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Top Stories

Embracing the F-word

That’s “F” as in fintech, shorthand for the emerging array of digital financial services, technologies and startup companies racing to hand the banking sector its “Uber” moment. The banks? They’re running just as hard to prevent it
By Jonathan Woods
August 2nd, 2016

Somewhere in an office in downtown Toronto, standing beside a ping-pong table, young engineers and software developers in jeans arrange multicoloured sticky notes on whiteboards outlining the next steps in the refinement of a digital mortgage application service. You would … Continue reading

Is your board MIA on HR?

Directors talk a good game on CEO succession. But when it comes to strategic oversight of human capital—the most important intangible asset most companies possess—too many boards are missing in action. In this excerpt from a new book, The Handbook of Board Governance, edited by Listed contributing editor Richard Leblanc, two leading researchers outline the problem and propose a way forward
By Jay A. Conger and Edward E. Lawler III
August 2nd, 2016

It is a time-honoured adage that CEOs often repeat: “People are our greatest asset,” but is it more than talk? Probably not. Research confirms the adage, showing a linkage between superior human capital management practices and superior organizational performance. In … Continue reading

A helping handbook

An ambitious new volume, edited by Listed contributing editor Richard Leblanc, explores the state of play and state of the art in board governance
By Listed staff
August 2nd, 2016

What do you get when you combine 50 world-calibre governance researcher and practitioner authors, from eight countries, writing on the latest trends, regulations and emerging best practices in corporate governance? The Handbook of Board Governance, a new 39-chapter collection, edited … Continue reading

Showing the way

Insider: Deborah Gillis
August 2nd, 2016

Who Deborah Gillis, president and CEO of Catalyst. Gillis, a Canadian, became the first non-American head of the New York-based, global organization in 2013. Catalyst champions gender diversity and the advancement of women on boards of directors and in the … Continue reading

Who wins the battle? Who wins the war?

Resolute may be just a name, but Canada’s largest newsprint producer is living up to the meaning of the moniker in its determination to challenge both its biggest environmental critics and a global certifier of sustainable forestry
By John Greenwood
August 1st, 2016

Given the growing shift in public support for the environmental movement, it’s not surprising that resource companies generally prefer to avoid disputes with the greens. Even energy giants like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, formerly climate change … Continue reading

How to use your network to get on a board

If board headhunters don’t find you, how do director-to-be hopefuls find a board? By all means tap into your network, but do your homework first
By Beverly Behan
August 1st, 2016

Only about half of board searches for public companies involve the use of headhunters. So, where does the other half find their new directors? A few go into databases at the Institute of Corporate Directors or Board Prospects—or if they’re … Continue reading

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Ticker

Who wins the battle? Who wins the war?

Resolute may be just a name, but Canada’s largest newsprint producer is living up to the meaning of the moniker in its determination to challenge both its biggest environmental critics and a global certifier of sustainable forestry
By John Greenwood
August 1st, 2016

Given the growing shift in public support for the environmental movement, it’s not surprising that resource companies generally prefer to avoid disputes with the greens. Even energy giants like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, formerly climate change … Continue reading

Find an edge? Or just hedge?

Canadian business weighs the options as Brexit vote turmoil gives way to long-term strategizing
By Paul Brent
August 1st, 2016

It was a heedless gamble that cost a sitting Prime Minister his job, prompted the resignation of another party leader and a revolt against a third, has cast a pall over the world’s fifth-largest economy and thrown trade treaties and … Continue reading

Nasdaq stokes Canadian expectations

Buying Chi-X Canada was just the start. A suite of follow-on deals and Nasdaq’s announcement of plans to enter the dark pool market have many in Canada’s trading and listing community anticipating what’s to come
By Jim Middlemiss
May 30th, 2016

From the moment Nasdaq Inc. cemented its arrival into Canada last December with the $US110-million purchase of Chi-X Canada and its 22% share of the order flow of S&P/TSX Composite securities, expectations of a shake-up in the country’s trading and … Continue reading

What happens offshore…winds up onshore

Fallout from the massive Panama Papers leaks has been predictably and justifiably widespread. It’s also emboldened regulators and cleared a path for new rules and a stepped-up war on tax evaders
By Ken Mark
May 30th, 2016

The recent Panama Papers data breach is to hiding ill-gotten gains in tax havens what last year’s Ashley Madison website leak is to arranging extramarital affairs close to home. If you were named in the latter, however, not much could … Continue reading

Road show to renewal

Facing a long decline in its business, the TSX Venture Exchange kicked off 2016 by publishing details of a major “revitalization” plan. Then it took its pledge of savings and simplification on a cross-country, town-hall tour. Audiences listened. But will the business return?
By Brian Banks
March 4th, 2016

Imagine a prototypical issuer. Call him Issuer XYZ. Issuer XYZ runs a small TSX-V junior resources company that, like so many in recent years, is barely scraping by. He’s worked an angle on a modest deal, pays the exchange the … Continue reading

Move mountains? Easy. Boost diversity? Oof!

It’s proxy season for many Canadian issuers, and that means the second year of “comply or explain” disclosure on diversity. In year one, mining companies lagged with the most male-only boards. Will anything change in year two?
By Brenda Bouw
March 4th, 2016

Alex Johnston has seen a dramatic change in the conversations she’s been having about the lack of women leaders in the mining industry. Five or six years ago, when the now former executive director of women’s advocacy group Catalyst Canada … Continue reading

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Views

Successful M&A hinges on board discipline

A rigorous framework for board oversight of M&A can help companies boost their chances of dealmaking success—and, just as importantly, steer clear of flawed transactions that leave acquirers in the hole
By John Caldwell
December 15th, 2015

“Opportunity,” “uncertainty” and “risk” are three words that go hand-in-hand when considering a mergers and acquisition strategy. While acquisitions can offer unique opportunities for growth and add significant long-term value, they are by nature complex and fraught with risk. Typical … Continue reading

Board reform: the writing on the wall

Provincial securities regulators are calling out boards for their inadequate response to new policies on diversity and term limits. Directors can keep doing nothing, but they shouldn’t be surprised by what happens next
By Richard Leblanc
December 15th, 2015

When a regulator advises corporate directors that progress on gender diversity is “simply not good enough,” as OSC chair Howard Wetston did this summer, that is code that the status quo will not continue, and that more regulation may result. … Continue reading

Venture debt: get it while it’s hot

Once an extreme niche product, venture debt is on the rise in the start-up sector. Does it have the potential to be a mainstay of venture company capital structures? Or will the current surge be short-lived?
By Robert Olsen
December 15th, 2015

According to traditional corporate finance logic, the best way to fund a seasoned business opportunity is to use and exhaust the cheapest, most available capital first, and move through the next most attractive capital options sequentially. However, such an approach … Continue reading

Will we always have Paris?

After 20 years of international negotiations to cut greenhouse gas emissions, with one aging protocol to show, talks among nations face a critical climax this December in France. New climate legislation and a brake on global warming hang in the balance
By Sandra Odendahl
October 12th, 2015

In December, hundreds of delegates and thousands more will gather in Paris, France for the 21st Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The goal of the Paris conference, known as COP21, is to adopt … Continue reading

Bad strategy or execution? How to know which

Your company rolled out a big, new initiative, results are underwhelming and the board needs to know what happened: time for some advanced metrics
By John Caldwell
October 11th, 2015

Most directors understand that the cornerstone to achieving shareholder value is effective formulation and execution of strategy. Boards typically spend considerable time in overseeing strategy formulation yet many fall short, after the fact, in allocating sufficient time and using appropriate … Continue reading

Long-term compensation alternatives

Stock options are out of favour and the best-known alternatives aren’t really long-term at all. When it comes to executive pay, what’s a long-term oriented board to do? Try these ideas on for size
By Ken Hugessen
October 11th, 2015

Corporate boards and management teams of public issuers often bemoan the challenge of making effective long-term strategic business decisions in the face of short-term pressure from financial markets and investors to deliver quarterly results. Recently, however, there has been growing … Continue reading

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Features

Embracing the F-word

That’s “F” as in fintech, shorthand for the emerging array of digital financial services, technologies and startup companies racing to hand the banking sector its “Uber” moment. The banks? They’re running just as hard to prevent it
By Jonathan Woods
August 2nd, 2016

Somewhere in an office in downtown Toronto, standing beside a ping-pong table, young engineers and software developers in jeans arrange multicoloured sticky notes on whiteboards outlining the next steps in the refinement of a digital mortgage application service. You would … Continue reading

Is your board MIA on HR?

Directors talk a good game on CEO succession. But when it comes to strategic oversight of human capital—the most important intangible asset most companies possess—too many boards are missing in action. In this excerpt from a new book, The Handbook of Board Governance, edited by Listed contributing editor Richard Leblanc, two leading researchers outline the problem and propose a way forward
By Jay A. Conger and Edward E. Lawler III
August 2nd, 2016

It is a time-honoured adage that CEOs often repeat: “People are our greatest asset,” but is it more than talk? Probably not. Research confirms the adage, showing a linkage between superior human capital management practices and superior organizational performance. In … Continue reading

Now heed this!

Canada’s top courts continually make critical rulings that set and clarify laws for business conduct. Here’s our exclusive look at the most influential of those decisions from the past year
By Jim Middlemiss
August 2nd, 2016

Welcome to Listed’s annual ranking of the six most important Canadian high court rulings from the past year. This exclusive selection, based on an informal survey of top Canadian lawyers and legal watchers, identifies the cases with the biggest potential … Continue reading

You gotta own it

Why culture, not compliance, is the key to making diversity stick—and to helping companies realize its full potential
By Robert Thompson
May 30th, 2016

Nancy Hopkins has witnessed shifts in a company’s culture firsthand. A lawyer at McDougall Gauley in Saskatoon, Hopkins was a female pioneer almost a quarter-century ago when she took a posting to the board of directors of uranium miner Cameco … Continue reading

Something new under the sun

These are boom times in solar power. But deals are moving so quickly, some of the world’s top manufacturers are getting crushed. Not Canadian Solar. What’s keeping it above the fray—and out of the headlines?
By John Greenwood
May 30th, 2016

The sprawling, low-rise industrial building in a business park on the outskirts of Guelph, Ont., about an hour’s drive west of Toronto, is pretty much indistinguishable from its neighbours, except for the higher flow of cars and trucks moving in … Continue reading

The end of coal?

Face it. Even putting a question mark on that headline is just a technicality. As long as the world needs steel, there will be a cyclical market for metallurgical coal. But when it comes to the business of mining, moving and burning coal for energy, its demise is no longer a matter of if, but when
By John Greenwood
March 4th, 2016

It had been a brutal quarter for Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TCK.B) and Don Lindsay, the chief executive, speaking on a scheduled earnings call with analysts in late October was doing his best to put a bright face on things. Although … Continue reading

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The Director's Chair

Shann Turnbull: How good is “good” governance?

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: Don’t let the friendly appearance fool you. Shann Turnbull’s best ideas have the power to bust up a boardroom
May 30th, 2016

Most doctorates awarded to business leaders with lengthy careers are of the honourary kind. Not Australia’s Shann Turnbull’s. His 2000 PhD thesis proposed a science of governance inspired, in part, by communication in nature. A prolific thinker and reformer, with … Continue reading

Jim Carter: Do you buy value, or build it?

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: Jim Carter may sit on four boards, in different sectors, but when it comes to creating value and long-term success, his measuring stick stays the same: get the culture right and results will follow
March 4th, 2016

Mining executives and directors, Jim Carter feels your pain. The former president of Syncrude Canada, now a director on four corporate boards—Finning International, Brand Energy, Alberta Treasury Branch Financial and Irving Oil—has navigated his share of industry slumps, and his … Continue reading

Helen Kearns: Purpose, process…results

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: An accomplished wealth manager, financial markets executive and veteran director, Helen Kearns has relied on a disciplined, strategic, long-term approach to create lasting value in every role
December 14th, 2015

With an exemplary career in wealth management and capital market finance, Helen Kearns, president and CEO of Bell Kearns & Associates Ltd., not only knows as much as anyone about making and managing money, but also how to anticipate and repel setbacks … Continue reading

Mike Wilson: Out of the fray, still in the fire

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: He had a long executive career, culminating in a decade as president and CEO of Agrium. Now Mike Wilson is bringing it as a non-executive director on four boards
October 10th, 2015

If you need any testimony to Mike Wilson’s knowledge, experience, boardroom savvy and the high esteem in which he’s held by his peers, consider that within a year of retiring as president and CEO of Agrium Inc. at the end … Continue reading

Bill Achtmeyer: Artisan of the deal

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: A conversation with Boston-based Bill Achtmeyer serves up an advanced class in M&A strategy and execution
July 26th, 2015

After decades of M&A advisory experience, first with Bain & Co., then as founder, chair and managing partner of the Parthenon Group, plus a distinguished director career, Bill Achtmeyer has an acute, board’s-eye view of M&A. Here, in conversation with … Continue reading

Paul Myners: The issue is ownership

In The Director’s Chair with David W. Anderson: As one of the UK’s most influential leaders on corporate governance, Paul Myners has a challenge for his peers: why haven’t their many reforms penetrated practice?
May 13th, 2015

Paul Myners has résumé enough for three or four successful careers. One-time publisher of The Guardian newspaper, former City Minister in the government’s finance ministry, current fund company chair and partner as well as chair of the Court and Council … Continue reading

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Handbook

A helping handbook

An ambitious new volume, edited by Listed contributing editor Richard Leblanc, explores the state of play and state of the art in board governance
By Listed staff
August 2nd, 2016

What do you get when you combine 50 world-calibre governance researcher and practitioner authors, from eight countries, writing on the latest trends, regulations and emerging best practices in corporate governance? The Handbook of Board Governance, a new 39-chapter collection, edited … Continue reading

As go home values, so goes the economy. But why?

Many agree with Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz when he says big-city house prices are too high. Even so, there are two different schools of thought—with wildly different outcomes—on how to handle the issue
By Ian McGugan
August 1st, 2016

Across the street from my family’s modest Toronto house, workers are building a condo tower. From Monday through Friday, the rumble of dump trucks and clank of bulldozers punctuates our breakfast. Mind you, we’re not unusual: the creaky clatter of … Continue reading

How to use your network to get on a board

If board headhunters don’t find you, how do director-to-be hopefuls find a board? By all means tap into your network, but do your homework first
By Beverly Behan
August 1st, 2016

Only about half of board searches for public companies involve the use of headhunters. So, where does the other half find their new directors? A few go into databases at the Institute of Corporate Directors or Board Prospects—or if they’re … Continue reading

Sorry shouldn’t be the hardest word

Executives are trained, conditioned and typically believe its their job to stick to a positive script. But when an apology is called for, the good ones get it right
By Ken Mark
August 1st, 2016

It might no longer fall into the category of “things they never taught me at business school,” but there’s no doubt the art of the public apology for corporate wrongdoing, failure, error or just plain stupidity still doesn’t get the … Continue reading

Taking back the dialogue

The ICD’s new guide to director-shareholder engagement is more than a helpful how-to. In encouraging Canadian boards to initiate dialogue with shareholders, it also signals a shift from defence to offence. With directors no longer back on their heels, where do meetings with shareholders go next?
By Paul Brent
May 30th, 2016

The Canadian Coalition for Good Governance didn’t invent board-shareholder dialogue. But in 2009, the CCGG’s decision to start arranging meetings with the boards of large public companies in which its institutional investor supporters had significant holdings, marked the beginning of … Continue reading

Two words: revenue neutral

National action on carbon emissions is coming. It’s expected, it’s needed and rather than fight it, smart businesses should weigh in on the discussion to help create the best outcome
By Ian McGugan
May 30th, 2016

Should Ottawa tax carbon emissions? British Columbia already imposes a levy on greenhouse gas emitters and Alberta will begin doing so next year. Meanwhile, Quebec forms part of a cap-and-trade system with California, and will soon be joined by Ontario … Continue reading

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Economy

As go home values, so goes the economy. But why?

Many agree with Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz when he says big-city house prices are too high. Even so, there are two different schools of thought—with wildly different outcomes—on how to handle the issue
By Ian McGugan
August 1st, 2016

Across the street from my family’s modest Toronto house, workers are building a condo tower. From Monday through Friday, the rumble of dump trucks and clank of bulldozers punctuates our breakfast. Mind you, we’re not unusual: the creaky clatter of … Continue reading

Two words: revenue neutral

National action on carbon emissions is coming. It’s expected, it’s needed and rather than fight it, smart businesses should weigh in on the discussion to help create the best outcome
By Ian McGugan
May 30th, 2016

Should Ottawa tax carbon emissions? British Columbia already imposes a levy on greenhouse gas emitters and Alberta will begin doing so next year. Meanwhile, Quebec forms part of a cap-and-trade system with California, and will soon be joined by Ontario … Continue reading

Will the giants inherit the earth?

Grim as the economics of mining and minerals are for everyone right now, looking ahead, things are lining up strongly in favour of the industry’s biggest players. Expect them to dominate increasingly large swaths of the business for years to come
By Ian McGugan
March 4th, 2016

After four years of relentlessly bad news, the one bright spot for the mining industry in 2016 is that there are no high hopes left to disappoint. The compelling question that hangs over the sector is no longer how bad … Continue reading

How our new PM can help grow the economy

Generations of rhetoric notwithstanding, Canadian prime ministers don’t have that many tools at their disposal to boost economic growth. So here are three ideas to get Justin Trudeau started
By Ian McGugan
December 15th, 2015

You should feel sorry for federal politicians—at least during elections and just afterward. It’s then that these would-be leaders are forced to stand up and pretend they possess the magic formula to generate prosperity. Of course, their hopeful rhetoric often … Continue reading

Global economy down, but far from out

Regional gridlock and wobbles in China prompt legitimate fears. But when the two biggest inputs for business—money and energy—are as cheap as they are today, growth should prevail
By Ian McGugan
October 10th, 2015

Let’s acknowledge the obvious. With Canada at least technically in a recession, China slowing and Europe trapped in political gridlock, business leaders in this country have good reason to be worried about the outlook for the world economy over the … Continue reading

Chasing prosperity? Or votes?

Why is a balanced federal budget like a picnic? Because neither is responsible for what their promoters promise—be it economic well-being or a sunny, summer day
By Ian McGugan
July 24th, 2015

Balanced budgets are what pass for sexy among a certain swath of the electorate—most notably the part that votes Conservative. Hence it’s no big surprise that the federal Tories pulled out all stops this spring to announce their first balanced … Continue reading

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Insider

Showing the way

Insider: Deborah Gillis
August 2nd, 2016

Who Deborah Gillis, president and CEO of Catalyst. Gillis, a Canadian, became the first non-American head of the New York-based, global organization in 2013. Catalyst champions gender diversity and the advancement of women on boards of directors and in the … Continue reading

Agenda: sustainability

Insider: Annette Verschuren
May 30th, 2016

Who Annette Verschuren, chair and CEO of NRStor Inc., a Toronto-based energy storage project developer and owner. Verschuren also sits as a director on the boards of Air Canada (TSX:AC), Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ); Saputo Inc. (TSX:SAP) and Liberty … Continue reading

It’s buying time [again]

Insider: Ross Beaty
March 4th, 2016

Who: Ross Beaty, founder and chairman of Pan American Silver Corp. (TSX:PAA), founder and executive chairman of renewable energy company Alterra Power Corp. (TSX:AXY) and a lauded geologist and lawyer with 40-plus years of mining industry experience. Involvement: Beaty has … Continue reading

Growing public

Insider: Anton Rabie
December 14th, 2015

Who Anton Rabie, co-CEO Spin Master Corp. (TSX:TOY), a Toronto-based children’s toys, games and entertainment company. Spin Master’s best-known brands include Bakugan and Air Hogs; its latest TV series, Paw Patrol, is broadcast in over 160 countries. Rabie co-founded Spin … Continue reading

ROI meets ESG

Insider: Michael Jantzi
October 10th, 2015

Who Michael Jantzi, CEO of Sustainalytics, a leading Amsterdam-headquartered, global ESG and corporate governance research, ratings and analysis firm. Jantzi founded Jantzi Research in Toronto in 1992 and merged it with Sustainalytics in 2009. Involvement In August, Sustainalytics announced a … Continue reading

Leading in

Insider: Linda Hasenfratz
July 24th, 2015

Who Linda Hasenfratz, chief executive officer and a director of Linamar Corp. (TSX:LNR) of Guelph, Ont., a position she has held since 2002. Linamar, ranked 31st among the top 100 automotive parts suppliers in North America, also has operations in … Continue reading

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