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ADVISOR FOCUS - a newsletter from
28 Oct 2004

Current Issue | Subscribe to Advisor Focus | Back Issues

SPOTLIGHT: The Uproar over Contingency Fees

  • Has U.S. Insurance Business Changed for Good? space
    Their names seem innocuous enough: placement service agreements, market service agreements or contingency fees. But U.S. federal and state regulators argue that these arrangements are little more than kickbacks -- secret rewards for steering business to a particular insurer.  Barrie McKenna looks at the background to the current scandal.
  • Insurers Bow to Pressure to Disclose Commissions space
    The property and casualty insurance industry has agreed, at the urging of the Ontario government, to disclose commission compensation to the public in the wake of a controversy over hidden payments to brokers.  Karen Howlett and Paul Waldie have the scoop.

Plus: Insurers Getting Dragged out of Disclosure Stone Age

  • Will Eliot Spitzer Trigger Takeovers?
    Maybe Canadian life insurers have got it all wrong. Maybe they should be thanking Eliot Spitzer rather than berating him under their breath as a scandal-mongering politician bent solely on attaining higher office. Sinclair Stewart looks on the bright side.
  • Wise Contrarians Often Look Beyond Scandal
    Before anyone had heard of Eliot Spitzer, before Enron, before Bre-X, there was the great salad oil scandal of 1963. Anthony De Angelis had a plan to make money by exporting vegetable oil to a New Jersey warehouse that happened to be owned by a subsidiary of American Express. Derek DeCloet takes us down memory lane.

Making Amends, Attracting The Right Clients

  • Fund Firms, OSC in Talks for Group Deal
    Four mutual fund companies targeted for potential enforcement action over alleged market-timing violations are in talks with securities regulators aimed at a group settlement that would include restitution to investors. Karen Howlett, Paul Waldie and Keith Damsell look at the details.
  • MFDA Inches Toward Shield
    A fund to protect the interests of mutual fund unitholders is expected to finally see the light of day in April next year, almost three years later than planned. ''It has taken longer than I think all of us expected,'' said Larry Waite, president and chief executive officer of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada. Read Keith Damsell's report.
  • Full Disclosure
    A recent Advocis poll reveals that more than 70 percent of advisors polled are against disclosing what they are paid. More recently, a consulting firm uncovered that advisors are having difficulty attracting and retaining high net worth clients. Dan Hallett sees a connection.

FINANCIAL ADVICE 101: What Your Clients Are Reading

  • A Word of Advice: Get Some
    "Most mutual funds Canadians buy are called A-class funds (the ''A'' is for ''adviser''), in which the dealer who sells the fund is paid for his or her services by the fund itself, in the form of continuing commissions known as trailer fees." David Parkinson gives a quick overview of financial advisers and their services.
  • How To Find a Money Guru
    With a paid-off house, lucrative jobs and $170,000 in cash to invest, Ashley and her husband, Brent, decided recently that they needed a financial adviser. Being engineers with MBAs, they created a list of precise questions and went to work. Rob Carrick describes their search and what happened next.
  • The Trick is to Pay as Little Tax as Possible, Legally
    Someone once said that paying tax was a good problem to have-- it means you're earning money. But it's not what you make that counts. Rather, it's how much you keep that ultimately determines your success. Jim Yih has more.