Category Archives: Views

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Defusing share buyback anxiety

Investors are watching closely to see how companies deploy their cash, wary of schemes that inflate executive pay. But it needn’t be stressful, as long as boards get a few things right
By Ken Hugessen
With Michelle Tan and John Skinner
October 11th, 2016

The challenges of prioritizing long-term value creation over short-term returns has intensified in recent years and now impacts a wide range of topics, including executive compensation. The significant increase in share buyback activity in the U.S. (US$166 billion in the … Continue reading

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How to avoid pitfalls in CEO succession

Managing and mitigating leadership risk through the hiring of the right CEO is the board’s No. 1 job. A thorough process, alert to bias, fills the bill
By John Caldwell
October 11th, 2016

Witnessing the 2016 U.S. election campaigns from north of the 49th parallel brings a whole new meaning to leadership risk. Bizarrely, 24 months of intense campaigning and billions of dollars later, the U.S. electorate will choose their leader from two … Continue reading

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Good quarterly earnings releases pay dividends

Observe the three Cs of a great earnings release—clarity, context and consistency—and your reporting will be remembered for the right reasons, even if your actual results are best left forgotten
By Chaya Cooperberg
October 10th, 2016

Writing an effective earnings announcement is challenging enough when financial results meet expectations, and abjectly painful when management needs to explain a miss or temper its outlook. No wonder these documents come under such scrutiny: CEOs and CFOs labour over … Continue reading

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Brexit: should we care in Canada?

The immediate impact of the Brexit vote on UK, European and world economies has been largely negative. But when it comes to the long-term implications here, expectations vary with the viewpoint
By Robert Olsen
With Andrew Luetchford and Paddy Farrant
October 10th, 2016

On June 23rd, the electorate of the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, opting for “Brexit.” The impact on the global economy has been predominantly negative, and Canada has not been immune. In the aftermath … Continue reading

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Bringing investor relations into the boardroom

As boards—not to mention regulators and other stakeholders—put greater emphasis on board diversity and shareholder engagement, the need for IR professionals at the table is growing
By Chaya Cooperberg
August 1st, 2016

Here’s a question for boards to consider: is it time to add an investor relations expert to your slate? IROs are indeed starting to take on director roles in corporate North America, and with good reason. In this era of … Continue reading

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Setting pay through strategic transitions

Establishing performance standards and setting and managing executive pay is never easy. But what happens in a period of structural change? How do boards measure a moving target?
By Ken Hugessen
With Guillaume Poulin and Erin Poeta
August 1st, 2016

Over the last few years, many traditional business models have been threatened by obsolescence, including, to name a few, travel agencies, print media and more recently, coal-fired power plants. Boards and management teams in such sectors are often faced with … Continue reading

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Simplifying the risk universe for boards

Philosophers can see the universe in a single grain of sand. An effective corporate board should be able to lay out its risk universe on a single sheet of paper
By John Caldwell
August 1st, 2016

Enterprise risk is an entangled subject with no shortage of complexities. And many risk-management systems have evolved unwittingly into mind-numbing risk-register spreadsheets, stoplight charts that would rival any Manhattan rush hour, and obligatory mitigation plans with more form that actionable … Continue reading

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Don’t say they didn’t warn you

In the face of stepped up anti-corruption laws in Canada, the U.S. and the UK, companies have no excuse for not proactively managing their corruption risk
By Poonam Puri
With Melanie Shishler
August 1st, 2016

This past March, Canadian health sciences firm Nordion Inc. settled charges under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for lacking sufficient internal controls to detect and prevent bribes paid by a former employee to Russian government officials. Nordion settled with … Continue reading

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Divestitures: look before you list

Selling a company is a big step for anyone, be it a family business owner or a private equity firm. So what separates deals that succeed from those that fail? Often, it’s the planning that’s done before taking the business to market
By Robert Olsen
With Adam Brown and Brian McKenzie
August 1st, 2016

Whenever we see articles on M&A, the typical focus is the number and dollar value of successful deals closed versus the previous year. However, much less is written about the number of divestitures that are planned but don’t close, or … Continue reading

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Private equity primed for moves in energy

Billions earmarked for energy investments are piling up on the sidelines. Meanwhile, the longer energy prices languish, the more producer and oil-service firms’ coffers dry up. It’s setting up the kind of scenario where PE shines
By Robert Olsen
With Andrew Luetchford and John Hague
May 30th, 2016

There has been a lot of talk since the oil crisis began about the interest of private equity investors in the sector, and their ability to fill the capital gap required to restart the energy engine in Western Canada. Private … Continue reading

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IR: a lifeline in hard times

As companies in our energy economy struggle for survival, everything is on the table. That’s also why there’s a strong case to be made for continuing to invest in investor relations
By Chaya Cooperberg
May 30th, 2016

Last summer, I advertised for a mid-level position on my investor relations team, based in Toronto. The responses rolled in, with the calibre and seniority of applicants higher than I anticipated. More than half of the résumés were from Western … Continue reading

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Rethinking reputational risk

Warren Buffett rightly observed, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Yet even as many directors try to heed those words, boards still miscalculate their reputational exposure
By John Caldwell
May 30th, 2016

According to Deloitte’s 2014 Global Survey on Reputational Risk, 87% of executives surveyed rated reputation risk as more important or much more important than other strategic risks their companies are facing. In addition, 87% say their companies are explicitly focusing … Continue reading

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Dilution for a rainy day

The more commodities drop, the clearer it is which companies factored the strategic risk of a slump into their actions back in the boom. Those that contained costs, built reserves and used equity for expansion then, are riding high today riding out the gloom
By John Caldwell
March 6th, 2016

On September 26, 2012, gold was trading at US$1,778.00 per ounce, close to its all-time high. That same day, silver was at US$33.93 an ounce and a pound of copper was US$3.74. Fast-forward 39 months to the start of this … Continue reading

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Parents’ subsidiary liabilities hit home

Hudbay, Nevsun, Chevron...multiple Canadian resource companies are now facing suits in Canadian courts for the actions of their offshore subsidiaries. It’s time other firms took steps to address their own risk
By Poonam Puri
With Luis Sarabia
March 6th, 2016

In 2013, a group of indigenous Guatemalan plaintiffs commenced legal proceedings against Canadian mining giant Hudbay Minerals Inc. (TSX:HBM), alleging that security personnel hired by Hudbay’s wholly owned subsidiary in Guatemala perpetrated violent human rights abuses when carrying out security … Continue reading

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Looking back on the year ahead

Wherein we embark on a short, time-traveling leap to the end of 2016 to take a look back at what went down—or up—in the mining sector in the year that was...or soon might be
By Robert Olsen
With Jeremy South
March 6th, 2016

Have you had enough of bad news in the mining sector and predictions for more of the same for the rest of 2016? Ever find yourself wishing you could just hit a switch and fast-forward another year? You’re not alone. … Continue reading

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