The Globe and Mail

Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

AdChoices

Report on Business

Streetwise

News and analysis on Bay Street and the world of finance
available exclusively to subscribers of Globe Unlimited

Entry archive:

Streetwise newsletter: Last week’s best reads: Fairfax, energy, Brookfield

Fairfax ‘starting from scratch’ as it eyes growth opportunities, Watsa said

After years of expressing bearish views on the economic weaknesses in global markets, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. founder and CEO Prem Watsa is turning to a brighter focus on investment opportunities he sees.

With several years of lacklustre investment returns weighing on the Toronto-based firm, Fairfax is “basically starting from scratch” after removing all its extensive equity hedges at the end of last year, Mr. Watsa told a packed concert hall of shareholders at the Fairfax annual meeting in Toronto on Thursday. Story

More »

Streetwise newsletter: Fairfax ‘starting from scratch’; Energy bankers branch out into weed; SNC’s big British deal

Fairfax ‘starting from scratch’ as it eyes growth opportunities: Watsa

After years of expressing bearish views on the economic weaknesses in global markets, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. founder and CEO Prem Watsa is turning to a brighter focus on investment opportunities he sees.

With several years of lacklustre investment returns weighing on the Toronto-based firm, Fairfax is “basically starting from scratch” after removing all its extensive equity hedges at the end of last year, Mr. Watsa told a packed concert hall of shareholders at the Fairfax annual meeting in Toronto on Thursday.

More »

Energy bankers branch out into cannabis as legalization approaches

JEFFREY JONES

Veteran energy-investment bankers are applying tried-and-true oil patch financing methods to a sector that’s not so down on its luck – weed.

Sonny Mottahed, chief executive officer of Calgary-based Black Spruce Merchant Capital, said he and his team are taking a three-pronged approach to their first foray into the cannabis sector as legalization approaches.

More »

Fairfax ‘starting from scratch’ as it eyes growth opportunities, Watsa said

JACQUELINE NELSON

After years of expressing bearish views on the economic weaknesses in global markets, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. founder and CEO Prem Watsa is turning to a brighter focus on investment opportunities he sees.

With several years of lacklustre investment returns weighing on the Toronto-based firm, Fairfax is “basically starting from scratch” after removing all its extensive equity hedges at the end of last year, Mr. Watsa told a packed concert hall of shareholders at the Fairfax annual meeting in Toronto on Thursday.

More »

Streetwise newsletter: Canadian banks look south; former PM joins VC firm; Brookfield’s $540-million gas deal

U.S. bank earnings a mixed bag as Canadian sector looks south

America’s largest banks reported better-than-expected earnings growth in the first quarter of 2017, but a closer look at results reveals a mixed bag of hits and misses.

U.S. banks were looking to rebound from a gloomy first quarter a year ago, when falling oil prices and unfavourable trading conditions weighed on results. Since then, the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump has brought bold promises of deregulation and tax reform to accompany rising interest rates, creating a wave of bullish optimism on Wall Street.

More »

Stephen Harper joins Silicon Valley venture capital firm 8VC as adviser

NIALL McGEE

Former prime minister Stephen Harper has taken an advisory role with 8VC – a San Francisco-based venture-capital firm – in his latest public venture since walking away from politics last year.

Privately held 8VC was started in 2015 and counts well-known venture capitalists Drew Oetting and Joe Lonsdale among its founders. The firm invests in early-stage tech companies and manages in the region of $1.5-billion (U.S.), according to Forbes.

More »

U.S. bank earnings a mixed bag as Canadian sector looks south

JAMES BRADSHAW and CHRISTINA PELLEGRINI

America’s largest banks reported better-than-expected earnings growth in the first quarter of 2017, but a closer look at results reveals a mixed bag of hits and misses.

U.S. banks were looking to rebound from a gloomy first quarter a year ago, when falling oil prices and unfavourable trading conditions weighed on results. Since then, the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump has brought bold promises of deregulation and tax reform to accompany rising interest rates, creating a wave of bullish optimism on Wall Street.

More »

Lexpert: The role reversal of Financeit and Concentra’s TD business-unit deal

Point-of-sale lender Financeit started off in 2011 by serving a market of small and mid-size business owners that the big banks wouldn’t touch in the wake of the financial crisis. Now, Financeit has partnered with Concentra and closed its first acquisition from one of those very same banks, buying TD Bank Group’s indirect home-improvement-financing assets for $339-million.

More »

Brookfield revs up competition in consolidating gas-bar sector

JACQUELINE NELSON

Brookfield Business Partners LP is pumping its international experience and growth plans into a $540-million deal to buy Loblaw Cos. Ltd.’s Canadian gas station network amid rampant industry consolidation.

The alternative asset manager said Wednesday that it would buy the 213 service stations and convenience stores located near Loblaw grocery stores along with institutional partners, and had simultaneously struck an agreement with Exxon Mobil Corp.-backed Imperial Oil Ltd. to rebrand under the historic U.S. Mobil fuel banner.

More »

Streetwise newsletter: Rogers chief’s new task; ‘Instagram for doctors’

Rogers CEO Joe Natale tasked with turning momentum into profit growth

Momentum appears to be on Joe Natale’s side.

With the new chief executive officer set to take the reins, Rogers Communications Inc. revealed a rising tide of revenue from customers and smartphone data use at the company’s crucial wireless business. Mr. Natale’s challenge: Turn that momentum into sustained profit growth.

More »

Lexpert roundup: An uncertain future for proxy access; Could Toronto be a global fintech hub?

Lexpert identifies and reports on emerging business issues and practice areas in the business of law. Whether online, in our magazine or in the DealsWire e-newsletter, we chronicle deals and lawsuits of interest, and cover issues of broad concern to the legal profession and those who purchase legal services. We hope you enjoy this sampling of our latest content.

More »

Streetwise newsletter: AGF at 60; OSC reduces red tape; BMO offers mortgage-backed securities

Blake Goldring just has to look out the window to see the future of AGF Management Ltd.

The chief executive’s office in a downtown tower overlooks Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, an infrastructure project AGF acquired two years ago as part of a strategy to diversify from roots in mutual funds. Pointing out a plane taking off from a busy runway, Mr. Goldring joked: “I like to keep a close eye on our assets,” as he detailed new ventures and the improving fortunes of its fund business just ahead of a celebration Tuesday of AGF’s 60th anniversary.

More »

AGF at 60: Transformation is a work in progress

Andrew Willis

Blake Goldring just has to look out the window to see the future of AGF Management Ltd.

The chief executive’s office in a downtown tower overlooks Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, an infrastructure project AGF acquired two years ago as part of a strategy to diversify from roots in mutual funds. Pointing out a plane taking off from a busy runway, Mr. Goldring joked: “I like to keep a close eye on our assets,” as he detailed new ventures and the improving fortunes of its fund business just ahead of a celebration Tuesday of AGF’s 60th anniversary.

More »

Willis: Richter Family Office works to help the rich stay that way

ANDREW WILLIS

To steal a phrase from F. Scott Fitzgerald, let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They use fewer financial advisers.

The majority of Canada’s wealthy, folks with $1-million or more to invest, take a do-it-yourself approach to their savings, according to the most recent annual survey from consulting firm Capgemini. There are 331,000 millionaires in Canada, measured by their liquid assets, and Capgemini found only a third of this crowd make use of wealth managers.

More »

Last week’s best reads: Ben Cheng, Trudeau, CIBC

How Bay Street star Ben Cheng became an OSC target

Ben Cheng was once among an elite group of Bay Street portfolio managers who could legitimately claim star status.

As a money manager who capitalized on the boom in income trusts – before Ottawa’s infamous crackdown on them in 2006 – he had a hot track record and a strong personal brand. Mr. Cheng’s name helped attract billions in assets from investors – with an ego to match, say some observers. Story

More »

How Bay Street star Ben Cheng became an OSC target

NIALL McGEE

Ben Cheng was once among an elite group of Bay Street portfolio managers who could legitimately claim star status.

As a money manager who capitalized on the boom in income trusts – before Ottawa’s infamous crackdown on them in 2006 – he had a hot track record and a strong personal brand. Mr. Cheng’s name helped attract billions in assets from investors – with an ego to match, say some observers.

More »

OSC alleges securities-law violations in Amaya probe

The Ontario Securities Commission has accused fund manager Ben Cheng and three other Bay Street players of securities-law violations in connection with a leaked takeover offer in 2014 by online gambling company Amaya Inc.

The OSC alleges that Mr. Cheng, who was president of Aston Hill Financial Inc. at the time, illegaly tipped an Aston Hill sales manager, John David Rothstein, about Amaya’s $4.9-billion (U.S.) takeover of the parent company of online gambling operation PokerStars and encouraged him to share the information with others. The OSC action also named Eric Tremblay, then chief executive officer of Aston Hill, and Frank Soave, who was an investment advisor at CIBC.

More »

Barclays extends Canadian coverage by landing veteran Credit Suisse financier

ANDREW WILLIS

Investment bank Barclays Capital Canada Inc. ramped up its coverage of Canada on Wednesday by landing veteran financier Erik Charbonneau from rival Credit Suisse AG.

Mr. Charbonneau will fill a number of senior roles at Barclays, including a role previously staffed by bankers based in New York. He will join the firm, which has 75 employees in Canada, as head of equity capital markets (ECM), a role he held for the past 11 years at Credit Suisse. The job means Mr. Charbonneau is responsible for helping corporate clients raise money by selling stock. In the past, Barclays ran its Canadian ECM team from Manhattan. Adding an experienced Toronto-based executive is expected to win the investment bank a larger stake in Canadian equity offerings, as ECM is a corner of the market where strong relationships with both corporations and rival banks help to win roles in transactions.

More »

Bombardier shares jump on report of Siemens rail merger talks

A new report that Bombardier Inc. is in talks to merge its vast trains operations with those of a rival drove the Canadian company’s shares up and revived speculation that the train industry is on the verge of consolidation to cure overcapacity problems.

Bombardier shares were up 6.76 per cent in Toronto after Bloomberg, citing anonymous sources, reported that Bombardier and Siemens AG of Germany are in talks to combine their train operations.

More »

Streetwise newsletter: GMP chief’s pay increase; Concert’s changing tune; Sprott goes back to its roots

GMP CEO Fricker sees 24% pay increase

GMP Capital Inc.’s chief executive officer saw a sizeable bump in compensation, in a year the independent brokerage pared its losses, and laid off a significant portion of its work force.

Harris Fricker earned $3.9-million in 2016, compared with $3.1-million in 2015 – a 24 per cent increase, according to a regulatory filing released last week.

More »

Waterous fund acquires two-thirds of Northern Blizzard Resources

JEFFREY JONES

A fund founded by Adam Waterous, the former Bank of Nova Scotia investment banker, has acquired two-thirds of Northern Blizzard Resources Inc. for $244-million, putting more Canadian oil assets back in domestic hands.

Waterous Energy Fund said it bought the shares from a pair of U.S. private-equity firms, Riverstone Holdings LLC and NGP Capital Management LLC, for $3.60 apiece, marking the fund’s second investment since its founding earlier this year.

More »

Sprott selling mutual fund arm to executives for $46-million

ANDREW WILLIS

Money manager Sprott Inc. is going back to its roots as an investor in gold, silver and mining plays by selling its $3-billion mutual fund arm to its executives for $46-million.

Toronto-based Sprott, founded in 2000 by veteran gold bug Eric Sprott, announced Monday that it is vending a stable of 38 funds to a team led by John Wilson and James Fox, the CEO and president, respectively of mutual fund unit Sprott Asset Management. The decision to sell comes after several years of poor performance from Sprott stock and recent offers for the business from rival money managers in a consolidating industry.

More »

GMP CEO Fricker sees 24% pay increase

NIALL McGEE

GMP Capital Inc.’s chief executive officer saw a sizeable bump in compensation, in a year the independent brokerage pared its losses, and laid off a significant portion of its work force.

Harris Fricker earned $3.9-million in 2016, compared with $3.1-million in 2015 – a 24 per cent increase, according to a regulatory filing released last week.

More »

Concert Real Estate moves to contend with commercial property crescendo

JACQUELINE NELSON

A new division of Concert Real Estate Corp. has made its first acquisition as the company hunts for growth in a frenetic commercial real estate market.

After nearly 30 years of developing properties – with roots building rental housing in British Columbia – Vancouver-based Concert recently opened its doors to new investors, looking beyond its 19 pension-plan owners for capital. The company’s resulting commercial real estate fund is now making its first investment: a warehouse and distribution facility in Brampton, Ont., purchased for $158.3-million at auction.

More »

Streetwise newsletter: Last week’s best reads: BMO, CIBC, Barrick and CPPIB

New BMO chief Darryl White leaves deal-making past behind

Early in Gord Nixon’s run as CEO of Royal Bank of Canada, his former investment banking partners started quietly complaining the new boss had forgotten his roots, because he was directing the bank’s considerable resources away from capital markets and into wealth management acquisitions.

More »

New BMO chief Darryl White leaves deal-making past behind

ANDREW WILLIS

Early in Gord Nixon’s run as CEO of Royal Bank of Canada, his former investment banking partners started quietly complaining the new boss had forgotten his roots, because he was directing the bank’s considerable resources away from capital markets and into wealth management acquisitions.

The same grumbling played out three years ago when Brian Porter took the reins at Bank of Nova Scotia, with i-bankers whining they were not feeling the love from their one-time teammate, who now seemed fixated on credit cards and fintech.

More »

Streetwise newsletter: CIBC chief on richer bid for PrivateBanCorp; Caisse deputy heeds 'calling'

The head of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce made his case to shareholders Thursday for the proposed $4.9-billion (U.S.) purchase of Chicago-based PrivateBancorp Inc., a week after hiking the offer price by 20 per cent.

Chief executive officer Victor Dodig sought to reassure investors that he expects the transaction to close within months, allowing CIBC to start executing its long-awaited U.S. expansion plans. In prepared remarks at the bank’s annual meeting in Ottawa, he said that, even though CIBC has had to dig deeper into its coffers in the hope of sealing the deal, there is still room for PrivateBank, as it is known, to grow.

More »

CIBC chief pitches merits of richer bid for PrivateBanCorp

CHRISTINA PELLEGRINI AND JAMES BRADSHAW

The head of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce made his case to shareholders Thursday for the proposed $4.9-billion (U.S.) purchase of Chicago-based PrivateBancorp Inc., a week after hiking the offer price by 20 per cent.

Chief executive officer Victor Dodig sought to reassure investors that he expects the transaction to close within months, allowing CIBC to start executing its long-awaited U.S. expansion plans. In prepared remarks at the bank’s annual meeting in Ottawa, he said that, even though CIBC has had to dig deeper into its coffers in the hope of sealing the deal, there is still room for PrivateBank, as it is known, to grow.

More »

Caisse deputy heeds 'calling' in move to join French politics

NICOLAS VAN PRAET

The chief investment officer of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec has left his post to join the political campaign of centrist French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, saying he could not sit idly and watch his native country potentially fall into the hands of the extreme right.

Roland Lescure described his decision to switch gears at the age of 50 as “a calling” that became progressively clearer in his mind after the shocks of Britain voting to leave the European Union and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump. He said he sees both events as a victory of fear over hope, of simple solutions over the profound thinking necessary in a complex world.

More »

Barrick’s Argentina deal furthers Peter Munk’s dream of close China ties

RACHELLE YOUNGLAI

Barrick Gold Corp. chairman John Thornton is closer to fulfilling company founder Peter Munk’s dream of aligning the Canadian gold miner with China.

Barrick has formed its second so-called strategic partnership with a Chinese company, with a deal to sell half of a top Argentinian mine to state-owned Shandong Gold Group for $960-million (U.S.) and a promise to work together on the mothballed Pascua Lama project in South America.

More »

Video »

Sign up for our newsletter

Blog contributors

Most Popular

loading