Origins of Canadian Banking

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 triggered a worldwide recession. The American and European banking systems experienced massive losses, takeovers, and taxpayer-funded bailouts.  Lehman Brothers, Northern Rock, European debt crisis, … and the after-effects are still being felt. Canada’s banking system did have some shaky moments, as a recently published analysis of its asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP) predicament showed. On the whole, however, Canada’s banks withstood the financial crisis relatively well and the financial system maintained its liquidity, solvency, and profitability.   The history of the divergence in the Canadian and American banking systems is recounted in a new book. From […]

Pain of Payment for … the First Date

This concludes the interview with Professor Avni Shah regarding consumer behaviour and the connection we feel to the stuff we buy. And, possibly, to the people we buy it for. Click here to read the first half of the interview. Q: Did you look at other aspects of the connection? I said, let’s see how long this effect persists. I got data for the years 2004 to 2013 from an alumni association. What I was interested in is how alums make donations: by cheque versus card. Cheque feels more painful because you have to write out that amount. I wondered […]

Pain of Payment for … Coffee

“Me? Why do I have to pay for the falafels? I barely have two dollars to rub together,” said Morty. Tuesday is the two-for-one special at our local take-out Mediterranean shop. “Take it from me—you’ll enjoy them more!” I said, tapping the article I had just been reading in the New York Times. In a nutshell, it reported on new research in the Journal of Consumer Research that said having some difficulty in payment increased the consumer’s connection with the item purchased. He grabbed the section to read while we wolfed down our falafels.  “You’ve gotta interview these people,” he […]


What does the client want to see on the landing page of an automated wealth management website?  Four panellists at the digital wealth management (a.k.a. robo-advisor) session of the Financial Technology conference held on June 17, 2016, had theories on how to connect with clients. The session was part of a one-day conference organized by the CFA Society Toronto and was held at the Toronto Board of Trade. Three of the panellists showed screen shots from their companies’ websites and spoke about underlying philosophies on client usage; the fourth panellist works for a company that provides “back end”, namely, the […]

“Deal With It”

When it comes to technology advances in the fixed income markets in Canada, “peer-to-peer still needs some work,” said Robert Pemberton, Head of Fixed Income at TD Asset Management. His company’s client base “runs the gamut from retail right through to large investors.” Approximately two and a half million are mutual fund clients. He was the third of three panellists at a September 18, 2015, luncheon sponsored by the CFA Society Toronto, and held at the Toronto Board of Trade. Participants were commenting on regulatory changes in the fixed income markets announced the day before. Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) will […]

“A Step in the Right Direction”

“The new regulation is a solid step in the right direction,” said Steve Thom, Managing Director at RBC Capital Markets, referring to the September 17 announcement by Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) on a new reporting system. “The new regulation will increase price transparency, which is important for investors to be able to make more informed decisions. This is a good thing,” said Thom, “but the big thing is size.” He was the second of three panellists at a luncheon, sponsored by the CFA Society Toronto on September 18, 2015, to discuss changes in the fixed income markets. However, “full size transparency would […]

Fairness in Fixed-Income Markets

What are the essential building blocks of market integrity? Information, and fair access to that information. Transparency, but not onerous transparency. “There was a lack of fixed-income data, and large investors had better access to data,” said Ruxandra Smith, Senior Accountant at the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), the first of three speakers at a luncheon sponsored by the CFA Society Toronto on changes in the fixed income markets in Canada. The event was held at the Toronto Board of Trade on September 18, 2015. Smith was referring to hot-button issues identified in the April 2015 report on the Canadian fixed […]

“Well Worth The Trouble”

How well positioned are you for the job market in a softening economic environment? Possessing the chartered financial analyst designation, known as the CFA charter, sends a strong signal to potential employers, said Chris Polson, President of the CFA Society Toronto, which is part of the global CFA Institute.  He was speaking at the webinar “Capital Markets Compensation Trends” on August 11, 2015, sponsored by CFA Society Toronto. The goals of the webinar were twofold: to recap the value underlying the charterholder designation, and whether this was reflected in the remuneration of Canadian charterholders, as shown by the results of […]

Old Dog, New Tricks. List of Tricks

The following are a dozen helpful things I learned at a day-long seminar “The Power of Excel – Part 2,” held on location at the offices of the CFA Society of Toronto on June 10, 2015. The seminar was conducted by Jon Zelman of The Marquee Group. 1. Resist the Mouse 2. Best shortcut of the day 3. ALT-ernative Existence 4. If you filter, use SUBTOTAL, not SUM 5. To count the number of visible rows 6. Searching with multiple conditions 7. D is for Database function 8. “Exact” string matching versus “includes” 9. Multiple conditions for SUMIF 10. Weed out bad parameters early with Data Validation 11. Match and Index functions complement […]

Old Dog, New Tricks. 11 & 12

11.      Match and Index functions complement each other “The INDEX function is one of the most powerful but also one of the most complex functions in Excel,” Zelman said. Both INDEX and MATCH are Lookup functions in Excel, so whatever comfort you have with VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP will be useful here. Big picture: you use MATCH to find the coordinates, and you use INDEX to apply the coordinates to find a value. The Match function returns the relative position of an item within a column of data (or a row of data). The syntax is MATCH(lookup_value, Lookup_vector, Match_type). Note I […]