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

FINANCIAL SERVICES NEWS

OSC to examine trading activities of major banks after RBC, TD agree to pay nearly $22.9-million for failing to supervise foreign-exchange traders: Royal Bank of Canada agreed to pay $13.55-million and Toronto-Dominion Bank $9.3-million to the Ontario Securities Commission to settle charges they failed to supervise foreign-exchange traders during a three-year period. The settlements were approved by the commission Friday morning, with the OSC saying they’ll be looking at the trading activities of other big banks as well. Story (David Milstead)

TD profit falls shy of forecasts as loan-loss provisions weigh: Toronto-Dominion Bank reported profit growth across all its major divisions in the third quarter but fell just shy of analysts’ expectations. A 17-per-cent rise in provisions for credit losses – the funds banks set aside to cover bad loans – was a drag on TD’s results, continuing a trend among Canada’s largest banks as they see expected loan losses creep up from unusually low levels a year ago. Story (James Bradshaw)

National Bank profit climbs on strength in personal, commercial banking: Quebec’s economy is on a roll and the National Bank of Canada took advantage of rosy conditions in the third quarter, reporting a 7-per-cent rise in profit driven by strong personal and commercial banking results. Total bank profits reached $608-million, outpacing analysts’ expectations, while earnings from retail banking rose 11 per cent to $277-million. The bank’s financial-markets arm also posted record returns from trading, making the most of volatile market conditions. Story (James Bradshaw)

Scotiabank hikes dividend on boost from international banking, while BMO’s profit stays flat: Rising international banking profit and lower expected loan losses helped to propel strong third-quarter results at the Bank of Nova Scotia, while the Bank of Montreal’s earnings suffered from relative weakness in those same areas. Profit rose 2 per cent at Scotiabank, or 9 per cent when excluding a large loss on the sale of its operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands – a sign of progress that broke a streak of four straight quarters of disappointing results. Yet at BMO, profit increased by just 1 per cent, as higher expected loan losses offset steady progress in its core divisions. Story (James Bradshaw)

Scotiabank caught in escalating standoff with Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda: Bank of Nova Scotia is caught in an escalating standoff with the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda over an agreement the Canadian bank made last year to sell its Antiguan operations. The deal announced in November would see Scotiabank sell its operations in nine Caribbean countries including Antigua, Grenada and St. Lucia, as part of a broader plan to reduce its exposure to risks in the region. Story (James Bradshaw)

‘Fastest levels of commercial insolvencies since the crisis’ means don’t buy Canadian bank stocks until 2020: Analyst Nigel D’Souza, financial services analyst at Veritas Investment Research, is not excited about the short-term outlook for Canadian bank stocks. Mr. D’Souza mentioned some alarming statistics in a BNN Bloomberg interview Monday. The analyst cited a ‘constrained outlook for economic growth’ in Canada which is causing ‘elevated levels of credit losses.' For RBC and CIBC, credit losses are climbing at a 45 per cent year-over-year pace because of ‘the fastest levels of commercial insolvencies since the financial crisis.’ Story (Scott Barlow)

Trustee overseeing Quadriga’s bankruptcy says it’s working with four investigative agencies including RCMP: Four law enforcement and regulatory agencies, including the RCMP and the Ontario Securities Commission, are investigating QuadrigaCX, according to the trustee overseeing the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange’s bankruptcy proceedings. Ernst & Young says it has received formal document requests relating to some of the investigations, including from the RCMP’s financial crime division in Milton, Ont., and is looking to move the case from Halifax to Toronto to make it less costly to comply with the probes. Story (Alexandra Posadzki)

DEALS NEWS: MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS, IPOs and FINANCINGS

Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs partners with Teachers to form infrastructure company: Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is partnering with Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs to invest in infrastructure projects that use advanced technology. In March, The Globe and Mail first reported that Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet Inc., had entered into preliminary agreements with financing partners for infrastructure projects associated with its proposed smart-city development on Toronto’s downtown eastern waterfront. Story (Josh O’Kane)

WSP acquires U.S. environmental consulting firm as rival SNC wins Australian contract: WSP Global Inc., the Canadian engineering firm working on many of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, is buying U.S. environmental consulting firm Ecology and Environment Inc. as it bulks up its expertise and headcount in a new growth push. The move comes as crosstown rival SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. announced it had won what it called “a significant” engineering services contract on Australia’s Inland Rail project, a 1,700-kilometre freight rail line between Melbourne and Brisbane. The company provided no details on the contract value. Story (Nicolas Van Praet)

Hudson’s Bay selling Lord & Taylor banner amid privatization battle: Hudson’s Bay Co. is selling its Lord & Taylor banner to fashion rental service Le Tote Inc., a move that comes as the Canadian retailer is in the midst of a battle over its future. San Francisco-based Le Tote has agreed to buy the Lord & Taylor brand and its inventory and to take over operation of its digital properties and 38 stores in the United States. Story (Susan Krashinsky Robertson)

Venture Capital has strongest first half on record with $2.15-billion raised: Helped along by a record second quarter, which saw $1.28-billion invested over 143 deals, venture-capital investment in Canada beat the previous record of $1.7-billion set in the first half of 2018, according to the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association’s market overview report, released on Tuesday. Story (Stefanie Marotta)

Just Energy founder looks to bail out the struggling energy retailer, faces tough restructuring: Just Energy Inc. founder Rebecca MacDonald counts some of the country’s wealthiest business leaders as friends and supporters of her business. Now, she’s trying to turn those relationships into a bailout for the struggling energy retailer. Just Energy is a former market darling. Founded in 1997, the company was a top performer as an income trust prior to the sector being shut down in 2006. Story (Andrew Willis)

MORE NEWS FROM FRIDAY

Aramco board believes New York IPO poses too many legal risks: sources The board of Saudi Aramco has determined that listing the state energy giant in New York would carry too many legal risks to make it a realistic option, five sources said, although they said a final decision lay with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. Story (Reuters)

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