Briefly: “AGF to buy Acuity” and more news

By Staff | November 30, 2010 | Last updated on November 30, 2010
3 min read

AGF Management Ltd. has agreed to buy investment management firm Acuity for $325 million in a cash-and-shares deal the company believes will boost its retail and institutional investment management business.

AGF, a Toronto-based investment firm, said Tuesday that acquiring Acuity will raise its assets under management to $51 billion from $44 billion.

“We chose to join forces with Acuity because of the firm’s impressive track record and long-standing commitment to excellence in investment management in both the retail and institutional space,” chairman and CEO Blake Goldring said in a statement.

“We are confident that this deal will further our goal of helping investors succeed in addition to delivering long-term value to our shareholders.”

Toronto-based Acuity currently manages about $7.4 billion for retail, institutional and high net worth investors.

The deal, which requires regulatory and shareholder approval, is expected to be completed around Feb. 1 next year.

AGF is offering 60 per cent cash and 40 per cent in shares for Acuity, with a portion of the payment deferred and being subject to adjustment over three years from closing.

Acuity founder, president and CEO Ian Ihnatowycz is expected to join AGF’s board after the deal closes and the company’s portfolio management team will remain the same.

AGF stock was down four cents to $17.22 in morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

– Canadian Press

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Amount Canadians owe continues to increase

Canadians debtload is deepening, but the speed at which consumers are piling it on is beginning to slow, credit agency TransUnion says.

In a report Tuesday, TransUnion said overall debt, excluding mortgages, was up 4.3 per cent in the third quarter compared with a year ago.

However, despite higher debt loads Canadians seem to be managing it better. Delinquency rates and past due balances have dropped across the country, it said.

TransUnion noted that the national credit card delinquency rate was down nearly 10 per cent in the third quarter from a year ago.

“There continue to be positive signs in the credit market as Canadians slowly manage out of the recession,” said Thomas Higgins, TransUnion’s vice-president of analytics.

“The most positive sign has been the significant decrease in past due balances (outstanding debt that is at least 30 days past due) which has dropped 15 per cent since last year after three years of increases.”

Quebec posted the largest increase in debt at 6.6 per cent, while Manitoba had the lowest increase at 2.6 per cent compared with the national average of 4.3 per cent.

However, TransUnion says that is still an improvement over the double-digit increases that have been going on since before the recession.

Canadian average credit card debt increased to $3,709 from the previous quarter’s $3,614, but fell 1.7 per cent compared with a year ago.

Average auto loan debt increased to $16,183 from the previous quarter’s $15,135, and up 9.8 per cent from a year ago.

– Canadian Press

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U.S. consumer confidence index rises

A monthly survey shows Americans’ confidence in the economy rose in November to the highest level in five months amid more hopeful signs.

The reading is an encouraging sign at the beginning of the holiday shopping season. But confidence remains weak as Americans grapple with high unemployment.

The Conference Board says Tuesday its consumer confidence index now stands at 54.1, up from a revised 49.9 in October.

Analysts were expecting 52.0. November’s reading marks the highest point since June’s 54.3.

Economists watch confidence closely because consumer spending accounts for about 70 per cent of U.S. economic activity and is critical to a strong rebound. It takes a reading of 90 to indicate a healthy economy.

– Canadian Press

• • •

TD Waterhouse introduces new fund

TD Waterhouse Private Investment Counsel Inc. has launched the new TD Private Diversified Canadian Equity Fund today.

The fund focuses on equity securities issued by Canadian corporations and Canadian-issued money market securities and bonds.

The fund is managed by John Kustec, Managing Director, TD Harbour Capital.

“These features make this Fund unique in the marketplace and could be effective in these uncertain markets. This value-style Fund offers our clients an investment to potentially grow while aiming to proactively defend a client’s portfolio,” said Dave Kelly, Senior Vice President, TDW PIC.

– John Powell

(11/30/10) staff


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