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Here are the top reads on deals and financial services over the last week,

FINANCIAL SERVICES NEWS

Ottawa eases mortgage stress-test rule: Ottawa is revamping the controversial mortgage stress test in a move that would make it easier for borrowers to qualify for loans and could add fuel to already hot housing markets. (James Bradshaw, Rachelle Younglai).

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Just when the housing market needs a firm hand, Ottawa makes it easier to get a mortgage: So much for the adult supervision of our housing market. The federal government was onto a good thing when it introduced a stress test for home buyers a few years ago that demanded they be able to afford mortgage payments if interest rates spiked higher. The stress test was tough, but all in a good cause in that it limited the risk of people buying more house than they could properly afford. (Rob Carrick)

Consumers face delays, complications when escalating complaints against Big Six banks, watchdog says: Canada’s financial consumer watchdog says customers of the Big Six banks are being hit with delays and complications when they try to escalate complaints and that most simply give up. (Clare O’Hara)

OMERS names new head of private equity group: The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System named Michael Graham as the new head of its $14-billion private-equity portfolio on Wednesday, a move that comes as the pension fund manager ramps up investments in income-producing assets and Asian markets. (Andrew Willis)

CIBC plans executive shuffle, cut 2,000 jobs as it aims to improve mortgage lending, control expenses: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is expected to make major changes to its senior executive ranks and announce about 2,000 jobs cuts when it reports fiscal first-quarter earnings next week, according to sources familiar with the plan. (James Bradshaw)

Caisse fails to beat investment benchmark as real estate posts negative return: Ivanhoé Cambridge, the real-estate arm of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, will likely sell a third of its 25 shopping centres after its 2019 returns dragged down the entire fund. (David Milstead)

Telus raises $1.3-billion in bought deal in move to bring down debt: Telus Corp. raised $1.3-billion in a bought deal announced Wednesday evening, in a move to bring down its debt level following two large transactions and to bolster its balance sheet ahead of the build-out of its fifth-generation wireless network. (Mark Rendell)

RBC hikes dividend as profit climbs 11% on capital markets, retail banking strength: Royal Bank of Canada raised its profit by 11 per cent with a standout quarter from its capital markets division and encouraging signs of steadying loan losses, setting a high bar to start the fiscal first-quarter earnings season for the country’s large banks. (James Bradshaw)

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DEALS NEWS: MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS, IPOs and FINANCINGS

Caisse-backed Eddyfi NDT becomes one of Canada’s largest private tech companies with Halfwave acquisition: A Quebec pipeline testing company backed by some of the province’s biggest investors has instantly transformed into one of Canada’s largest private technology companies on the heels of two major acquisitions this month. (Sean Silcoff)

Toronto software firm Dye & Durham set to launch $150-million IPO within weeks: sources: Legal software provider Dye & Durham Corp. plans to file next month to raise $150-million in an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Sean Silcoff)

Starlight and KingSett Capital to buy Northview Apartment REIT for $4.8-billion: Starlight Investments and KingSett Capital plan to buy Northview Apartment REIT for $4.8-billion in an all-cash deal that would give the two private Canadian real estate companies control over thousands of apartments across the country at a time when rents are soaring. (Rachelle Younglai)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Rob Carrick’s 2020 ETF Buyer’s Guide: Best U.S. equity funds: There were no bad choices for ETF investors in the U.S. equity category last year. Every single exchange-traded fund listed in the U.S. equity installment of the 2020 Globe and Mail ETF Buyer’s Guide made between 20 and 30 per cent in the 12 months to Jan. 31, and the three- and five-year returns were all in double digits.

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