and bonds issues by other countries. Management fees are 1.15%. Minimum investment is $1,000.

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Corporate Canada joins fraud prevention forum

(February 1, 2005) February is “Fraud Awareness Month” and more than 35 private and public companies have committed to the airing public service announcements on radio and television, distributing nearly 30 million fliers, posters and tip cards, buying newspaper ads and posting web banners to build on the “Recognize it. Report it. Stop it” campaign.

The campaign wraps up at the end of the month with an internet sweep by the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network, focusing on internet-based scams.

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National Bank Discount Brokerage wins DALBAR award

(February 1, 2005) Research and service ratings company DALBAR announced its inaugural discount brokerage service award today with National Bank Discount Brokerage, TD Waterhouse and ScotiaMcLeod Direct Investing earning top kudos.

The award is given to companies that provide best overall service to customers in a calendar year. National Bank ranked highest amongst its peers in the quality of telephone service, trading representatives, e-mail responses and e-mail turnaround times.

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Mavrix posts record sales and AUM, caps dividend fund

(February 1, 2005) Mavrix Fund Management today reported record sales, assets under management and assets under administration for the month ended January 31. Raymond Steele, senior vice-president and CFO, attributed some of the sales growth to the successful rollover of limited partnership assets into the company’s mutual fund lineup.

The company also announced its decision to cap the Mavrix Dividend & Income Fund to new investors. Existing unitholders may continue making contributions. At the same time Mavrix filed a preliminary prospectus to launch the Mavrix Resource Fund 2005 limited partnership. The new offering is scheduled to close on or about February 17.

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AIM Trimark launches floating rate fund

(February 1, 2005) AIM Trimark has launched the Trimark Floating Rate Income Fund, Canada’s first open-end floating rate mutual fund. There are currently two closed-end floating rate funds in Canada.

The fund will invest predominantly in corporate bank loans, which are typically cheaper for the company than floating a new bond issue. These loans are senior to debt issues and tend to have better recovery rates than sub-investment grade bonds, but are still considered below investment grade. While the fund has no mandated geographic allocation, the U.S. market is the most mature and the fund will focus on U.S. denominated loans.

“Trimark Floating Rate Income Fund is an excellent diversifier in a portfolio because of its low correlation to other asset classes,” says AIM Trimark’s chief investment officer and executive vice president, Patrick Farmer. “The portfolio managers of Trimark Floating Rate Income Fund have earned an industry-wide reputation for their ability to analyze credit fundamentals.”

Floating rate loans can be used as a hedge against rising interest rates and the market is very deep, with a global investment universe of around $1.2 trillion. Rex Chong and Anthony Imbesi are the lead managers for the fund. The fund also offers a monthly distribution and is classified as “moderate” risk.

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BMO launches dividend-fund linked GIC

(January 31, 2005) BMO Term Investments is expanding its family of market-linked term investments with the BMO Dividend Fund Linked GIC. The product is designed for conservative investors who want to participate in returns of the BMO Dividend Fund.

The fund-linked GIC is not redeemable, but guarantees principal repayment if held until maturity in three or five years. Minimum investment is $500 or $1,000 for non-registered accounts.

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Ontario Court reinstates OSC decision in Donnini case

(January 31, 2005) The Ontario Court of Appeal handed a small victory to the Ontario Securities Commission on Friday when the courts overturned an earlier appeal by Peirgiorgio Donnini.

In 2002, the OSC found that Donnini, head trader at Yorkton Securities in 2000, committed unlawful insider trading when he used size and price information on special warrants financing arranged by Yorkton to trade Kasten Chase Applied Research shares before the information was known publicly on the market.

The OSC imposed sanctions on Donnini, including a 15-year suspension, and ordered him to pay investigation and hearing costs. A subsequent court appeal upheld the decision, but reduced the sanctions from 15 years to four and asked the OSC to reconsider the costs award.

The appeal court restored the original sanction, saying “there is no doubt that the 15-year suspension of Donnini’s registration is a substantial penalty; however the Commission took into account the appropriate factors in imposing such a severe sanction.” The court went on to say the evidence, coupled with Donnini’s senior position at Yorkton, his experience in the industry, other misconduct and the “devastating impact” insider trading can have on the investor confidence and the integrity of the market, all supported the Commission’s original sanctions.

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