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year in review

It was a year of volatility, surprises and uncertainty. How closely were you paying attention to the headlines? Take The Globe and Mail's quiz to test your business sense

1 It was a good year for investors in Canadian stocks. On the last trading day before Christmas, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 15,328, not far below its historic high. Where did the index close on the first trading day of the year, Jan. 4, 2016?
a) 12,927
b) 13,441
c) 14,102
d) 11,944
e) 15,000

Answer: A) 12,927

2 Allen Stanford is a Texas-born former billionaire serving time in a Florida prison for one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history. Which Canadian financial institution was sued over accusations that it indirectly aided the fraud by providing him banking services?
a) Toronto-Dominion Bank
b) Royal Bank of Canada
c) Bank of Nova Scotia
d) Home Capital Group
e) First Republic Bank
f) Trump Financial Services

Answer: A) TD Bank

3 On Jan. 23, Globe and Mail columnist Eric Reguly wrote: “Britain is sleepwalking into a crisis.” Which crisis was he referring to?
a) The hollowing out of Britain’s manufacturing industry
b) Britain’s possible exit from the European Union
c) A separatist movement on the rise in Scotland
d) Leicester City winning the Premier League
e) An epidemic of sleepwalking-related accidents and injuries

Answer: B) Brexit

4 Which of the following happened at Rogers Communications in 2016?
a) The company took a large writedown on TV technology it had been building
b) The company shut down or sold most of its print magazines
c) The company’s broadcast division struggled with poor NHL ratings
d) The company fired its chief executive officer
e) All of the above
f) Only a, b and c

Answer: E) All of the above

5 What is the best-performing stock this year of the 30 components in the Dow Jones industrial average (as of the close of trading Dec. 24)?
a) Nike
b) Coca-Cola
c) Bombardier
d) Caterpillar
e) General Electric
f) Apple

Answer: D) Caterpillar

6 Shaw Communications sold its television assets, including Food Network Canada and the Global network, in a deal that closed this year. Who was the buyer?
a) Bell Media
b) Corus Entertainment
c) Rogers Media
d) Oprah Winfrey Media
e) Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
f) A consortium of private equity groups led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan

Answer: B) Corus Entertainment

7 Which of the following measures did the B.C. government take to try to cool the province’s white-hot housing market?
a) It increased the property transfer tax on homes worth more than $2-million
b) It imposed a new 15-per-cent surtax on purchases of homes by foreigners in some areas
c) It banned the purchase of second homes in the Lower Mainland by non-residents
d) It proposed to run new oil pipelines through the most expensive neighbourhoods
e) All of the above
f) Both a and b

Answer: F) A and B are both correct

8 By how much did Crescent Point Energy cut its dividend this year?
a) 15 per cent
b) 40 per cent
c) 70 per cent
d) It eliminated the dividend entirely
e) Zero – it sold a major oil field in Saskatchewan to preserve the dividend

Answer: C) 70 per cent

9 U.S. retailing giant Lowe’s bought Quebec home-improvement chain Rona in a $3.2-billion deal. Which company tried but failed to take over Rona four years earlier?
a) Home Depot
b) Canadian Tire
c) Home Hardware
d) Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland
e) Lowe’s

Answer: E) Lowe’s

10 Air Canada’s stock outperformed WestJet’s in 2016. When was the last year that happened?
a) 2012
b) 2015
c) 2007
d) 1998
e) It has never happened

Answer: B) 2015

11 Michael Pearson returned in late February to the CEO’s office at beleaguered Valeant Pharmaceuticals after taking sick leave. How long did he resume CEO duties before the company announced they were replacing him?
a) About three hours
b) About three days
c) About three weeks
d) About three months
e) Trick question – he’s still the CEO

Answer: C) Pearson lasted about three weeks

12 What does SPAC stand for?
a) Special purpose acquisition corporation
b) Special pro-forma accounting conventions
c) Specific purpose acquisition conventions
d) Santa’s preparations at Christmastime

Answer: A) Special purpose acquisition corporation

13 Eugene Melnyk, the entrepreneur who owns the Ottawa Senators hockey club, took legal action against a company he founded for “gross mismanagement.” Which company?
a) Valeant Pharmaceuticals
b) Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment
c) Biovail
d) Acerus Pharmaceuticals
e) Leigh Court Entertainment

Answer: D) Acerus Pharmaceuticals

14 The federal Competition Tribunal whacked the Toronto Real Estate Board in the spring for anti-competitive practices. What was TREB accused of doing?
a) Restricting the way its brokers shared home sales information with clients and the public
b) Threatening real estate agents who cut commissions with the loss of their licences
c) Increasing fees to keep discount real estate brokerages out of the market
d) Falsifying information on sales data in order to create bidding wars for houses
e) Excessive “fluffling” of houses for sale

Answer: A) Restricting the way brokers share home sales information

15 Several years ago, the fraud at Sino-Forest obliterated a company that once claimed to have more than $5-billion in assets. This year, the last of the failed company’s holdings was sold – for how much?
a) About $90-million
b) About $240-million
c) Just less than $1-billion
d) $100,000
e) It was traded for one Wayne Gretzky rookie card

Answer: B) About $240-million

16 The CPP Investment Board, manager of the national pension fund, had turnover at the top when Mark Wiseman, its president and CEO, resigned to take another senior role. Where is he working now?
a) The Bank of Canada
b) Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
c) Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s office
d) Fidelity Investments
e) BlackRock
f) GoodLife Fitness

Answer: E) BlackRock

17 The U.S. Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate in December. When was the last time the Bank of Canada raised its policy interest rate?
a) January, 2015
b) March, 2012
c) September, 2007
d) September, 2010
e) May, 2016
f) It’s been so long that nobody remembers

Answer: D) September, 2010

18 CRM2 is the acronym for new rules that will force investment advisers in Canada to do what?
a) Disclose to clients which stocks and bonds the adviser holds in his or her personal portfolio
b) Tell clients, in dollars, how much they have paid in fees and commissions
c) Give clients a rebate if their investments underperform the market
d) Take ukelele lessons
e) Take new courses in the use of options and other derivatives that can mitigate losses in a bear market

Answer: B) Clearly disclose commissions and fees to clients

19 Which of the following happened at BCE Inc. this year?
a) The company made a deal for Shaw Communications’ broadcasting assets
b) The company made a deal to acquire Manitoba Telecom
c) The company fought the CRTC on its decision not to allow substitution of Canadian advertising on U.S. channels during the Super Bowl
d) CEO George Cope beat Telus CEO Darren Entwistle in an arm-wrestling competition
e) All of a, b and c
f) Just b and c

Answer: F) B and C are correct

20 Britain stunned the world in June by voting 52 per cent in favour of leaving the European Union. In the City of London, home to the financial district, what percentage of voters cast their ballots for the Leave side?
a) 25 per cent
b) 35 per cent
c) 41 per cent
d) 48 per cent
e) 52 per cent, same as the rest of Britain

Answer: A) 25 per cent

21 This fall, Royal Bank of Canada made a change to the way it sets interest rates on some mortgages. What was it?
a) The bank began charging higher rates to customers with a net worth of less than $250,000
b) It began charging higher rates to all buyers of condos in Calgary
c) It introduced a higher mortgage rate applied only to first-time home buyers
d) It began charging higher rates for mortgages with amortization periods of longer than 25 years
e) It announced a minimum rate of 4 per cent on five-year fixed mortgages

Answer: D) Higher rates on mortgages with amortization periods of longer than 25 years

22 “If we want to avoid being yet another BlackBerry … we have to build mobile into our DNA.” Who said it?
a) Brad Shaw of Shaw Communications
b) Jeff Bezos of Amazon
c) Tobi Lutke of Shopify
d) Ryan Holmes of Hootsuite
e) Jack Dorsey of Twitter
f) The founder of every technology startup in Canada

Answer: C) Tobi Lutke of Shopify

23 Why did former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio ask Canada’s broadcast regulator to change its Super Bowl advertising policy?
a) He loves Canada and secretly prefers the Grey Cup
b) He thinks Canadians should stop appropriating American culture and stick to watching ads about Tim Hortons
c) He believes the CRTC’s decision to ban the substitution of Canadian ads during the big game undercuts Bell Media’s broadcast deal with the National Football League
d) He secretly works for BCE Inc.

Answer: C) He argued the CRTC policy hurts the NFL’s broadcasting deal with Bell

24 Why did Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, start crying during an interview with The Globe’s Christine Dobby and James Bradshaw?
a) He believes the federal government is unlikely to give him a second term
b) He was getting sentimental about his sparring contests with Kevin Crull, the former head of Bell Media
c) He was talking about a chance encounter with a parishioner at his church who thanked him for protecting Canadians
d) He was talking about the importance of getting higher-speed internet access into remote Canadian areas
e) Donald Trump is right. Journalists are mean

Answer: C) He was recalling an encounter at church

25 Why did Chicago-based PrivateBancorp postpone a December shareholder vote on its $4.9-billion sale to Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce?
a) The U.S. bank failed to shore up enough investor support for the deal ahead of the vote
b) Donald Trump tweeted about good service at PrivateBancorp, causing its stock to soar and wiping out the takeover premium CIBC offered back in the summer
c) A severe winter storm made it impossible for shareholders to get to the meeting
d) CIBC CEO Victor Dodig just can’t catch a break
e) CIBC withdrew its takeover bid because of concerns about customer lawsuits

Answer: A) There was not enough investor support for the deal

26 What reason did David Baazov give when he pulled the plug on his $4.1-billion (U.S.) proposal to privatize online gambling company Amaya?
a) Amaya’s shareholders wanted more money than he and his investors were willing to pay
b) Regulators blocked the bid because of outstanding insider-trading allegations against him
c) Investors from Dubai, Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands can be rather fickle
d) Russian hackers breached Amaya’s computer systems and stole customer information
e) He tried to win the money he needed at the poker table, but lost

Answer: A) The deal would have cost more than he was willing to pay

27 Toward the end of the year, Fairfax Financial Holdings, the Toronto-based insurance and investment company, was preparing an initial public offering for a subsidiary. What will that new public company do?
a) Make investments in European companies
b) Make investments in African companies
c) Make investments in Canadian retailers
d) Hold Fairfax’s property and casualty insurance operations
e) Acquire more fried-chicken restaurants

Answer: B) Make investments in African companies

28 “I got [the staff] to wear jeans on Fridays. You have no idea how much of a cultural shift that is.” Who said it?
a) Royal Bank CEO Dave McKay
b) Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO Joseph Papa
c) Globe and Mail editor-in-chief David Walmsley
d) BlackBerry CEO John Chen
e) Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz
f) Suncor CEO Steve Williams

Answer: E) Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz

29 The signing of a free-trade deal between Canada and the European Union was briefly held up in October when which government demanded changes to it?
a) The Belgian region of Wallonia
b) The Swiss canton of Fribourg
c) The Dutch province of Gelderland
d) The French region of Pays de la Loire
e) The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia
f) The Romanian region of Transylvania

Answer: A) Wallonia

30 What is the name of the bank that recently had to be rescued by the Italian government?
a) Banca Monte dei Pesce di Siena
b) Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena
c) Banca Monte dei Pasta di Siena
d) Banca Monte dei Joe Pesci
e) Intesa Sanpaolo
f) Banca Monte dei

Answer: B) Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena

How well did you remember 2016?

Answer all of the questions to see your result
Top score – you’ve got the business acumen of Warren Buffett
Middle of the class! Like the Bank of Canada’s key interest rate, you’re holding steady
You fell almost as much as the pound sterling after Brexit