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Here are the top reads on deals and financial services over the last week. Have a great summer weekend,


Robert Prichard’s wide network may be his Achilles heel: Robert Prichard is the poster boy for corporate Canada. So much so that a study published by the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management back in 2004 deemed him a “principal gatekeeper of governance reform” because he sits on so many boards. The research, which mapped Mr. Prichard’s web of business connections, put him at the centre of an exclusive network of corporate elites. Much to their surprise, the academics concluded that “old boys’ network" was having a positive impact on corporate governance. Being an influential director has always been Mr. Prichard’s calling card, but these days it’s proving to be his Achilles heel. Opinion (Rita Trichur)

Bank of Montreal chair Robert Prichard stands by his role in effort to secure deal for SNC-Lavalin: Bank of Montreal chairman Robert Prichard is defending his involvement in the political and legal fracas over SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., saying he informed the bank he was joining the team at a Bay Street law firm that was hired to give advice to the engineering company. Canada’s fourth-largest bank was drawn into the controversy over the Trudeau government’s handling of the SNC file after the federal Ethics Commissioner released a report Wednesday that found the Prime Minister broke the rules in directing government officials to find a solution to SNC’s legal troubles that would safeguard its interests. Story (James Bradshaw)

The Bank of Montreal connection in the SNC affair: Bank of Montreal is never specifically mentioned in the Federal Ethics Commissioner’s damning report on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s crusade for SNC-Lavalin, but the institution is now caught up in a scandal that will haunt the federal Liberals in the fall election campaign. Mario Dion, the federal ethics watchdog, laid bare the all-too-cozy underside of Corporate Canada in finding the Prime Minister and his team violated the Conflict of Interest Act by relentlessly pushing former attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould to drop a criminal case against SNC-Lavalin. By naming names and detailing exactly what played out behind closed doors last fall, Mr. Dion showed how top executives at one of the country’s largest banks came to feature prominently in this political drama. Story (Andrew Willis)

Wealthsimple partners with high-net-worth adviser Grayhawk Investment Strategies: Robo-adviser Wealthsimple is partnering with independent wealth manager Grayhawk Investment Strategies Inc., as the online portfolio platform looks to gain a foothold in the arena of ultra-high-net-worth investors. The deal marks the largest partnership so far for Wealthsimple’s B2B division, said J-F Courville, chief executive of Wealthsimple for Advisors. Story (Clare O’Hara)

Four new ‘one ticket solution’ ETFs make debut as their popularity soars: The number of exchange-traded fund products that offer so-called one-ticket solutions to building a portfolio continues to grow in Canada amid their surging popularity. Four new such “asset allocation” ETFs started trading Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange: three from RBC iShares, bringing the bank’s total offerings in the space to five, and one from CI Financial. Story (Clare O’Hara)

CPPIB tops $400-billion in assets for the first time: Canada Pension Plan Investment Board eked out a 1.1-per-cent return in the quarter ended June 30, but it was enough to allow it to report for the first time that the country’s pension fund had more than $400-billion in assets. CPPIB CEO Mark Machin, in a prepared statement, said it posted “solid” net income across the globe, but its results were dampened by the strengthening Canadian dollar. Story (David Milstead)

A new registered investment advisor category could have significant upside for Canada: Financial advisors and investors in Canada could benefit from the introduction of a few key features from the United States’ financial advisory system; namely, the registered investment advisor (RIA) model, the ecosystem that supports it and the turnkey asset management program (TAMP). Story (Jason Pereira)

Brookfield acquires mortgage insurer Genworth Canada in $2.4-billion deal: The private equity arm of Brookfield Asset Management has reached a $2.4-billion deal to acquire control of Genworth MI Canada Inc., the country’s second-largest mortgage insurer. Brookfield Business Partners LP, a publicly-traded subsidiary of the global asset manager, is buying a 57-per-cent stake in Genworth MI Canada from the mortgage insurer’s American parent company, Genworth Financial Inc. Story (James Bradshaw)

‘Powerful’ Questrade ads putting advisers on the hot seat: From the new mom who dumps her financial advisor because she “can’t keep paying a fortune in fees,” or the couple commenting on the “10 minutes, once a year” of expertise they feel they get from their soon-to-be former financial adviser, Questrade Inc.’s advertisements, which challenge advisers for the fees they charge and services they provide, have become all too familiar. Story (Brenda Bouw)

Ontario financial services regulator details new syndicated-mortgage rules for retail investors: Ontario’s financial industry regulator has unveiled new rules to govern the sale of syndicated mortgage investments to ordinary investors in the wake of failures of high-profile projects affiliated with Fortress Real Developments Inc. The Financial Services Regulatory Authority is asking for public feedback on proposals that would require mortgage brokers to flag risk factors to retail investors who are funding syndicated mortgage loans. Story (Janet McFarland)

The Capital One breach proved we must rethink cloud security: By all accounts, Capital One defended its customers’ data with the imposing array of cybersecurity tools that you’d expect from one of the largest banks in the United States. And yet a lone hacker managed to bypass those tools and obtain the sensitive personal information of more than 100 million people, a breach that will likely cost the bank well more than $100-million when all is said and done. Opinion (Justin Fier)

Canada’s anti-money laundering watchdog tripled cryptocurrency cases it has referred to law enforcement in past year: Cryptocurrency transactions and exchanges are increasingly coming under the microscope of regulators and law enforcement agencies as the popularity of virtual currencies grows. Canada’s anti-money laundering watchdog sent 61 cryptocurrency-related incidents to law enforcement agencies for investigation in the past fiscal year – more than triple the number of such disclosures it made in the previous year, according to data obtained by The Globe and Mail through an Access to Information request. The agency’s most recent fiscal year ran from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019. Story (Alexandra Posadzki)


Callidus shareholders urged to accept go-private bid or risk losing out on stock: Callidus Capital Corp.’s second-largest shareholder has agreed to take the struggling alternative lender private at a price well below what it had proposed less than a year ago. Callidus’s special committee of directors urged minority investors to accept the cash offer from Bahamas-based Braslyn Ltd., warning that failing to do so could leave them holding shares with no value due to Callidus’s debt burden and worsening financial position. Story (Jeffrey Jones)

Toronto startup Nudge Rewards raises $11-million in venture capital: Nudge Rewards Inc., a Toronto startup that connects restaurant, retail and hospitality companies to front-line employees through their smartphones, has raised $11-million in venture capital, making it one of the few Canadian technology firms led or co-founded by women to secure eight-figure private financing. Story (Sean Silcoff)

HBC special committee asks Baker if new bid is coming as Catalyst deadline nears: Hudson’s Bay Co.'s independent directors have asked the retailer’s executive chairman, Richard Baker, whether he intends to revise his $1-billion privatization offer. Story (Rachelle Younglai)

Underwriters stuck with about a third of New Gold’s stock issue after ‘bought deal’ falters: New Gold Inc.’s $150-million stock issue has met with a frosty reception from investors as underwriters remain stuck with about a third of the shares despite bullion’s big run this year. Story (Niall McGee and Tim Kiladze)

Koch Industries sells its oil sands properties to Paramount: The conglomerate run by the wealthy Koch brothers has sold its oil sands assets to a unit of Paramount Resources Ltd. for an undisclosed sum following halted attempts to develop projects. Koch Industries Inc., whose billionaire owners Charles and David Koch are well known in the United States for supporting conservative causes, transferred five oil sands leases to Cavalier Energy, which is the oil sands unit of Calgary-based Paramount, according to the Alberta Energy Regulator. Story (Jeffrey Jones)

Jim Pattison Group’s bid for Canfor shows next generation of company’s leaders making mark: Make no mistake: The public face and driving force at Jim Pattison Group remains the company’s 90-year-old founder. However, as Jimmy Pattison vies to add another trophy to his crowded mantelpiece with a $982-million bid for the minority interest in lumber producer Canfor Corp., the supporting cast at the Vancouver-based conglomerate is stepping out of his considerable shadow. Story (Andrew Willis)

Jim Pattison tables $981.7-million bid to take Canfor private: A company controlled by B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison plans to take forestry firm Canfor Corp. private with a $981.7-million cash offer that comes during an industry slump. Great Pacific Capital Corp. is offering $16 a share for Vancouver-based Canfor’s stock that it doesn’t already own, or 82 per cent higher than the close of $8.80 on Friday. Story (Brent Jang)

Barrick Gold eyeing sale of 50-per-cent share in Australian mine: Barrick Gold Corp. is planning to sell its 50-per-cent share in the Kalgoorlie mine in Australia and has identified two Australian companies as possible buyers. “There’s a lot of very interested parties in that asset, whether it’s Northern Star or Evolution [Mining]. Those mid-cap Aussie guys are doing extremely well," Barrick CEO Mark Bristow said in an interview after the release of the company’s second-quarter results on Monday. Story (Niall McGee)

Air Canada hikes Transat bid, wins support from biggest shareholder: Air Canada has raised its takeover offer for Transat A.T. Inc., bowing to pressure from large investors who were demanding more for their stakes in the Montreal airline and tour company. Air Canada said its new offer, worth $18 a share or $720-million, up from $13 or $520-million, has the support of Transat’s largest shareholder, Letko Brosseau and Associates Inc., the Montreal money manager that controls almost 20 per cent of shares and opposed the first bid. Story (Eric Atkins)


BMO Capital Markets fined by SEC over mishandling of ADRs: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday said Cantor Fitzgerald & Co and BMO Capital Markets had agreed to pay $647,000 and $3.9 million respectively to settle charges of improper handling of “pre-released” American Depositary Receipts (ADRs). Story (Reuters)

Trump held conference call with CEOs of three big banks amid market turmoil, source says: U.S. President Donald Trump held a conference call on Wednesday with the chief executives of the three largest Wall Street banks as financial markets were in turmoil, one source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday. Story (Reuters)


Revlon to explore options, largest shareholder says: Revlon Inc’s largest shareholder MacAndrews and Forbes said on Friday the cosmetics maker would explore options for the business. Story (Reuters)

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