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Here are the top reads on deals and financial services over the last week. Enjoy your weekend.


The price of a pension: Inside CPPIB, the $3-billion-a-year operation that invests your money

When the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board put together its first full-year report in the spring of 2000, it assembled its employees for a group photo – all five of them.

How different the picture is today for the entity that manages retirement savings of 20 million Canadians. From midtown Manhattan to central Hong Kong to a commercial district in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the CPPIB has spread itself far and wide. Its 1,661 employees work on five different continents in seven time zones.

And that’s only the staff. The board has also hired dozens of outside investment firms, almost all of which do their work in foreign countries. Beginning in 2006, just before the financial crisis, the CPPIB turned itself from a relatively small operation into a sprawling globe-straddling money manager – with costs to match. Story (David Milstead)


Sun Life Financial appoints new head of Asian business: Léo Grépin will become the new president of Sun Life Asia in 2020, after the retirement of current president Claude Accum at the end of the year. Story (Clare O’Hara)

Investors, don’t give up on the Big Six: Canadian bank stocks have failed to generate any meaningful gains over the past two-and-a-half years, but don’t give up on them now. One reason to embrace this going-nowhere era: Dividend yields are above 4.6 per cent on average for the Big Six bank stocks, making the quarterly payouts hard to ignore at a time when bond yields are falling. Story (David Berman)

Canadian bank CEOs signal slower growth ahead amid trade tensions, falling rates: The top executives of Canada’s biggest banks are signalling slower growth ahead amid looming trade tensions and America’s falling interest rates, but the lenders remain confident they’ll be able to adapt to the changing environment. Story (Canadian Press)

U.S.-based Capital Group taps former Sun Life executive Rick Headrick to lead Canadian business: Global investment manager Capital Group has hired former Sun Life Financial executive Rick Headrick as president of its Canadian operations. Mr. Headrick, former president of Sun Life Global Investments, joined the firm on Sept. 3 and will replace Mark Tiffin, who was president and general manager of Capital Group in Canada for the past 18 years. Story (Clare O’Hara)

On Bay Street, companies turn to their own kind of ATM to pay for big projects: You and I stop by an ATM to pick up a little cash. An increasing number of Canada’s largest companies are starting to hit their own version of an ATM to find the money for their biggest projects. In Bay Street circles, an ATM is an at-the-market equity program. Story (Andrew Willis)


Li Ka-Shing’s CK Infrastructure made takeover overture for Inter Pipeline Ltd.: Hong Kong-based CK Infrastructure Holdings Ltd., a company backed by one of Asia’s wealthiest families, bid $12.4-billion for Inter Pipeline Ltd. this summer, only to see the Calgary-based utility spurn the takeover for reasons that include perceived political risks. Story (Andrew Willis and Jeffrey Jones)

B.C. legal software startup Clio breaks record for largest Canadian venture capital funding: A Vancouver-area software firm that helps lawyers manage their practices over the internet has secured the largest single venture-capital financing in Canadian history. Story (Sean Silcoff)

Terramera raises US$45-million in an effort to cut synthetic pesticide use in agriculture: A Vancouver clean-technology company that uses natural ingredients to kill bedbugs has raised US$45-million to pursue a bigger goal: slashing chemical use by farmers worldwide. Story (Sean Silcoff)

Sale of Aurora Cannabis stake in TGOD struggles amid industry-wide chill: Investment banks are struggling to find buyers for Aurora Cannabis Inc.'s stake in The Green Organic Dutchman Ltd., with roughly 40 per cent of the deal unsold, according to people familiar with the transaction. Story (Tim Kiladze and Mark Rendell)

Air Canada files challenge with Canadian Transportation Agency over Onex takeover of WestJet Airlines: Air Canada has filed a challenge with federal regulators to Onex Corp.’s takeover of WestJet Airlines Ltd., arguing that the deal could give foreign investors majority ownership of the Calgary-based airline, in violation of Ottawa’s rules. Onex, a Toronto-based private-equity firm, announced a friendly $3.5-billion takeover of WestJet this spring. The airline’s shareholders voted in July to approve the deal, but it now must be approved by regulators. Story (Stephanie Marotta)

Crescent Point to sell assets for $912-million to reduce debt: Crescent Point Energy Corp. has agreed to sell $912-million in assets as the producer takes a major step toward cutting its debt and focusing on nurturing core oil properties. Story (Brent Jang)

Aurora sells remaining TGOD stake: Aurora Cannabis Inc. sold the rest of its position in The Green organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. after markets closed on Tuesday, in an $86.5-million block trade that formally ends the relationship between the two cannabis firms. Story (Mark Rendell and Tim Kiladze)


Citigroup doubles down on credit cards even as U.S. economy softens: Despite signs that the U.S. economy is slowing, New York-based Citigroup Inc. is betting big on credit cards. Citigroup, the third-largest U.S. card issuer, according to payments industry publication The Nilson Report, has been among the most aggressive promoters of zero-interest balance transfers. Story (Reuters)

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac shares tumble as Treasury overhaul plan disappoints: Shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac slumped on Friday amid disappointment over a long-awaited U.S. Treasury Department plan to begin recapitalizing the mortgage giants and return them to private control after their bailout during the 2008 financial crisis. Story (Reuters)

Alibaba dials up luxury push with $2-billion buy of NetEase e-commerce arm: Alibaba Group has agreed to buy e-commerce business Kaola from Chinese gaming company NetEase for $2 billion, adding a platform that specializes in supplying curated luxury goods from abroad to domestic consumers. Story (Reuters)

Vancouver-area legal software company Clio raises $250-million in venture capital funding: A Vancouver-area software firm that helps lawyers manage their practices over the internet has secured the largest single venture-capital financing in Canadian history. Themis Solutions Inc., which operates as Clio, was set to announce Wednesday that American growth equity firms TCV and JMI Equity are investing a combined US$250-million ( in equity for a minority stake in the 11-year-old company based in Burnaby, B.C. The parties did not disclose how much of the proceeds will go to buy out existing shareholders. Story (Sean Silcoff)

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