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Jan 28, 2013

Moody’s cuts ratings of six Canadian lenders

By Cameron French

(Reuters) – Moody’s Investors Service has cut the ratings of six Canadian financial institutions, including the previously “Aaa” rated Toronto-Dominion Bank, due to concerns about rising consumer debt and high housing prices.

TD, the only publicly traded bank that still carried Moody’s top rating, was downgraded, along with Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Bank of Montreal, National Bank of Canada and Caisse Central Desjardins, Canada’s largest association of credit unions, Moody’s said on Monday.

Jan 17, 2013

Low bond yields prompt Sun Life to seek growth

TORONTO, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Low bond yields have taken a
nasty bite out of Sun Life Financial Inc’s profits over
the last few years, but they’re also helping drive the insurer’s
latest push to expand overseas.

With benchmark 10-year yields below 2 percent in both Canada
and the United States, and shorter-term rates even worse, the
insurer can put its cash to work more effectively by investing
in growth, the chief executive of Canada’s third-largest insurer
told Reuters.

Jan 17, 2013

Sun Life, partner to buy Aviva’s Malaysian insurance JV

TORONTO/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Sun Life Financial Inc (SLF.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Malaysian state investor Khazanah will buy Aviva Plc’s (AV.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Malaysian insurance joint venture with lender CIMB Group for 1.8 billion Malaysian ringgit ($597 million) in a deal that will accelerate Sun Life’s push into southeast Asia.

Sun Life, Canada’s third-largest insurer, has targeted the region for expansion due to its rapid growth, high savings rates, and relative underpenetration of insurance products.

Jan 16, 2013

ING Direct to cease broker mortgages, Scotiabank says

TORONTO, Jan 16 (Reuters) – ING Direct Canada will cease
selling mortgages through brokers next month due to overlap with
the larger broker-sourced mortgage business of its parent
company, Bank of Nova Scotia, a bank spokesman said on
Wednesday.

Scotiabank, which has the largest Canadian broker-sourced
mortgage business, bought ING Direct from Dutch lender ING Groep
for C$3.1 billion ($3.15 billion) late last year.

Jan 15, 2013

Analysis: Nortel case spotlights Canada corporate crime record

TORONTO (Reuters) – The acquittal of three former executives of bankrupt telecommunications company Nortel Networks in a high-profile fraud case is an embarrassing loss for Canadian prosecutors that could have a chilling effect on future efforts to pursue white-collar crime.

The telecom equipment manufacturer fired Chief Executive Frank Dunn and top lieutenants Douglas Beatty and Michael Gollogly in 2004 amid an accounting scandal, and they were charged four years later with altering corporate results to trigger lucrative bonuses.

Jan 10, 2013

Canada recommends rate reforms in wake of Libor woes

TORONTO, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Canada should clarify the
criteria used for setting its benchmark rate for banker’s
acceptances and tighten controls to prevent manipulation, a
Canadian regulatory body said in a study spurred by revelations
of the London Interbank Offered Rate rigging scandal.

IIROC, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of
Canada, a self-regulatory body entity that oversees all
investment dealers, launched the review of the Canadian Dealer
Offered Rate (CDOR) in August.

Jan 8, 2013

Big shoes at Canadian banks won’t need filling soon

TORONTO, Jan 8 (Reuters) – The CEOs of Canada’s top two
banks on Tuesday made clear they would not be stepping down in
the immediate future, postponing any expectations of a
generational shift in the country’s banking sector.

Speculation that the country’s large banks would soon be led
by younger people began in earnest in October when Bank of Nova
Scotia, Canada’s No. 3 bank, named longtime executive
Brian Porter as president, making him the heir apparent to Chief
Executive Officer Rick Waugh. Porter is in his mid-50s.

Jan 8, 2013

Scotiabank “can’t wait forever” for Guangzhou deal-CEO

TORONTO, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Bank of Nova Scotia
signaled on Tuesday it is growing increasingly frustrated with
the slow progress of its efforts to close its acquisition of a
20 percent stake in China’s Bank of Guangzhou, and it opened the
door to the possibility the deal might not go through.

Scotiabank, Canada’s No. 3 lender, announced the C$719
million ($728.36 million) transaction in September 2011,
predicting at the time the deal would close at the end of that
year.

Jan 4, 2013

Canada to invest C$250 mln in auto industry

OAKVILLE, Ontario, Jan 4 (Reuters) – Canada will invest
C$250 million ($253.69 million) in the country’s auto industry,
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday, as Ottawa tries to
encourage private sector investment and create manufacturing
jobs.

Harper announced a five-year extension to the Automotive
Innovation Fund, which was set up in 2008 to provide government
support to research and development projects in Canada’s
automotive sector.

Dec 17, 2012

Sun Life sells U.S. annuity business, shares drop

TORONTO, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Sun Life Financial Inc
will sell its U.S. annuity business for $1.35 billion to a firm
connected to Guggenheim Partners in a deal that should reduce
the exposure of the insurer’s earnings to market swings and
boost its cash levels.

While the deal could bring long-term benefits to Sun Life,
whose earnings have been derailed by wild market swings during
recent years, investors pulled the company’s shares down by
nearly 4 percent as the financial terms fell short of initial
expectations.