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Which energy company will exit the oil sands next?

Energy company executives chase fads the same way large chunks of the population collectively lose their minds and start chasing Pokemon Go characters.

These days, the CEOs of oil and gas companies are all aflutter for what's known in the industry as "short cycle-time" projects, regions where black gold can be extracted relatively quickly and easily. That thinking is behind a rush to get exposure to the Permian basin in Texas and New Mexico.

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In contrast, Alberta's oil sands are distinctly out of fashion: Difficult to develop, expensive, controversial and just not cool. Story

Distance doesn't blur oil sands focus for Canadian Natural's Murray Edwards

Murray Edwards moved across the pond for a change of scenery, but he can still make a splash back in Alberta.

The chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. – who relocated to London from Calgary last year – has a made a career of hunting down oil and gas assets when they are out of favour, snapping them for a good price and transforming his company in the process. Story

Lender of choice: TD builds its oil patch presence

A generation ago, Toronto-Dominion Bank built a lucrative business as the lender of choice to North American telecom and cable companies.

Now the bank, best known for its massive retail branch network, is winning a reputation in Calgary as the go-to lender for ambitious energy companies. TD Securities quarterbacked $9-billion of loans, along with JPMorgan Chase Bank and Bank of Nova Scotia, that allowed Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. to snag Shell Canada Ltd.'s oil sands assets on Thursday and strengthen a Canadian champion in the oil and gas sector. Story

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Sprott launches $3.1-billion hostile takeover of rival bullion fund

Money manager Sprott Inc. launched a hostile $3.1-billion (U.S.) takeover offer Wednesday for Central Fund of Canada Ltd. (CFCL), the latest battle in Sprott's two-year campaign to unite rival gold and silver bullion funds.

Toronto-based Sprott asked an Alberta court to allow all shareholders in Calgary-based CFCL to vote on a plan that will see their holdings exchanged for units in a new company, Sprott Physical Gold and Silver Trust. If successful, the takeover would make Sprott a leading bullion fund manager, adding $3.1-billion in CFCL's portfolio to the $9.3-billion (Canadian) in assets under management at Sprott. Story

Sun Life's Dean Connor ties compensation to client satisfaction

Sun Life Financial Inc. is moving to tie employee compensation to client feedback as it plots its strategic direction for the next few years.

The move is part of chief executive officer Dean Connor's plan to quantify one of his top priorities after five years at the helm of the Toronto-based insurer.

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"We're changing our annual incentive plan starting this year – we just announced this to our [21,000] employees around the world – so that 25 per cent of the annual incentive rewards is based on client feedback," Mr. Connor said ahead of the company's annual investor day on Thursday where the insurer mapped out where it expects to find profit growth in its Canadian, U.S. and Asian businesses. Story

Aequitas Neo Exchange pushes for real-time consolidated market data

The company behind one of Canada's newer stock exchanges is pushing provincial securities regulators to ensure that all investors have access to real-time consolidated market data.

In a recent filing to the Canadian Securities Administrators, Aequitas Neo Exchange Inc. contends that most retail investors and their investment advisers have a partial view of the trading activity that occurs in stocks listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the TSX Venture Exchange.

Most retail brokerage accounts display information about a stock, including price and volume traded, based on what has taken place on the TSX and TSX-V. That can be problematic because both stocks and exchange-traded funds can trade on a dozen other venues in Canada, such as those operated by Nasdaq Inc. and Aequitas, among others. Story

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