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Found 21 results

  1. "Waiting in the wings is a new tech incubator in downtown Montreal...unveiled Dec 1" I wonder what they're referring to? http://montrealgazette.com/business/millions-in-funding-available-for-up-and-coming-businesses Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  2. Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- New York’s biggest banks and securities firms may relinquish 8 million square feet of office space this year, deepening the worst commercial property slump in more than a decade as they abandon a record amount of property. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and industry rivals have vacated 4.6 million feet, a figure that may climb by another 4 million as businesses leave or sublet space they no longer need, according CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., the largest commercial property broker. Banks, brokers and insurers have fired more than 177,000 employees in the Americas as the recession and credit crisis battered balance sheets. Financial services firms occupy about a quarter of Manhattan’s 362 million square feet of office space and account for almost 40 percent now available for sublease, CB Richard Ellis data show. “Entire segments of the industry are gone,” said Marisa Di Natale, a senior economist at Moody’s Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “We’re talking about the end of 2012 before things actually start to turn up again for the New York office market.” The amount of available space may reach 15.6 percent by the end of the year, the most since 1996, according to Los Angeles- based CB Richard Ellis. Vacancies are already the highest since 2004 and rents are down 5 percent, the biggest drop in at least two decades. In 2003, the city had 14.8 million square feet available for sublease. If financial firms give up as much as CB Richard Ellis expects, that record will be broken. ‘Wild Card’ CB Richard Ellis’s figures don’t include any space Bank of America may relinquish at the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan, where Merrill Lynch & Co., the securities firm it acquired last month, occupies 2.8 million square feet. Brookfield Properties Inc., the second-biggest owner of U.S. office buildings by square footage, owns the Financial Center. Merrill “is a wild card right now,” said Robert Stella, principal at Boston-based real estate brokerage CresaPartners. Manhattan’s availability rate -- vacancies plus occupied space that is on the market -- was 12.3 percent at the end of January, up more than 50 percent compared with a year earlier and almost 9 percent from December, according to CB Richard Ellis. Commercial real estate prices dropped almost 15 percent last year, more than U.S. house prices, Moody’s Investors Service said in a Feb. 19 report. The decline returned values to 2005 levels, according to the Moody’s/REAL Commercial Property Price Indexes. SL Green The Bloomberg Office REIT Index fell 25 percent since the start of January, with SL Green Realty, the biggest owner of Manhattan skyscrapers, slumping 50 percent. Vornado Realty Trust, whose buildings include One and Two Penn Plaza in Midtown, has fallen 36 percent. SL Green of New York gets 41 percent of its revenue from financial firms, including 13 percent from Citigroup, according to its Web site. Bank of America plans to give up 530,000 square feet at 9 West 57th St. as it completes a move to 1 Bryant Park. New York- based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is leaving 1.3 million square feet of offices at 1 New York Plaza and 77 Water St. as it prepares to move to new headquarters near the World Trade Center site. JPMorgan put 320,000 square feet of Park Avenue offices on the market after scooping up rival Bear Stearns Cos. last year along with the company’s 45-story headquarters tower at 383 Madison Ave. Citigroup has put 11 floors, or 326,000 square feet, on the market at the 59-story Citigroup Center at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street, bank spokesman Jon Diat said in an e-mail. The tower is owned by Mortimer Zuckerman’s Boston Properties Inc. Moving Out “We’ve been having conversations for two and a half years with Citigroup, and it’s been very clear to us that for the right economic transaction, they would move out of virtually any space in midtown Manhattan that they have,” Boston Properties President Douglas Linde said on a conference call last month. Boston Properties is also expecting to receive about 490,000 square feet back from Lehman Brothers at 399 Park Ave. as part of the bank’s liquidation. That space “will be a monumental challenge” to fill, said Michael Knott, senior analyst at Newport Beach, California-based Green Street Advisors. “They’re going to have to really bend over backwards on rate, or make the strategic decision to sit on it for an extended period of time.” Zuckerman said in an interview he doesn’t expect the increase in sublets to be a long-term problem for landlords. “You’re not going to be able to get for the space what you were able to get a year ago,” he said. “But in a year or two, in my judgment, the space will be absorbed.” Future Forecast Landlords must be prepared for a slow recovery, said Di Natale of Moody’s Economy.com. Commercial vacancy rates climbed for almost a year and a half after the last recession ended in late 2001. Still, CB Richard Ellis Tri-State Chairman Robert Alexander said New York’s financial community will regenerate. “In the late ‘80s, we lost Drexel Burnham Lambert and we lost Salomon Brothers, and we lost Thomson McKinnon,” Alexander said. “New York City survived.”
  3. http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/op-ed/Economics+lefties/1633305/story.html
  4. Lawyer exodus shutters Desjardins 35 Lawyers Join Rival Lavery Firm; Quebec's Spun Off Jim Middlemiss, Financial Post Published: Saturday, August 18, 2007 An era will end for the 100-lawyer law firm Desjardins Ducharme LLP in September. The once-esteemed law firm will close after more than 50 years in business. Thirty-five of its key Montreal business lawyers will leave the firm to join rival Lavery, de Billy LLP at the end of next month. Concurrently, the Quebec City office of Desjardins, which comprises 50 lawyers and merged into the firm in 1992, has spun out and will operate under its old name Stein Monast LLP. [/url] Another seven litigators from the Montreal office will join litigation specialist Donati Maisonneuve LLP. The final eight lawyers will either retire or have said they are moving to other firms or into corporations. "We have accounted for everyone," said Gerard Coulombe, chairman of Desjardins, who explained that "Quebec City couldn't join the Lavery deal because it would have created too big a firm[for that region.]" Jean Brunet, managing partner of the Quebec City office, agreed: "You can't have a law firm of 100 lawyers in the area. "We're putting down the principles of how it will work in Quebec City," he said of the new firm, adding that he does not rule out opening a smaller Montreal office. The addition of 35 lawyers to Lavery creates a 180-lawyer firm, making it the largest independent provincial firm. The split is no surprise and has been rumoured for weeks once Desjardins started bleeding lawyers to other firms. "We took a good hard look at the various practices and groups lawyers," said Richard Dolan, managing partner at Lavery, said. "We settled on some very strong, solid business lawyers and bankruptcy and insolvency lawyers who had complementary practices to our practice mix. This is a really exciting business opportunity for us." Lavery has always had strong business in insurance, said Mr. Dolan, "The lawyers are going to bring additional bench strength to our corporate merger and acquisitions practice and the insolvency group." Of late it has been a tough go for some independent law firms, squeezed by the creation of large national firms, especially in Montreal, where several Toronto-based firms have opened offices or merged with local firms. In the spring, Goodman and Carr LLP, a 90-lawyer Toronto firm, said it was dissolving its practice. Kip Cobbett, a lawyer with Stikeman Elliott LLP in Montreal, said it is "very sad" to see Desjardins' demise. "It was a wonderful firm. It will certainly change the landscape." The agreement is subject to a vote by the Lavery partners expected later this month. [email protected]
  5. The French election and business The terror The 75% tax and other alarming campaign promises Apr 7th 2012 | PARIS | from the print edition EUROFINS SCIENTIFIC, a bio-analytics firm, is the sort of enterprise that France boasts about. It is fast-growing, international and hungry to buy rivals. So people noticed when in March it decamped to Luxembourg. Observers reckon it was fleeing France’s high taxes. It will soon be joined by Sword Group, a successful software firm, which voted to move to Luxembourg last month. As France enters the final weeks of its presidential campaign, candidates are competing to promise new measures that would hurt business. François Hollande, the Socialist candidate, and the current favourite to win the second and final round on May 6th, has promised a top marginal income-tax rate of 75% for those earning over €1m ($1.3m). He has declared war on finance. If the Socialists win, he pledges, corporate taxes will rise and stock options will be outlawed. Other countries welcome global firms. “France seems to want to keep them out,” sighs Denis Kessler, the boss of SCOR, a reinsurer. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, an even leftier candidate than Mr Hollande, has been gaining ground. Communists marched to the Bastille on March 18th to support him. The right offers little solace. Nicolas Sarkozy, the incumbent, is unpopular partly because of his perceived closeness to fat cats. To distance himself, he has promised a new tax on French multinationals’ foreign sales. If Mr Hollande wins, he may water down his 75% income-tax rate. But it would be difficult to back away from such a bold, public pledge. And doing business in France is hard enough without such uncertainty. Companies must cope with heavy social charges, intransigent unions and political meddling. The 35-hour work week, introduced in 2000, makes it hard to get things done. Mr Hollande says he will reverse a measure Mr Sarkozy introduced to dilute its impact by exempting overtime pay from income tax and social charges. The 75% income-tax rate is dottier than a pointilliste painting. When other levies are added, the marginal rate would top 90%. In parts of nearby Switzerland, the top rate is around 20%. French firms are already struggling to hire foreign talent. More firms may leave. Armand Grumberg, an expert in corporate relocation at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, a law firm, says that several big companies and rich families are looking at ways to leave France. At a recent lunch for bosses of the largest listed firms, the main topic was how to get out. Investment banks and international law firms would probably be the first to go, as they are highly mobile. Already, the two main listed banks, BNP Paribas and Société Générale, are facing queries from investors about Mr Hollande’s plan to separate their retail arms from investment banking. He has also vowed to hike the corporate tax on banks from 33% to nearly 50%. In January Paris launched a new €120m ($160m) “seed” fund to attract hedge funds. Good luck with that. Last month Britain promised to cut its top tax rate from 50% to 45%. No financial centre comes close to Mr Hollande’s 75% rate (see chart). Large firms will initially find it hard to skedaddle. Those with the status ofsociété anonyme, the most common, need a unanimous vote from shareholders. But the European Union’s cross-border merger directive offers an indirect route: French firms can merge with a foreign company. Big groups also have the option of moving away the substance of their operations, meaning decision-making and research and development. Last year, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, the boss of Schneider Electric, an energy-services company, moved with his top managers to run the firm from Hong Kong (where the top tax rate is 15%). For now, the firm’s headquarters and tax domicile remain in France. But for how long? Pressure to leave could come from foreign shareholders, says Serge Weinberg, the chairman of Sanofi, a drugmaker. “American, German or Middle Eastern shareholders will not tolerate not being able to get the best management because of France’s tax regime,” he says. At the end of 2010, foreign shareholders held 42% of the total value of the firms in the CAC 40, the premier French stock index. That is higher than in many other countries. It is not clear whether the 75% tax rate would apply to capital gains as well as income. As with most of the election campaign’s anti-business pledges, the detail has been left vague. Mr Sarkozy has offered various definitions of what he means by “big companies”, which would have to pay his promised new tax. Some businessfolk therefore hope that the most onerous pledges will be quietly ditched once the election is over. But many nonetheless find the campaign alarming. French politicians not only seem to hate business; they also seem to have little idea how it actually works. The most debilitating effects of all this may be long-term. Brainy youngsters have choices. They can find jobs or set up companies more or less anywhere. The ambitious will risk their savings, borrow money and toil punishing hours to create new businesses that will, in turn, create jobs and new products. But they will not do this for 25% (or less) of the fruits of their labour. Zurich is only an hour away; French politics seem stuck in another century. http://www.economist.com/node/21552219
  6. Wall Street, R.I.P.: The End of an Era, Even at Goldman Article Tools Sponsored By By JULIE CRESWELL and BEN WHITE Published: September 27, 2008 WALL STREET. Two simple words that — like Hollywood and Washington — conjure a world. Goldman Sachs’s headquarters in New York. The company, a golden child of the financial sector, faces a very different future and mission amid seismic changes wrought by the credit crisis. Lloyd C. Blankfein led Goldman’s securities division before becoming chief executive in 2006. A world of big egos. A world where people love to roll the dice with borrowed money. A world of tightwire trading, propelled by computers. In search of ever-higher returns — and larger yachts, faster cars and pricier art collections for their top executives — Wall Street firms bulked up their trading desks and hired pointy-headed quantum physicists to develop foolproof programs. Hedge funds placed markers on red (the Danish krone goes up) or black (the G.D.P. of Thailand falls). And private equity firms amassed giant funds and went on a shopping spree, snapping up companies as if they were second wives buying Jimmy Choo shoes on sale. That world is largely coming to an end. The huge bailout package being debated in Congress may succeed in stabilizing the financial markets. But it is too late to help firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, which have already disappeared. Merrill Lynch, whose trademark bull symbolized Wall Street to many Americans, is being folded into Bank of America, located hundreds of miles from New York, in Charlotte, N.C. For most of the financiers who remain, with the exception of a few superstars, the days of easy money and supersized bonuses are behind them. The credit boom that drove Wall Street’s explosive growth has dried up. Regulators who sat on the sidelines for too long are now eager to rein in Wall Street’s bad boys and the practices that proliferated in recent years. “The swashbuckling days of Wall Street firms’ trading, essentially turning themselves into giant hedge funds, are over. Turns out they weren’t that good,” said Andrew Kessler, a former hedge fund manager. “You’re no longer going to see middle-level folks pulling in seven- and multiple-seven-dollar figures that no one can figure out exactly what they did for that.” The beginning of the end is felt even in the halls of the white-shoe firm Goldman Sachs, which, among its Wall Street peers, epitomized and defined a high-risk, high-return culture. Goldman is the firm that other Wall Street firms love to hate. It houses some of the world’s biggest private equity and hedge funds. Its investment bankers are the smartest. Its traders, the best. They make the most money on Wall Street, earning the firm the nickname Goldmine Sachs. (Its 30,522 employees earned an average of $600,000 last year — an average that considers secretaries as well as traders.) Although executives at other firms secretly hoped that Goldman would once — just once — make a big mistake, at the same time, they tried their darnedest to emulate it. While Goldman remains top-notch in providing merger advice and underwriting public offerings, what it does better than any other firm on Wall Street is proprietary trading. That involves using its own funds, as well as a heap of borrowed money, to make big, smart global bets. Other firms tried to follow its lead, heaping risk on top of risk, all trying to capture just a touch of Goldman’s magic dust and its stellar quarter-after-quarter returns. Not one ever came close. While the credit crisis swamped Wall Street over the last year, causing Merrill, Citigroup and Lehman Brothers to sustain heavy losses on big bets in mortgage-related securities, Goldman sailed through with relatively minor bumps. In 2007, the same year that Citigroup and Merrill cast out their chief executives, Goldman booked record revenue and earnings and paid its chief, Lloyd C. Blankfein, $68.7 million — the most ever for a Wall Street C.E.O. Even Wall Street’s golden child, Goldman, however, could not withstand the turmoil that rocked the financial system in recent weeks. After Lehman and the American International Group were upended, and Merrill jumped into its hastily arranged engagement with Bank of America two weeks ago, Goldman’s stock hit a wall. The A.I.G. debacle was particularly troubling. Goldman was A.I.G.’s largest trading partner, according to several people close to A.I.G. who requested anonymity because of confidentiality agreements. Goldman assured investors that its exposure to A.I.G. was immaterial, but jittery investors and clients pulled out of the firm, nervous that stand-alone investment banks — even one as esteemed as Goldman — might not survive. “What happened confirmed my feeling that Goldman Sachs, no matter how good it was, was not impervious to the fortunes of fate,” said John H. Gutfreund, the former chief executive of Salomon Brothers. So, last weekend, with few choices left, Goldman Sachs swallowed a bitter pill and turned itself into, of all things, something rather plain and pedestrian: a deposit-taking bank. The move doesn’t mean that Goldman is going to give away free toasters for opening a checking account at a branch in Wichita anytime soon. But the shift is an assault on Goldman’s culture and the core of its astounding returns of recent years. Not everyone thinks that the Goldman money machine is going to be entirely constrained. Last week, the Oracle of Omaha, Warren E. Buffett, made a $5 billion investment in the firm, and Goldman raised another $5 billion in a separate stock offering. Still, many people say, with such sweeping changes before it, Goldman Sachs could well be losing what made it so special. But, then again, few things on Wall Street will be the same. GOLDMAN’S latest golden era can be traced to the rise of Mr. Blankfein, the Brooklyn-born trading genius who took the helm in June 2006, when Henry M. Paulson Jr., a veteran investment banker and adviser to many of the world’s biggest companies, left the bank to become the nation’s Treasury secretary. Mr. Blankfein’s ascent was a significant changing of the guard at Goldman, with the vaunted investment banking division giving way to traders who had become increasingly responsible for driving a run of eye-popping profits. Before taking over as chief executive, Mr. Blankfein led Goldman’s securities division, pushing a strategy that increasingly put the bank’s own capital on the line to make big trading bets and investments in businesses as varied as power plants and Japanese banks. The shift in Goldman’s revenue shows the transformation of the bank. From 1996 to 1998, investment banking generated up to 40 percent of the money Goldman brought in the door. In 2007, Goldman’s best year, that figure was less than 16 percent, while revenue from trading and principal investing was 68 percent. Goldman’s ability to sidestep the worst of the credit crisis came mainly because of its roots as a private partnership in which senior executives stood to lose their shirts if the bank faltered. Founded in 1869, Goldman officially went public in 1999 but never lost the flat structure that kept lines of communication open among different divisions. In late 2006, when losses began showing in one of Goldman’s mortgage trading accounts, the bank held a top-level meeting where executives including David Viniar, the chief financial officer, concluded that the housing market was headed for a significant downturn. Hedging strategies were put in place that essentially amounted to a bet that housing prices would fall. When they did, Goldman limited its losses while rivals posted ever-bigger write-downs on mortgages and complex securities tied to them. In 2007, Goldman generated $11.6 billion in profit, the most money an investment bank has ever made in a year, and avoided most of the big mortgage-related losses that began slamming other banks late in that year. Goldman’s share price soared to a record of $247.92 on Oct. 31. Goldman continued to outpace its rivals into this year, though profits declined significantly as the credit crisis worsened and trading conditions became treacherous. Still, even as Bear Stearns collapsed in March over bad mortgage bets and Lehman was battered, few thought that the untouchable Goldman could ever falter. Mr. Blankfein, an inveterate worrier, beefed up his books in part by stashing more than $100 billion in cash and short-term, highly liquid securities in an account at the Bank of New York. The Bony Box, as Mr. Blankfein calls it, was created to make sure that Goldman could keep doing business even in the face of market eruptions. That strong balance sheet, and Goldman’s ability to avoid losses during the crisis, appeared to leave the bank in a strong position to move through the industry upheaval with its trading-heavy business model intact, if temporarily dormant. Even as some analysts suggested that Goldman should consider buying a commercial bank to diversify, executives including Mr. Blankfein remained cool to the notion. Becoming a deposit-taking bank would just invite more regulation and lessen its ability to shift capital quickly in volatile markets, the thinking went. All of that changed two weeks ago when shares of Goldman and its chief rival, Morgan Stanley, went into free fall. A national panic over the mortgage crisis deepened and investors became increasingly convinced that no stand-alone investment bank would survive, even with the government’s plan to buy up toxic assets. Nervous hedge funds, some burned by losing big money when Lehman went bust, began moving some of their balances away from Goldman to bigger banks, like JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank. By the weekend, it was clear that Goldman’s options were to either merge with another company or transform itself into a deposit-taking bank holding company. So Goldman did what it has always done in the face of rapidly changing events: it turned on a dime. “They change to fit their environment. When it was good to go public, they went public,” said Michael Mayo, banking analyst at Deutsche Bank. “When it was good to get big in fixed income, they got big in fixed income. When it was good to get into emerging markets, they got into emerging markets. Now that it’s good to be a bank, they became a bank.” The moment it changed its status, Goldman became the fourth-largest bank holding company in the United States, with $20 billion in customer deposits spread between a bank subsidiary it already owned in Utah and its European bank. Goldman said it would quickly move more assets, including its existing loan business, to give the bank $150 billion in deposits. Even as Goldman was preparing to radically alter its structure, it was also negotiating with Mr. Buffett, a longtime client, on the terms of his $5 billion cash infusion. Mr. Buffett, as he always does, drove a relentless bargain, securing a guaranteed annual dividend of $500 million and the right to buy $5 billion more in Goldman shares at a below-market price. While the price tag for his blessing was steep, the impact was priceless. “Buffett got a very good deal, which means the guy on the other side did not get as good a deal,” said Jonathan Vyorst, a portfolio manager at the Paradigm Value Fund. “But from Goldman’s perspective, it is reputational capital that is unparalleled.” EVEN if the bailout stabilizes the markets, Wall Street won’t go back to its freewheeling, profit-spinning ways of old. After years of lax regulation, Wall Street firms will face much stronger oversight by regulators who are looking to tighten the reins on many practices that allowed the Street to flourish. For Goldman and Morgan Stanley, which are converting themselves into bank holding companies, that means their primary regulators become the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversee banking institutions. Rather than periodic audits by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Goldman will have regulators on site and looking over their shoulders all the time. The banking giant JPMorgan Chase, for instance, has 70 regulators from the Federal Reserve and the comptroller’s agency in its offices every day. Those regulators have open access to its books, trading floors and back-office operations. (That’s not to say stronger regulators would prevent losses. Citigroup, which on paper is highly regulated, suffered huge write-downs on risky mortgage securities bets.) As a bank, Goldman will also face tougher requirements about the size of the financial cushion it maintains. While Goldman and Morgan Stanley both meet current guidelines, many analysts argue that regulators, as part of the fallout from the credit crisis, may increase the amount of capital banks must have on hand. More important, a stiffer regulatory regime across Wall Street is likely to reduce the use and abuse of its favorite addictive drug: leverage. The low-interest-rate environment of the last decade offered buckets of cheap credit. Just as consumers maxed out their credit cards to live beyond their means, Wall Street firms bolstered their returns by pumping that cheap credit into their own trading operations and lending money to hedge funds and private equity firms so they could do the same. By using leverage, or borrowed funds, firms like Goldman Sachs easily increased the size of the bets they were making in their own trading portfolios. If they were right — and Goldman typically was — the returns were huge. When things went wrong, however, all of that debt turned into a nightmare. When Bear Stearns was on the verge of collapse, it had borrowed $33 for every $1 of equity it held. When trading partners that had lent Bear the money began demanding it back, the firm’s coffers ran dangerously low. Earlier this year, Goldman had borrowed about $28 for every $1 in equity. In the ensuing credit crisis, Wall Street firms have reined in their borrowing significantly and have lent less money to hedge funds and private equity firms. Today, Goldman’s borrowings stand at about $20 to $1, but even that is likely to come down. Banks like JPMorgan and Citigroup typically borrow about $10 to $1, analysts say. As leverage dries up across Wall Street, so will the outsize returns at many private equity firms and hedge funds. Returns at many hedge funds are expected to be awful this year because of a combination of bad bets and an inability to borrow. One result could be a landslide of hedge funds’ closing shop. At Goldman, the reduced use of borrowed money for its own trading operations means that its earnings will also decrease, analysts warn. Brad Hintz, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, predicts that Goldman’s return on equity, a common measure of how efficiently capital is invested, will fall to 13 percent this year, from 33 percent in 2007, and hover around 14 percent or 15 percent for the next few years. Goldman says its returns are primarily driven by economic growth, its market share and pricing power, not by leverage. It adds that it does not expect changes in its business strategies and expects a 20 percent return on equity in the future. IF Mr. Hintz is right, and Goldman’s legendary returns decline, so will its paychecks. Without those multimillion-dollar paydays, those top-notch investment bankers, elite traders and private-equity superstars may well stroll out the door and try their luck at starting small, boutique investment-banking firms or hedge funds — if they can. “Over time, the smart people will migrate out of the firm because commercial banks don’t pay out 50 percent of their revenues as compensation,” said Christopher Whalen, a managing partner at Institutional Risk Analytics. “Banks simply aren’t that profitable.” As the game of musical chairs continues on Wall Street, with banks like JPMorgan scooping up troubled competitors like Washington Mutual, some analysts are wondering what Goldman’s next move will be. Goldman is unlikely to join with a commercial bank with a broad retail network, because a plain-vanilla consumer business is costly to operate and is the polar opposite of Goldman’s rarefied culture. “If they go too far afield or get too large in terms of personnel, then they become Citigroup, with the corporate bureaucracy and slowness and the inability to make consensus-type decisions that come with that,” Mr. Hintz said. A better fit for Goldman would be a bank that caters to corporations and other institutions, like Northern Trust or State Street Bank, he said. “I don’t think they’re going to move too fast, no matter what the environment on Wall Street is,” Mr. Hintz said. “They’re going to take some time and consider what exactly the new Goldman Sachs is going to be.”
  7. High tech US firms outsource to Montreal Tue, 2008-11-11 06:03. David Cohen An IT recruitment agency in Montreal says there has been a spike in the number of American companies crossing the border into Canada -- especially Montreal -- to do their software development and to save money. Kovasys Technology cites the unstable economy in the US, and massive layoffs. It says more and more companies are deciding to save money and move their IT operations to a cheaper but not out of the way location, and for many, that means Montreal. Quebec introduced subsidies for high tech companies less than a year ago.
  8. http://business.financialpost.com/2011/11/09/european-firms-look-to-canada-to-grow-assets/ It is quite an interesting article. I would say more, but I do not want the jinx it. Is Canada the new land of opportunity? Which countries is Canada really competing with? Australia and Brazil?
  9. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-31/downtown-nyc-landlords-remake-offices-in-shift-from-banks.htmlDowntown NYC Landlords Remake Offices in Shift From Banks By David M. Levitt - July 31, 2013 David Cheikin is betting that skateboard millionaires will be happy where the Thundering Herd once roamed. As vice president of leasing for Brookfield Office Properties Inc. (BPO), Cheikin is leading the push to remake lower Manhattan’s former World Financial Center into a destination for technology and media companies. Once home to the Merrill Lynch & Co., the brokerage firm known for its bull logo, the Hudson riverfront complex is now Brookfield Place New York, and much more than the name is changing. Brookfield is stripping away brass and marble trims and adding bicycle parking, free Wi-Fi in public spaces and electric-car charging stations. At Merrill’s former headquarters, clear glass is replacing the imposing, dark-tinted facade built as a barrier to the public, Cheikin said. “We’re just trying to work out ways to make it more in line with how people want to work today,” he said. Downtown landlords with millions of square feet of empty space are transforming offices that were designed for the global financial elite to better appeal to New York’s technology and media firms. They’re pitching their properties as an alternative to the converted factories of midtown south, where a frenzy of demand has pushed up rents and driven vacancies to the lowest in the U.S. The image makeover is only part of the challenge as the area faces a glut of space from skyscrapers that are nearing completion at the World Trade Center site. Empty Space Consolidating financial companies have left landlords with at least 6.3 million square feet (585,000 square meters) of space to fill, almost 7 percent of the lower Manhattan office market, according to data from brokerage Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. Another 2.4 million square feet remains unrented at two new trade center towers scheduled for completion by mid-2014. At Brookfield Place, vacancies loom on about a third of its 8 million square feet. Across the street at 1 World Trade Center, the Durst Organization is preparing a marketing campaign to convince creative firms that they’ll feel at home in the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building. Almost half of the tower, scheduled to open next year, is available for lease. Durst, equity partner with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on the 1,776-foot (541-meter) skyscraper, is targeting companies that are in “phase-two growth, after the incubation startup stages,” said Tara Stacom, the Cushman & Wakefield Inc. vice chairman who is working with the developers on the leasing effort. New Construction “There’s something that the new construction can accommodate for all these tech users that the old construction can’t, and that is growth,” Stacom said. “A lot of these tenants are one size today, and they’re 200 times that size in less than a decade, and in some cases less than half a decade. We’re only now going out to speak to this audience.” Tenants could agree to take a small space at first, then expand into larger offices in the tower, Stacom said. As rents soar in the older buildings of midtown south, available government incentives and the efficiencies of new real estate would make the trade center more cost-effective, even at an asking rent of $75 a square foot, among the highest for downtown, she said. The tower’s open, column-free space offers more flexibility and the developers are even ready to duplicate a look that’s become popular with technology firms, leaving the ductwork exposed, Stacom said. Space ‘Mismatch’ About 1.4 million square feet are unspoken for in the skyscraper, which is slated to open to tenants next year and will have Conde Nast Publications Inc. as its anchor tenant. Another 1 million square feet are available at Silverstein Properties Inc.’s 4 World Trade Center, to open before year-end. There’s “a mismatch between the unprecedented amount of class A space currently available and the preferences of the tech sector for loft space in a neighborhood with a non-corporate vibe,” according to tenant brokerage Studley Inc. “Tech and creative-sector companies in Manhattan are indisputably growing by leaps and bounds,” Steven Coutts, senior vice president for national research at New York-based Studley, said in a July 24 report. “Nevertheless, this sector still lacks the heft to fill the void” left by contracting banks and other traditional office users, such as accounting and insurance companies. Lowest Rents Downtown Manhattan has the lowest rents and the highest office availability of the borough’s three major submarkets. The availability rate -- empty space and offices due to become vacant within 12 months -- was almost 16 percent at the end of June, up from 10.8 percent a year earlier, data from CBRE Group Inc. show. Asking rents jumped 20 percent to an average of $47.13 a square foot, a reflection of landlords’ expectations for the high-end space added to the market in the past year, according to Los Angeles-based CBRE. Rents in midtown south -- including such neighborhoods as Chelsea, the Flatiron District and Soho -- averaged $63.44 a square foot and the availability rate was 10 percent. Brookfield has about 2.7 million square feet of former Merrill offices to fill at its namesake complex. Bank of America Corp. (BAC), which took over the space when it bought Merrill in 2009, is keeping about 775,000 square feet and will stop paying rent on the rest in September when its leases expire. At Merrill’s former headquarters at 250 Vesey St., the vacant restaurant that once housed the Hudson River Club, where brokers dined on grouse and pheasant, has been removed. It’s now an open area where anyone can gaze at the Statue of Liberty in the distance. The change is part of a $250 million makeover of the World Financial Center’s retail space that will include an upscale food market and eateries that overlook the marina. Transit Hub Another selling point, according to Cheikin, will be the completion in the next two years of a $3.94 billion transit hub designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Brookfield is close to completing a 55-foot glass entryway supported by a pair of cyclone-shaped steel columns that will link Brookfield Place with the transportation center. Across town on the East River waterfront, SL Green Realty Corp. (SLG) is marketing about 900,000 square feet at 180 Maiden Lane, a black-glass tower south of the Brooklyn Bridge. Most of that is space that American International Group Inc. (AIG), once the world’s largest insurer, will vacate next year. SL Green, Manhattan’s biggest office landlord, is spending $40 million on renovations that include making over the interior plaza, as well as AIG’s cafeteria, auditorium and health club to transform them into “communal-type amenities,” said Steve Durels, director of leasing. Soul Cycle “I want the cafeteria to look like it’s a Starbucks, and I want the fitness center to look like it’s a Soul Cycle,” Durels said. “And I want the auditorium to look like the presentation space you’d find in a W Hotel.” Most importantly, he said, the ground-floor atrium will work like an indoor park, with seating areas where people can get a coffee and work on their laptops. Half of the floor will be covered in artificial turf, where tenants could arrange a volleyball, badminton or bocce game. So far, downtown landlords’ efforts to land creative firms have borne little fruit. Some of the industry’s biggest names -- Yahoo! Inc., EBay Inc., LinkedIn Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. -- have opted to go elsewhere. Yahoo took four floors in the century-old former New York Times headquarters in Midtown, while LinkedIn went to the 82-year-old Empire State Building. EBay chose a onetime department store on Sixth Avenue in Chelsea that dates back to the 1890s, when the corridor was known as Ladies’ Mile. ‘Iconic’ Firms Facebook went to the East Village, taking about 100,000 square feet in 770 Broadway, which was designed in 1905 by Daniel Burnham, the architect who conceived the Flatiron Building. The social-media company joins tenants including AOL Inc. and the Huffington Post in the 15-story property. “Those firms are all iconic,” said Miles Rose, founder of SiliconAlley.com, a Web-based community for New York’s emerging technology industry. “The big, plain boxes don’t work for either their corporate culture or their workers. Older, iconic buildings have character and they have presence.” Of the 50 largest Manhattan leases made by technology, media, information and fashion tenants in the past two years, only 10 were in buildings completed later than 1970, according to Compstak Inc., a New York-based provider of leasing data. When 10gen Inc., maker of MongoDB data-management software, sought to expand out of its Soho offices last year, “downtown wasn’t exactly right for us,” said Eliot Horowitz, co-founder and chief technology officer. “We wanted some place that was pretty wide-open and feeling kind of lofty. We sort of wanted a Soho feel, but with a lot more flexibility and a lot more space than you can actually get in Soho.” Older Buildings 10Gen wound up taking about 32,000 square feet at the Times Building, he said. This month, it expanded its commitment to almost 50,000 square feet. Some creative companies that have gone downtown have favored the market’s older buildings. When HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. agreed to leave its longtime Midtown headquarters, it took 180,000 square feet at 195 Broadway, a colonnaded tower built in 1916 that was originally the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. building. WeWork, a company founded three years ago to provide shared office space to startups, took 120,500 square feet at 222 Broadway, a 27-story property completed in 1961 that once housed Merrill offices. Brooklyn Projects Brooklyn, across the East River from lower Manhattan, may emerge as competition for technology and media tenants. Developers have plans for about 630,000 square feet of offices at the former Domino Sugar plant on the Williamsburg neighborhood’s waterfront. In an industrial district near the Brooklyn Bridge, 1.2 million square feet of buildings long-owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses are under contract to be sold to a partnership that may make much of the space into offices. New York’s Economic Development Corp. projects that fast-growing technology companies will need an additional 20 million square feet of space over the next 12 years, and they’ll be seeking rents of less than $40 a square foot. Melissa Coley, a Brookfield spokeswoman, declined to say what rents it’s seeking at Brookfield Place. The landlord last week said it had rented about 191,000 square feet combined to Bank of Nova Scotia, Oppenheimer Funds Inc. and fitness-club chain Equinox Holdings Inc. Earlier this year, it landed GFK SE, a German retail-research firm, for 75,000 square feet at 200 Liberty St., formerly 1 World Financial Center. GFK is moving from an older building in Chelsea. Trade Center The World Trade Center site is poised to get its second large media tenant. GroupM, an advertising planning and placement firm owned by WPP Inc., is working on terms to lease 515,000 square feet at 3 World Trade Center, according to two people with knowledge of the talks. The skyscraper, slated for completion in 2016, is being developed by Larry Silverstein, who considered capping the tower at seven stories if he couldn’t land an anchor tenant. If he goes ahead with building it to the full 80-story height, he’ll have another 2 million square feet to fill. The 70,000-square-foot spaces planned for 3 World Trade Center, called “trading floors” on the developer’s website, can be designed for “any industry,” according to Jeremy Moss, Silverstein’s director of leasing. GroupM is planning to use some of the five base floors, according to the people. Greg Taubin, a broker at Studley who represented 10gen, said certain technology tenants will be tempted by landlords’ efforts, while others “won’t go below 14th Street, period.” “It’s very tenant-specific,” he said. “But as midtown south continues to be tight for these types of tenants, certain buildings downtown will be the beneficiaries of this.” To contact the reporter on this story: David M. Levitt in New York at [email protected] To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at [email protected] ®2013 BLOOMBERG L.P. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  10. Henry Michaels spent 25 years as an investment banker with New York-based firms such as Merrill Lynch & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Citigroup Inc. When the financial crisis deepened this year, he abandoned the struggling U.S. companies for a job at Royal Bank of Canada. A cyclist passes the Royal Bank of Canada headquarters in Toronto in this file photo. Photographer: Norm Betts “In this crisis, strength and stability matter,” said Michaels, 48, who resigned as co-head of Citigroup’s banks and diversified financials group in May to join RBC Capital Markets in New York. “RBC is in growth mode, and it’s nice to be playing offense.” Canadian banks, bolstered by their reputation as the world’s soundest, are adding investment bankers even after rivals slashed almost 316,000 jobs worldwide since the collapse of the U.S. subprime market in 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Lenders including RBC, BMO Capital Markets and CIBC World Markets have hired more than 700 investment bankers, analysts and traders in the U.S. and Canada this year, including from rivals such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup. “The profile of the Canadian banks on the global scale has been heightened exponentially over the course of the last year,” said Rose Baker, a managing partner in Toronto with executive recruitment firm Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. “They look more powerful and are able to attract talent that was historically not available to them.” Soundest Banks Canadian lenders, based in Toronto’s financial district known as Bay Street, have remained profitable amid the crisis because of tighter restrictions on lending and higher capital requirements. As a result, Canada’s biggest banks posted about $20.4 billion in writedowns and credit losses since 2007, a fraction of the $1.62 trillion taken by global financial- services firms in the period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The World Economic Forum last month named Canada as home to the world’s soundest banks for the second straight year. The resilience allowed the Canadian lenders to climb the ranks of global firms. Three Canadian banks now rank in the top 10 among North American lenders by market value. Three years ago, only Royal Bank made the list. Canadian banks are taking on experienced bankers as larger firms trim ranks. North American banks and brokerages cut 9.9 percent of their workforce in the past two years, according to Bloomberg data. Bank of America Corp. eliminated 46,150 jobs, while Citigroup cut 38,900 positions and Lehman fired 13,390 employees. Job Cuts By comparison, Canada’s five biggest banks pared 3,135 jobs, or about 1.1 percent of their staff, in areas such as consumer banking, according to company filings. RBC Capital Markets hired 325 investment bankers this year, including about 200 in its U.S. offices, said spokeswoman Katherine Gay. The hires included a Citigroup team of Michaels, Jerry Wiant and Sean Burke, who joined in July to expand RBC’s financial institutions group. Resumes are still coming in, said Doug Guzman, RBC’s head of global investment banking. “Five or six years ago we would have had to go hire headhunters for every single spot we wanted to hire because we didn’t have a network, our name wasn’t sufficiently known,” Guzman, 44, said from Toronto. RBC also recruited James Caldwell from Banc of America Securities in July to head up a new aerospace and defense group out of New York. In April, RBC expanded its U.S. real estate banking group by hiring John Case from UBS AG. “Our ability to build the business faster makes us a more attractive place to work,” Guzman said. ‘Different Careers’ Bank of Montreal’s investment bank attracted 30 people from non-Canadian firms this year as directors and managing directors at its U.S. and European offices. “We’ve been able to do an awful lot in a nine-month period because people are entertaining and receptive to considering new and different careers, or careers with different firms,” said Bill Butt, global head of investment and corporate banking at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. BMO’s recruiting allowed it to expand investment-banking services for industries including health care, food and consumer, and energy. Hires included Peter Boukouzis, 41, who left Rothschild’s New York office after eight years to move to Houston with his wife and three kids in August. “I’ve had a number of folks from other firms ask me if BMO is still hiring in the U.S.,” said Boukouzis, who advises oil and gas companies on takeovers. Canadian firms “have not gone unnoticed, both for the expansion in the U.S. market and the stability.” European Expansion In May, BMO hired Greg Pearlman and two others from Bank of America in Chicago to expand services for food and consumer companies. The firm also added a seven-member equity products sales team from UBS for its London and Paris offices in August. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which sold its New York-based investment banking business in January 2008, has also recruited from international firms to bolster its ranks, mainly in Toronto. The bank hired 32 senior bankers from foreign firms in the past nine months, including former Merrill Lynch banker Susan Rimmer, who heads up part of CIBC’s debt capital markets business, and former Lehman takeover specialist Geoffrey Belsher. Bank of Nova Scotia’s investment bank hired five Wells Fargo & Co. bankers to expand its stock lending business in the U.S. last month. In March, Scotia Capital bought an energy trading business from UBS, adding about 60 employees in New York. Canadian banks had a “big advantage” in the past six months for attracting skilled bankers, Heidrick & Struggles’ Baker said. The challenge now is to keep them, she added. Retention “As some of the international banks like Bank of America and Citi get their house in order, they may lose some of that advantage,” Baker said. “As the market turns, it’s going to be all about how they retain them.” Bill Vlaad of Vlaad & Co., a Toronto-based recruiter specializing in the financial-services industry, says Canadian banks have “increased their weight class” during the slump, though they shouldn’t count the competition out. “One hundred and fifty years of global dominance in capital markets doesn’t just disappear overnight,” Vlaad said. “Some of these names that we’ve seen in the paper will shine again, and there’s something very rewarding about having those names on your resume.”
  11. LIST :: http://www.financialpost.com/magazine/fp500/list.html The beat goes on The right numbers are up. But momentum? That’s another thing Cooper Langford, Financial Post Business Published: Tuesday, June 03, 2008 Related Topics Story tools presented by Good stories start in the middle of the action, so let's do that - specifically at the No. 162 spot on the 2008 edition of the Financial Post 500, our annual ranking of Canada's largest companies by revenue. In that position: Martinrea International Inc., a Vaughan, Ont.-based auto-parts maker that's put the pedal to the metal in pursuit of growth. In a year when the loonie hit par with the U.S. buck and belt-tightening at Detroit's Big Three throttled the auto sector, Martinrea did a surprising thing: It more than doubled its revenue to $2 billion. In the process, it also jumped 168 places, making it one of the highest-climbing firms on our list. That an upstart underdog in a declining sector can deliver such a positive outcome says a lot about the stories, themes and companies that define this year's FP500. Some firms have had great years, but for many others it was just the opposite. And in a lot of cases, one company's good fortune comes at the expense of others. Martinrea, for example, made its big leap because it was able to acquire a major rival at depressed market prices. Likewise, factors such as the price of oil - which rose to within a hair's breadth of US$100 per barrel in 2007 - boosted most oil producers while hammering other companies that were directly or indirectly hurt by the high cost of fuel. Martinrea's success is revealing in one other way as well. With total revenue of all the FP500 companies increasing by just $44 billion in 2007 - to $1.583 trillion from $1.539 trillion - the little parts maker's $1.1-billion revenue gain represents fully 2.5% of the entire increase. When you're counting on a company that represents a meagre 0.1% of the total FP500 revenue to do that much heavy lifting, you have to wonder about the strength of the underlying economy and the prospects for the year ahead. Meanwhile, the theme of surprise extended to some of the largest companies on the FP500, too. Start with Royal Bank of Canada, which returns as No. 1 overall. No one doubted that it would retain its crown as Canada's largest corporation, but how many thought it would also lead our list of top revenue gainers? After all, the financial sector was hammered last year by fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis and the choked credit markets that followed. Yet RBC - thanks to its well-diversified base of revenue streams - shone through with a year-over-year increase of more than $5 billion. And then there's EnCana Corp. (No. 13), Canada's largest energy company and one of its most profitable firms. Many people will no doubt be surprised to find that it tops our list of biggest profit decliners. Granted, it still earned $4.3 billion, but that's off $2.1 billion from 2006, despite a 24% increase in revenue to $23 billion. Blame a steep mid-year dip in the price of natural gas, the erosion of margins due to the rising dollar and ever-escalating costs that resulted from shortages of materials and skilled labour. (A complete series of "Top 5" breakout lists and profiles accompanies this story.) ANYONE LOOKING for more predict-able outcomes can still hang their hat on the global commodity boom. While price increases didn't match those of 2006, there was still enough steam in the market for it to have a major impact on the list - powering up some of 2007's largest percentage revenue gains. Yamana Gold Inc. (No. 340), for example, leapt onto the FP500 with a 318% increase, to $800 million, following its $3.5-billion acquisition in September of Meridian Gold Inc. Soaring oil prices continued to stoke more than a few bottom lines across the energy sector - average revenue growth there came in at 18.8%. Leading the way was Calgary-based Harvest Energy Trust (No. 94) with a revenue increase of 193.2%, to $4 billion. This gain was due, in part, to its mid-2006 acquisition of North Atlantic Refining Ltd. in Come By Chance, N.L., a groundbreaking $1.6-billion deal that turned Harvest into Canada's first vertically integrated oil and gas royalty trust. At the same time, however, energy costs - coupled with the strong dollar - weighed heavily on central Canada. They wreaked havoc particularly on forestry companies already reeling from the collapse of the U.S. housing market. Indeed, of the 19 forestry firms on our ranking, only four avoided outright revenue declines. Nine of the remaining firms saw a double-digit fall in their income. Weyerhaeuser Canada Ltd. turned in the worst performance, stumbling to the No. 384 position from No. 231 as its revenue fell to $648 million - a 50% decrease, which earned it the dubious distinction of this year's "Worst Fall." The picture looks only a little brighter in the beleaguered manufacturing sector, where half of the 28 ranked firms posted revenue declines. In broad terms, though, the economy absorbed the worst of these impacts. Much like corporate revenue and profit (which climbed 4.4% for the FP500 as a whole, compared to a 34% rise in 2006), GDP growth held steady, clocking in at 2.7%, the same as 2006, but down from 2.9% in 2005. Unemployment, meanwhile, fell to 6%, its lowest level in 33 years. These kinds of numbers, it seems, were good enough to keep consumers in stores with their wallets open, as a look at some of the newcomers to the FP500 suggests. For evidence, look no further than the No. 288 position, occupied this year by consumer electronics manufacturer LG Electronics Canada, with revenue of $1 billion. A few ranks further down, at No. 311, you'll find Kia Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Korean auto maker Kia Motors, with revenue of almost $900 million. Equally intriguing - given fears for the future of the music and video retail business - is the arrival on the FP500 of HMV Canada Inc. at No. 500, with revenue of $407 million. Granted, HMV's revenue is actually down 0.6%, yet it still made the jump from No. 510 last year on the Next 300 list. DEALING WITH volatility and a rapidly changing economic landscape may have been the biggest theme in corporate Canada during 2007, but it wasn't the only one: Foreign takeovers also swept the market. The headlines were bigger in 2006, when iconic Canadian firms such as Hudson's Bay Co., Inco Ltd. and Dofasco fell into foreign hands. But it wasn't until last year that the number and value of takeover deals hit truly astonishing levels. In the first six months of 2007, the value of foreign M&A activity in Canada soared to $153 billion, according to investment banking firm Crosbie & Co. Inc., eclipsing the total of $102 billion for all of 2006. By the end of the year, the value of deals reached a record-setting $186.8 billion, with international miner Rio Tinto plc's $44.9-billion acquisition of Alcan Inc. (No. 7) leading the way. Other deals included Houston-based Marathon Oil Corp.'s $7.1-billion bid for Western Oil Sands Inc. (No. 296), Abu Dhabi National Energy Co.'s $5-billion takeout of PrimeWest Energy Trust (No. 398) and IBM Corp.'s $4.4-billion acquisition of software maker Cognos Inc. (No. 261). With those kinds of names and numbers in the air, it's no surprise that the flurry of activity reignited the age-old debate about the "hollowing" of corporate Canada. Dominic D'Alessandro, who recently announced he'll retire next year as CEO of Manulife Financial Corp. (No. 2), weighed in during his annual address to shareholders in May 2007, saying: "I sometimes worry that we may all wake up and find that, as a nation, we have lost control of our affairs." Others wondered what all the fuss was about. In a March 2007 report, the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity argued that Canada's ability to produce companies that are global leaders far outweighs the losses it has witnessed due to foreign takeovers. Among the examples it used to make its case were Research in Motion Ltd. (No. 65), North American convenience-store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (No. 24) and ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. (No. 367), a manufacturing-solutions firm active in the international health-care, electronics and automotive sectors. We'll keep our opinions to ourselves, but here's one notable fact: According to Crosbie & Co., Canadian firms made twice as many acquisitions abroad as foreign firms did here. At $93 billion, however, the total value of those deals was only half the value of foreign takeovers in Canada. GIVEN ALL that acquisition activity in 2007, it's almost inevitable that some companies now on our list will have disappeared when it comes time to compile the FP500 for 2008. Others may fall off because their revenue stumbles to levels where they no longer make the cut-off. But the FP500 is a renewable resource; for every firm that leaves, there's another that takes its place. A scan of the Next 300, which follows our main ranking, offers hints. Companies that stand out include The Data Group Income Fund, which rose more than 100 positions to No. 507 and was just $10 million shy of making the big chart, as well as rising food manufacturer Lassonde Industries Inc. at No. 505, up from No. 545 in 2006. The biggest wild card for next year's ranking, however - one that affects nearly every company on both the FP500 and the Next 300 - has to do with where the economy will take them. The FP500 as a whole hasn't had a year of revenue decline since 2004 (and the drop was a miniscule $2 billion), but it looks like a distinct possibility if current GDP forecasts prove accurate. In late April, the Bank of Canada called for GDP growth of just 1.4% in 2008, with most private-sector forecasts in the same ballpark. While Canada's domestic markets should do okay, a weak U.S. economy will drag us down. Results like that, at least a full percentage point lower than 2007's 2.7%, would make it hard for FP500 revenue totals to stay out of the red. If so, spunky companies like Martinrea may be fewer and farther between when we do this again next year.
  12. http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/two-montrealers-striving-to-improve-citys-economic-lot?__lsa=4920-2f19 Among the people charged with promoting Montreal’s economic development, Éric Lemieux and Dominique Anglade are on the front lines. They’re battling with other cities around the world as Montreal vies for scarce new jobs and investment dollars, often competing against lucrative incentives offered by other jurisdictions. Lemieux is trying to breathe new life into the city’s financial sector while Anglade seeks out high-tech companies, aerospace firms and life science businesses willing to invest here. Banks and insurance companies have moved their headquarters to Toronto and local stock exchanges have closed but Lemieux, who heads the private-public agency known as Finance Montreal, sees new opportunities ahead. “Canada has a stable economy with good financial regulation,” he says, and the country emerged from the 2008-09 financial crisis with a healthy banking sector. That should help to attract international banking activities. The city has an “excellent pool of talent supplied by its universities and business schools,” he says, with 8,000 students enrolled in finance programs. It also boasts much cheaper operating costs than places like New York and Boston. “Banks like BNP Paribas, Société Générale and Morgan Stanley all made the decision to locate some of their operations here.” Montreal has over 100,000 jobs in the financial sector and derives close to 7 per cent of local GDP from the 3,000 financial firms working here. It’s become an important centre for pension fund management, led by the giant provincial agency the Caisse de dépot et placement as well as other large players such as PSP Investments and Fiera Capital. The sector includes more than 250 money-management firms. The city is developing a new area of expertise in financial derivatives like futures and options on stocks, currencies and bonds, which are traded on the Montreal Exchange. And financial technology is also a selling point for Montreal. It has a growing presence in software development and information technology for the asset management industry, as traders look for every technical edge they can get. Part of Lemieux’s effort comes through the International Financial Centre program, which offers employment-based tax credits to financial firms that set up international operations here. “I think it’s a good success story,” he says. “There are more than 60 companies and 1,000 jobs that have located here” under the plan. “Seventy per cent of them would not be in Montreal if there wasn’t this support. We’re talking of $100 million in direct and indirect benefits.” Another important asset is the local venture capital industry, which finances startups and early-stage firms founded by entrepreneurs. The sector is led by such funding institutions as Teralys Capital and the Fonds de Solidarité. Put it all together and the portrait of the city doesn’t look too bad. According to the Global Financial Index — an international ranking that measures both size and industry perceptions — Montreal is the world’s 18th financial centre, up from 31st spot four years ago. Dominique Anglade runs Montreal International, the agency that prospects worldwide for foreign direct investment on behalf of the 82 municipalities in the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal. Like Lemieux, she sees fierce competition for investment dollars. In this tough environment, the Montreal area has had its share of successes. 2013 was an exceptional year, as Montreal International helped to secure a record $1.2 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI). The year just ended will fall short of that mark but will “continue our momentum,” says Anglade. The city was recognized as having the best attraction strategy in North America in a survey by FDI Magazine, a sister publication to Britain’s Financial Times. The record performance was driven by several major expansions of foreign multinationals in the Montreal area, including French video-game maker Ubisoft and Swedish telecom giant Ericsson. The presence of multinationals is critical to the Montreal economy. They account for 20 per cent of local GDP and nine per cent of jobs, as well as a large share of private research and development. Montreal International’s task is to convince them not only to stay but to invest and expand here. Multinationals often pit one plant location against another to see which one will produce the best value proposition. Montreal International’s job is to stay in constant touch with the companies that have a presence here to find out what they want to accomplish and what they need to survive. Anglade targets certain niches where the city is already strong such as information technology, video games, special effects for movies and TV, aerospace and life sciences. Information technology represented by far the biggest share of the new money coming into the city in 2013. The video game industry also remains a strong performer, with five of the world’s top 10 selling games produced in Montreal. A significant percentage of deals — about 60 per cent — involve government financial assistance through provincial tax credits but Anglade doesn’t apologize for the financial aid offered to the private sector. “The competition in the U.S. has no limit. They have billions in terms of incentives and that’s why we have to be extremely strategic in Montreal and focus on specific sectors.” She notes that Swedish appliance maker Electrolux opted to close its plant in nearby L’Assomption, employing 1,300, and shifted operations to Tennessee after it was offered a rich package of incentives by three levels of government. Still, in industries that require more skill and knowledge, the availability of talent is Montreal’s strong point, Anglade says. “One of the surprises that people have about Montreal is its talent pool. I can’t tell you how many companies have said ‘wow, this is amazing’ when they start to fill positions here. It’s why we need to stress the importance of education. It’s critical for the future of Quebec.”
  13. Méga article très intéressant du magazine The Economist Lien The world economy A glimmer of hope? Apr 23rd 2009 From The Economist print edition The worst thing for the world economy would be to assume the worst is over THE rays are diffuse, but the specks of light are unmistakable. Share prices are up sharply. Even after slipping early this week, two-thirds of the 42 stockmarkets that The Economist tracks have risen in the past six weeks by more than 20%. Different economic indicators from different parts of the world have brightened. China’s economy is picking up. The slump in global manufacturing seems to be easing. Property markets in America and Britain are showing signs of life, as mortgage rates fall and homes become more affordable. Confidence is growing. A widely tracked index of investor sentiment in Germany has turned positive for the first time in almost two years. All this is welcome—not least because the slump has been made so much worse by panic and despair. When the financial system was on the brink of collapse in September, investors shunned all but the safest assets, consumers stopped spending and firms shut down. That plunge into the depths could be succeeded by a virtuous cycle, where the wheels of finance turn again, cheerier consumers open their wallets and ambitious firms turn from hoarding cash to pursuing profits. But, welcome as it is, optimism contains two traps, one obvious, the other more subtle. The obvious trap is that confidence proves misplaced—that the glimmers of hope are misinterpreted as the beginnings of a strong recovery when all they really show is that the rate of decline is slowing. The subtler trap, particularly for politicians, is that confidence and better news create ruinous complacency. Optimism is one thing, but hubris that the world economy is returning to normal could hinder recovery and block policies to protect against a further plunge into the depths. Luminous indicators Begin with those glimmers. It is easy to read too much into the gain in share prices. Stockmarkets usually rally before economies improve, because investors spy the promise of fatter profits before the statisticians document a turnaround. But plenty of rallies fizzle into nothing. Between 1929 and 1932, the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared by more than 20% four times, only to fall back below its previous lows. Today’s crisis has seen five separate rallies in which share prices rose more than 10% only to subside again. The economic statistics are hard to interpret, too. The past six months have seen several slumps, each with a different trajectory. The plunge in manufacturing is in part the result of a huge global inventory adjustment. With unsold goods piling up and finance hard to come by, firms around the world have slashed production even faster than demand has fallen. Once firms have run down their stocks they will start making things again and the manufacturing recession will be past its worst. Even if that moment is at hand, two other slumps are likely to poison the economy for much longer. The most important is the banking crisis and the purge of debt in the bubble economies, especially America and Britain. Demand has plummeted as tighter credit and sinking asset prices have exposed consumers’ excessive borrowing and scared them into saving more. History suggests that such balance-sheet recessions are long and that the recoveries which eventually follow them are feeble. The second slump is in the emerging world, where many economies have been hit by the sudden fall in private cross-border capital flows. Emerging economies, which imported capital worth 5% of their GDP in 2007, now face a world where cautious investors keep their money at home. According to the IMF, banks, firms and governments in the emerging world have some $1.8 trillion-worth of borrowing to roll over this year, much of that in central and eastern Europe. Even if emerging markets escape a full-blown debt crisis, investors’ confidence is unlikely to recover for years. These crises sent the world economy into a decline that, on several measures, has been steeper than the onset of the Depression. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook expects global output to shrink by 1.3% this year, its first fall in 60 years. But the collapse has been countered by the most ambitious policy response in history. Central banks have pumped out trillions of dollars of liquidity and, in rising numbers, have resorted to an increasingly exotic arsenal of “unconventional” firepower to ease credit markets and loosen monetary conditions even as policy rates approach zero. Governments have battled to prop up their banks, committing trillions of dollars in the process. The IMF has new money. Every big rich country has bolstered demand with fiscal stimulus (and so have many emerging ones). The rich world’s budget deficits will, on average, reach almost 9% of GDP, six times higher than before the crisis hit. The Depression showed how damaging it can be if governments don’t step in when the rest of the economy seizes up. Yet action on the current scale has never been tried before and nobody knows when it will have an effect—let alone how much difference it will make. Whatever the impact, it would be a mistake to confuse the twitches of an economy on life-support with a lasting recovery. A real recovery depends on government demand being supplanted by sustainable sources of private spending. And here the news is almost uniformly grim. Searching for new demand Take the country many are pinning their hopes on: America. The adjustment in the housing market began earlier there than anywhere else. Prices peaked almost three years ago, and are now down by 30%. Manufacturing production has been falling at an annualised rate of more than 20% for the past three months. And the government’s offsetting policy offensive has been the rich world’s boldest. As the inventory adjustment ends and the stimuli kick in, America’s slump is sure to ease. Cushioned by the government, the economy may even begin to grow again before too long. But it is hard to see the ingredients for a recovery that is robust enough to stop unemployment rising. Weakness abroad will crimp exports. America’s banks are propped up with public capital, but their balance-sheets are clogged with toxic assets. Consumer spending and firms’ investment will be dragged lower by the need to pay back debt and restore savings. This will be a long slog. Private-sector leverage, which rose by 70% of GDP between 2000 and 2008, has barely begun to unwind. At 4%, the household savings rate has jumped sharply from its low of near zero, but it is still far below its post-war average of 7%. Higher unemployment and rising bankruptcies could easily cause a vicious new downward lurch. In Britain, given the size of its finance industry, housing boom and consumer debt, the balance-sheet adjustment will, if anything, be greater. The weaker pound will buoy exports, but fragile public finances suggest that Britain has much less scope to use government spending to cushion the private sector than America does—as this week’s flawed budget made painfully clear (see article). The outlook should in theory be brighter for Germany and Japan. Both have seen output slump faster than in other rich countries because of the collapse in trade and manufacturing, but neither has the huge private borrowing of the sort that haunts the Anglo-Saxon world. Once inventories have adjusted, recovery should come quickly. In practice, though, that seems unlikely, especially in Germany. As the output slump sends Germany’s jobless rate towards double-digits, it is hard to see consumers going on a spending spree. Nor has the government shown much appetite for boosting demand. Germany’s fiscal stimulus, although large by European standards, falls well short of what it could afford. Worse, the country’s banks are still in trouble. Germans did not behave recklessly, but their banks did—along with many others in continental Europe. New figures from the IMF suggest that European banks face some $1.1 trillion in losses, hardly any of which have yet been recognised (see article). This week’s German plan to set up several bad banks was no more than a down payment on the restructuring ahead. Japan has acted more boldly. Its latest package of tax cuts and government spending, unveiled in early April, will provide the biggest fiscal boost, relative to GDP, of any rich country this year. Its economy is likely to perk up, temporarily at least. But its public-debt stock is approaching 200% of GDP, so Japan has scant room for more fiscal stimulus. With export markets weak, demand will soon need to be privately generated at home. But the past two decades offer little evidence that Japan can make that shift. For the time being, the brightest light glows in China, where a huge inventory adjustment has exaggerated the impact of falling foreign demand, and where the government has the cash and determination to prop up domestic spending. China’s stimulus is already bearing fruit. Loans are soaring and infrastructure investment is growing smartly. The IMF’s latest forecast, that China’s economy will grow by 6.5% this year, may prove conservative. Yet even China has its difficulties. Perhaps three-quarters of the growth will come from government demand, particularly infrastructure spending. Not much to glow about Add all this up and the case for optimism fades quickly. The worst is over only in the narrowest sense that the pace of global decline has peaked. Thanks to massive—and unsustainable—fiscal and monetary transfusions, output will eventually stabilise. But in many ways, darker days lie ahead. Despite the scale of the slump, no conventional recovery is in sight. Growth, when it comes, will be too feeble to stop unemployment rising and idle capacity swelling. And for years most of the world’s economies will depend on their governments. Consider what that means. Much of the rich world will see jobless rates that reach double-digits, and then stay there. Deflation—a devastating disease in debt-laden economies—could set in as record economic slack pushes down prices and wages, particularly since headline inflation has already plunged thanks to sinking fuel costs. Public debt will soar because of weak growth, prolonged stimulus spending and the growing costs of cleaning up the financial mess. The OECD’s member countries began the crisis with debt stocks, on average, at 75% of GDP; by 2010 they will reach 100%. One analysis suggests persistent weakness could push the biggest economies’ debt ratios to 140% by 2014. Continuing joblessness, years of weak investment and higher public-debt burdens, in turn, will dent economies’ underlying potential. Although there is no sign that the world economy will return to its trend rate of growth any time soon, it is already clear that this speed limit will be lower than before the crisis hit. Start preparing for the next decade Welcome to an era of diminished expectations and continuing dangers; a world where policymakers must steer between the imminent threat of deflation while countering investors’ (reasonable) fears that swelling public debts and massive monetary easing could eventually lead to high inflation; an uncharted world where government borrowing reaches a scale not seen since the second world war, when capital controls ensured that savings stayed at home. How to cope with these dangers? Certainly not by clutching at scraps of better news. That risks leading to less action right now. Warding off deflation, for instance, will demand more unconventional steps from more central banks for longer than many now seem to foresee. Laggards, such as the European Central Bank, do themselves and the world no favours by holding back. Nor should governments immediately seek to take back the fiscal stimulus. Prolonged economic weakness does far greater damage to public finances than temporary fiscal activism. Remember how Japan snuffed out its recovery in the 1990s by rushing to raise taxes. Japan also put off bank reform. Countries facing big balance-sheet adjustments should heed that lesson and nudge reform along, in particular by doing more to clean up and restructure the banks. Countries with surpluses must encourage private spending at home more vigorously. China’s leaders are still doing too little to boost private citizens’ income and their spending by fostering reforms, from widening health-care coverage to forcing state-owned firms to pay higher dividends. At the same time policymakers must give themselves room to change course in the future. Central banks need to lay out the rules that will govern their exit from exotic forms of policy easing (see article). That may require new tools: the Federal Reserve would gain from being able to issue bonds that could mop up liquidity. All governments, especially those with the ropiest public finances, should think boldly about how to lower their debt ratios in the medium term—in ways that do not choke off nascent private demand. Rather than pushing up tax rates, they should think about raising retirement ages, reining in health costs and broadening the tax base. This weekend many of the world’s finance ministers and central bankers will meet in Washington, DC, for the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank. Amid rising confidence, they will be tempted to pat themselves on the back. There is no time for that. The worst global slump since the Depression is far from finished. There is work to do.
  14. CAE on deck for $500-million defence program By David Pugliese , Canwest News ServiceFebruary 13, 2009 11:02 AM Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be in Montreal Friday where he is expected to announce a new aerospace training facility that will provide work to CAE and other high-tech firms in Canada. The contract to CAE and its partners, which could over time be worth up to $500 million, arrives at a time when the Harper government needs to be seen to provide work and create jobs for Canadians during the recession. Last year, the government selected CAE as the winner of a Defence Department program known as the Operational Training Systems Provider or OTSP. But the actual awarding of the contract was delayed, at first by the election and then by other political developments. OTSP will see the creation of aerospace training facilities to teach Canadian Forces aircrews how to fly new transport planes and helicopters, as well as aircraft to be bought in the future for search and rescue. It is unclear at this point how many new aerospace jobs will be created. Montreal-based CAE, one of the world’s largest aviation simulation firms, had been deemed by the federal government as the only qualified bidder for the program. Defence officials privately say the OTSP program, which will include new training facilities and simulators at different locations in the country, will provide the air force with a common infrastructure for teaching crews on a number of aircraft. The project would run over the next 20 years and include training on new C-130J transport aircraft and other planes that will be purchased in the future. The final value of the deal will depend on how much training for various aircraft fleets will be eventually be included. The initial deal for CAE will focus on the C-130J aircraft and is expected to be worth around $250 million. The CAE team that will work on the project includes Xwave Defence and Aerospace in Ottawa; MacDonald Dettwiler of Richmond, B.C.; NGRAIN of Vancouver; Atlantis Systems International of Brampton, Ont.; Bombardier of St-Laurent, Que., and: Simgraph of Laval, Que. The announcement is seen by the Tories as a good news story as the Harper government has faced criticism from domestic aerospace and defence firms for not spending enough money in Canada. The government has earmarked more than $8 billion for new aircraft purchased from U.S. firms but Canadian companies have complained they have seen little work from those projects. On Thursday, parliamentarians were also calling for stricter oversight on how the Defence Department spends tax dollars after yet another internal audit found a lack of management oversight on a major equipment support project. The Ottawa Citizen reported that Defence Department auditors concluded the government has no idea whether it is getting value for money from a Canadian Forces communications project worth more than $290 million because it is not enforcing the terms of the contract. Defence Minister Peter MacKay found himself answering questions in the Commons from both the NDP and Liberal parties about ongoing problems with military procurement and the growing secrecy over such troubled deals. But according to MacKay the department has strict review policies already in place. “The procurement process is accountable and is transparent,” he noted. But Liberal defence critic Denis Coderre pointed out that previous audits had raised concerns about multi-billion dollar equipment purchases. “Clearly there needs to be big changes made on how this department can be made more accountable and responsible,” added NDP defence critic Dawn Black. “They spend billions and billions of dollars and Canadians have a right to know about what is going on.”
  15. Big Apple starting to crumble Janet Whitman, Financial Post Published: Thursday, November 06, 2008 NEW YORK -- The Big Apple is losing its shine. After years of benefiting from consumer bingeing on everything from luxury lofts to US$99 hamburgers, New York is seeing a dramatic turn in its fortunes as Wall Street stumbles. Investment banks and other financial-services firms here have cut tens of thousands of high-wage jobs and many more pink slips still could be on the way as they grapple with the deepening credit crisis. This year's Wall Street bonus pool, which makes up the bulk of the pay for high-flying financial executives, is forecast to be chopped in half to US$16-billion. Businesses are already feeling the pinch. Revenue at some high-end Manhattan restaurants are down an estimated 20% this year and the once sizzling real-estate market is cooling fast. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this week that the big drop in tax revenue collected from financial firms is forcing him to renege on planned US$400 property tax rebates for homeowners and to mull a 15% income tax hike. Economists said yesterday that the downturn could resemble New York's financial crisis in the early 1970s, when the city nearly went bankrupt and crime rates skyrocketed. "Compensation is going to be way down and that's going to weigh on restaurants and retailers and the housing market as well," said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Charlotte, N.C.-based bank Wachovia Corp. "We're going to have a very difficult climb back out of this. The recovery might begin in the middle of next year, but that just means things will stop getting worse." Mr. Vitner said it could take at least three years before New York starts to see strong growth and five years before the city gets back to normal. After the dot-com bust in 1999 and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, New York soon roared back, fueled by Wall Street's recovery. But the city can't depend on Wall Street this time around. "The flavour is different," said James Brown, a New York state Department of Labor regional analyst who focuses on New York City. "It's not clear how much growth we can expect from our financial sector in the next upturn. We don't know to what degree they may not be as profitable and able to lavish the same high salaries in the next boom as they have in the past booms." With the U.S. government looking to avoid sowing the seeds for a future financial crisis by cracking down on executive bonuses and limiting how much financial firms can wager, Wall Street's recovery could be slow. That's bad news for New York State, which depends on the financial sector for 20% of its revenue. The state already is facing its biggest budget gap in history, at US$47-billion over the next four years. The crisis last week prompted New York State Gov. David Paterson to ask U.S. Congress for billions of dollars in federal assistance. New York City has been particularly hard hit. For every Wall Street job another three or four will be lost in the city. Despite the doom and gloom, Mr. Bloomberg assured New Yorkers at a press briefing this week that the city wouldn't return "to the dark days of the 1970s when service cuts all but destroyed our quality of life." The mayor, who is seeking a third term to guide the city through the crisis, said New York is in much better fiscal shape than it was then and won't make the same mistakes. Still, he warned, it could be as many as five years before financial companies have to start paying city or state taxes again because of the half a trillion dollars in write-downs they have taken, which will offset future profits.
  16. (Courtesy of CBC News) You can read rest of the article by clicking on the link
  17. As a passionate Montrealer, it's getting exhausting. Some will come and defend the status quo but I Sense the strong majority think things are getting a little ridiculous chez nous http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2013/07/language-canada-0 Language in Canada Polly wants un craquelin Jul 30th 2013, 20:35 by K.C. EARLIER this month Canadians were shocked to learn that Bouton, an English-speaking parrot at the Montreal Biodome in the French-speaking province of Quebec, was being deported to Toronto following a surprise visit to the zoo by a representative of the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF), the body charged with ensuring the primacy of French in Quebec. The story, published by the Beaverton, a satirical magazine, turned out to be a spoof. But Quebec's linguistic intolerance is all too real. Just ask Xavier Ménard. Mr Ménard wanted to list his firm with the province's company registrar but was rejected. The reason? His company's name, Wellarc, sounds too English. Mr Menard's protestations that it is a portmanteau of the French words web, langage, logo, artistique and compagnie fell on deaf ears. Such misplaced verbal intransigence last week prompted Mr Ménard to vent his frustration on YouTube (in French). The video has gone viral. Mr Ménard's predicament is no isolated incident. Quebec has strict language laws, zealously enforced by the OQLF. One statute makes French the "normal and everyday language of work, instruction, communication, commerce and business". It also authorises the OQLF to "act on its own initiative or following the filing of a complaint". The number of such complaints rose from 2,780 in 2009 to over 4,000 last year. In the past few months alone the OQLF has ruled that French shop signs be printed in font sizes three times larger than those in English, told an Italian restaurant to substitute pâtes for pasta on its menu (arguments that pasta is a perfectly good Italian word apparently cut no ice) and ordered a popular frozen-yogurt chain to replace its spoons with cuillères. Those who fail to comply face fines of up to C$20,000 ($19,500). Although the rules exempt trademarks, in 2011 the OQFL controversially decided that public shop signs constitute displays of business names, which are not protected. That would force big retailers with English-sounding names to change their shop fronts, at considerable cost. Best Buy, Costco, Gap, Old Navy, Guess and Wal-Mart therefore asked the Superior Court of Quebec for an authoritative interpretation of the law. The ruling is expected in October. The Parti Québécois (PQ), which currently runs Quebec, has not stopped there. It wants to be able to refuse to grant provincial-government contracts to federally regulated companies, such as banks, telecoms firms or railways, unless they abide by the rules. Pauline Marois, the province's PQ premier, would like all catalogues and brochures to have a French version, and to extend the requirement that any company with 50 or more workers prove the use of French throughout its business to all firms with more than 25 employees. In 1976, when the PQ, which is responsible for the linguistic legislation, first came to power, around 800,000 of Quebec's 6.2m people were English-speakers. By 2011 that fell to fewer than 600,000, even as the province's population rose to 8m. There may be plenty of reasons why Anglophone Quebeckers have upped sticks. Fleeing before they meet Bouton's hypothetical fate could be one.
  18. Toronto tops Montreal for global career? Not really KARL MOORE AND DANIEL NOVAK From Friday's Globe and Mail Published Friday, Aug. 13, 2010 6:00AM EDT http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/career-advice/on-the-job/article1671292.ece Many students fall in love with Montreal during their years at McGill, yet feel they must move to Toronto if they want a career with an international firm. However, our analysis of the largest companies in Canada suggests that Montreal and Toronto offer about the same level of opportunity for a global career. Toronto is home to the national headquarters of most foreign multinationals with subsidiaries in Canada. However, it is important to note that these Canadian headquarters are satellites of their foreign parents and usually not engaged in international management. Worldwide headquarters, on the other hand, are centres for global strategic decision making. They not only maintain an international outlook in their day-to-day operations, but also open doors for people seeking global careers. The global head office of a firm is simply the more important node in the network of a multinational. So how do Montreal and Toronto stack up on being home to global multinational enterprises? To determine the attractiveness of each city, we first selected the top 150 companies in Canada in terms of revenues earned in 2009. We then kept only those publicly listed firms with substantial foreign revenues (at least 20 per cent) and international headquarters in either the Toronto or Montreal regions. We put to the side privately held companies because it is very difficult to find accurate data on them. We ended up with a dozen Canadian multinationals in each of the two cities. Among those firms in Toronto, three quarters are in the financial industry. They include major banks like RBC, Scotiabank and TD, and other financial services giants like Manulife, Sun Life, Brookfield Asset Management and Fairfax Financial Holdings. So it’s clear that Canada’s largest city is also its financial capital. In fact, the Greater Toronto Area’s financial and investment services sector employs more than 230,000 people, making it the third largest in North America after New York and Chicago. And you will often hear finance students in the halls of McGill refer to Toronto as “where the action is” when discussing their future careers. In the financial sector, Montreal is well positioned as a low-cost number two city with some 100,000 jobs – no slouch, but Toronto is clearly the winner here. Though Montreal’s portfolio of Canadian multinationals is slightly more modest in terms of total revenues, it is more diversified. Montreal’s major international headquarters include those of Power Corp., Bombardier, CN, SNC-Lavalin, CGI and Molson Coors (headquarters split between Montreal and Denver). Altogether these firms offer strategic access to a wide range of industries and many of them have emerged as leaders on the international stage. Bombardier has more than 70,000 employees in over 60 countries. Its aerospace division is the world’s third largest civil aircraft manufacturer and its transportation division is a major player in the thriving rail equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. SNC Lavalin also stands out from Montreal’s list as one of the world’s engineering and construction giants, with over 21,000 permanent employees running projects in over 100 countries. Half of the company’s business takes place outside North America, with projects throughout five continents. CGI group, an expert in IT services, is also worthy of mention. It has gone from being purely local two decades ago to successfully venturing into the U.S., establishing a widespread presence in Europe, and positioning itself in the booming Indian IT market. Hey, even Barack Obama praised the company during one of his campaign speeches. So Montreal offers some interesting opportunities in a number of industries, but one issue students raise is that you really should speak a reasonable amount of French to work in Montreal. It’s a fair enough point, but if you want to have a global career, doesn’t it make sense to pick up a second language? In fact, how could you have an international career with just one language? If you want to learn French it is much easier to learn in Montreal, where the two languages flow naturally. Besides, most students from across the country who come to McGill already have a steady base of French to work with, so it’s just a matter of improving it. In our experience, our French-speaking colleagues are delighted to help their peers with their French. So when you look at the stats, Toronto is the crown city of Canadian business, but when it comes to a global career Montreal is not far behind. Karl Moore is an associate professor and Daniel Novak is a BCom student, both at the Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University.