Briefly: “Scotia buys Cayman asset manager” and more news

By Staff | March 6, 2009 | Last updated on March 6, 2009
2 min read
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Scotiabank has announced it has bought a controlling interest in Five Continents Financial Ltd., a global asset management firm in the Cayman Islands.

“We see significant opportunity for growth in the Caribbean and Central America and this partnership in the Cayman Islands further demonstrates our commitment to growing and investing across the region,” said Dan Wright, senior vice-president, wealth management, international banking, Scotiabank.

The firm has $458.3 million US in assets under management, and focuses on managing conservative global investment portfolios for individuals, corporations, insurance companies, pension plans, trusts and third-party investment funds.

The founders of Five Continents, co-managing directors Bill Messer and Scott Elphinstone, remain minority shareholders.

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Caisse names new chairman

Robert Tessier, former head of Gaz Métro LP, is to become the new chairman of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

Tessier’s first order of business will be to find a chief executive officer for Quebec’s embattled pension fund manager, one of several expected moves to help the Caisse find its way after posting a $39.8 billion loss in 2008.

Tessier will take over from Pierre Brunet, whose mandate was not renewed. The Caisse has been without a permanent chief executive since Richard Guay’s resignation in January for personal reasons. Guay took the helm in 2008 after Henri-Paul Rousseau left to join Power Corp. of Canada. Fernand Perreault is the interim CEO.

Quebec Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget said the provincial government has engaged an executive search firm to provide a list of potential candidates for the board and chief executive officer positions. While Tessier will have input into the hiring decisions, the government will have the final say.

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M&A on the rise in emerging markets

Despite a slowdown in global mergers and acquisitions activity, emerging countries have exhibited a steady upward trend in this area during the last decade, according to research by Watson Wyatt.

“For those willing to work through the complexities, the possibilities for M&A abroad are promising,” says Jim McKay, M&A engagement leader with Watson Wyatt. “As the economy eventually begins to rebound, emerging markets will continue to present attractive opportunities and challenges for multinational companies (MNCs).”

However, organizations looking to these markets for opportunities face many potential obstacles. Watson Wyatt’s research outlines how foreign companies often encounter more difficulty with M&A activity than their local counterparts, due to their lack of familiarity with the marketplace. But in some cases, the rewards are worth the risks.

“When selecting a country, MNCs generally seek sizable local markets that can serve as a stepping stone to the global marketplace,” says Magdalena Ramada, a senior economist with Watson Wyatt. “But emerging countries can also offer low labour costs and, in some key cases, a large skilled workforce and a receptive business environment. Together, those factors can make a formidable and inviting combination.”

(03/06/09) staff


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