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

Ontario opposes proposed ban on deferred fees for funds: Ontario’s new government has come out against a proposal to ban the use of an early-withdrawal fee on mutual funds that is often hidden from consumers, a decision that drew backlash from within the industry and throws a long-standing review of fund fees into turmoil. Story (Clare O’Hara and Tim Kiladze, for subscribers)

AltaGas spinning off gas-distribution assets to reduce debt when published AltaGas Ltd. is spinning off its Canadian regulated gas-distribution assets into a new publicly traded company to cut debt it took on in its US$4.5-billion takeover of U.S.-based WGL Holdings Inc., a deal that has weighed heavily on its stock price. Story (Jeffrey Jones, for subscribers)

Declining business investment threatens economy, C.D. Howe, Fraser Institute say: A sharp decline in business investment is a major headwind for Canada’s economy, two recent reports say, amplifying competitiveness concerns spurred by trade uncertainty and corporate tax cuts in the United States. Story (Jeff Lewis, for subscribers)

Fintech partnership: National Bank of Canada is partnering with online lender Thinking Capital to expand its small-business loans to Canadian companies. On Thursday, National Bank became the second major bank to announce a strategic partnership agreement with Montreal-based Thinking Capital, allowing the bank to now offer loans to a wider segment of small to medium-sized businesses in Canada. The partnership permits National Bank to white-label, or rebrand as its own, Thinking Capital’s proprietary fintech platform and process loans directly in-house. Story (Clare O’Hara)

Hostile takeover: Trinidad Drilling Ltd. urged investors to reject a hostile takeover bid made by rival Ensign Energy Services as it tries to drum up a richer offer in a downtrodden energy market. Calgary-based Trinidad on Thursday accused Ensign of undervaluing its prospects and taking advantage of what it called temporary weakness in its shares as it began a formal search for a white knight. Story (Jeff Lewis, for subscribers)

Ten years on, few lessons learned from the global financial crisis: It’s been a decade since the collapse of Lehman Brothers sparked the 2008-09 global financial crisis and recession. The global economy is finally performing at a robust level, with solid output and employment growth in many regions and interest rates generally on the rise toward more normal levels. The acute pain felt during the financial crisis, and the protracted period of recovery, should have encouraged policy-makers and their voters to take meaningful steps to avoid a repeat performance. But have lessons been learned? Opinion (C.D. Howe’s Glen Hodgson)

Canada must prepare for multidimensional conflict: There are hard lessons to be learned from the disproportionate Saudi response to a tweet from our Foreign Affairs Minister calling for the release of imprisoned rights activists, and an opportunity to make our country better prepared and more resilient. Opinion (National Bank CEO Louis Vachon)


Risk: Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned that the world is on the verge of sleepwalking into another financial crisis because governments have failed to tackle the causes of the last major financial crash a decade ago. Britain’s leader when the collapse of the U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers triggered the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression said the world is leaderless and was now entering a period of vulnerability. “We are in danger of sleepwalking into a future crisis,” Brown told The Guardian. “There is going to have to be a severe awakening to the escalation of risks, but we are in a leaderless world.” Story

People moves: David M. Solomon, the incoming chief executive of Goldman Sachs, has picked two veterans of the firm’s investment banking division to help him lead the company. Story


Aggressive acquisition streak hits Scotiabank’s stock price: After a stunning run of acquisitions, Bank of Nova Scotia is feeling the heat. Shares of Canada’s third-largest lender are suffering relative to rival Big Six banks, and the pressure is on management to prove its recent spate of deals was worth it. Story (Tim Kiladze, for subscribers)

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