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Here are the top reads on deals and financial services over the last 24 hours,


Intact buying insurers Guarantee Co. and Frank Cowan for $1-billion: Intact Financial Corp. has signed a deal to buy two specialty insurers in a move that gives it a foothold in the market for wealthy clients, part of a broader push among financial services firms toward high-net-worth customers. Story (Canadian Press)

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)

BMO 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. Story (James Bradshaw)


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)


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)

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