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Canada's biggest public pensions heavily investing in fossil fuels, new report suggests –



Canada’s biggest public pensions continue to invest heavily in fossil fuels despite rising concerns about climate change, according to a new report.

The Canadian Pension Plan’s (CPP Investments) total fossil fuel investments across its entire portfolio have increased from $9.9 billion in 2016 to $11.6 billion in 2020, according to the report by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a left-leaning research group. 

In the report, the researchers noted that they did not know where and how all the investments had been allocated, and instead focused on the changes in the number of shares invested in oil and gas. The researchers found that the number of shares in companies involved in oil and gas held by the CPP by the end of 2020 was 7.7 per cent higher than at the beginning of 2016.

The pension funds have said that they agree a swift transition toward a low-carbon economy has been a priority to fight climate change. The report stresses that although the pension plans have publicly stated they are climate action leaders, they have not significantly reduced investments in fossil fuels. The researchers argue that continued investment in fossil fuels by the pension plans shows they aren’t doing enough to grapple with the scale of the climate crisis.

“It is really angering,” said James Rowe, an environmental studies professor at University of Victoria and lead researcher on the report. “This fund whose goal is actually to facilitate our future security, is actually undermining it with its investments. It’s maddening.” 

James Rowe, an associate professor at the University of Victoria and one of the lead researchers of the report, says the small amount of progress by pension funds isn’t enough to satisfy the global call to end investments in fossil fuels. (Submitted by James Rowe)

CPP Investments says its investment strategies are set up to mitigate the fluctuations of any single sector, including oil and gas. 

“The premise of the report is misleading given that year to year exposure to any single sector is meaningfully determined by fund growth,” Frank Switzer a spokesperson for CPP Investments wrote in an email to CBC News.

Greener energy a priority for pension funds

Financial disclosures from the pension funds show they have drastically increased investments in what they consider green technology over the last five years.

CPP Investments’ renewable energy priorities in areas like wind, solar and hydro have significantly grown since the Paris Agreement, an international deal to combat climate change, from $30 million in 2016 to $9 billion in 2020, according to the report.

“We require the companies in which we invest to have viable transition strategies and we’re holding them to account,” Switzer said.

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If you weaken the oil industry, who will build the complex energy facilities of the future?

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Suncor Energy CEO Mark Little says oil and gas companies have a role to play in transitioning the world to low-carbon sources of energy. 2:37

Likewise, Quebec’s pension plan, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), reduced its investments in fossil fuel stocks by 14 per cent between 2016 and 2020. However, it does have 52 per cent more fossil fuel shares than CPP Investments, according to the report.

CDPQ has reduced its exposure to investments in oil and gas by half since 2017 and now represents about one per cent of its overall portfolio, CDPQ spokesperson Maxime Chagnon wrote in an email response.

He said the fund also has set targets to be carbon neutral by 2050.

More action, urgency needed: researchers

Despite the progress, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives researchers say it’s not enough to satisfy the global call to end investments in fossil fuels. 

Rowe says Canadians are being undermined by having their pension plans increasingly invested in fossil fuel companies.

“Regardless of what steps you may be taking for the climate, the CPP is undermining them with these dirty investments made on our behalf and without our consent,” he said. 

Using software that analyzes real-time financial market data, the researchers took a snapshot of pension fund investments on Dec. 31, 2020, and found that the funds held $2.3 billion in investments in member companies of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, a large and powerful Canadian oil and gas industry association. 

The snapshot also highlighted CPP investments of $674.04 million in TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada, the Canadian pipeline company.

The report says the pension plans do not make clear how the funds are distributed or used. 

WATCH | Divestment movement ‘gaining enormous steam,’ activist says:

Why it’s environmentally and financially smart to divest from fossil fuels, says Greenpeace Canada

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Keith Stewart says it’s time to stop the money pipeline to the oilpatch. 2:19

Though both pension plans have climate change strategies in place, CPP Investments cautions against total divestment. Instead, they argue that their investment in oil and gas can be leveraged to assist other companies as they transition to cleaner energy.

“We do believe that using blanket divestment will impede the world’s ability to transition,” CPP Investments CEO John Graham said in a Canadian Club of Toronto webinar in June. 

CPP Investments recently allocated $315 million for the Carbon Trunk Line, a CO2 transportation pipeline in Alberta. Its emissions reduction is equivalent to taking approximately 350,000 cars off the road, according to a media release by Enhance Energy, a Calgary-based carbon capture company. 

Margot Hurlbert is a University of Regina professor and the Canada Research Chair in climate change. (University of Regina Photography Department)

One expert agrees there should not be total divestment of oil and gas, as some industries, including greener innovations such as electric vehicle operations, still require it to produce their products.

“Pension funds/institutional investors have a duty to address climate-related financial risks and opportunities … more advice from climate and legal experts is well warranted,” said Margot Hurlbert a University of Regina professor and Canada Research Chair in climate change.

The report calls on the Canadian government and public pension funds to disclose all pension investments to the public.

The researchers urge the pension plans to immediately design a plan for greater investments in renewable energy and align with calls by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for world governments to reduce CO2 emissions to limit warming to 1.5 C.

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Not gold or bank FD, Jefferies finds this asset as top investment by Indians | Mint – Mint



Amid soaring inflation and slowdown worries, investors are busy finding out save haven for their money. While some are batting in favour of gold, some investors are favouring debt instruments for short term like bank fixed deposits (FDs) and other deposits. But, if we go by the Jefferies findings, around half of the Indian household savings in March 2022 has been invested in real estate properties whereas bank deposits and gold are distant second and third most preferred asset investment options among Indian households.

As per the Jefferies findings, out of $ 10.7 trillion Indian households assets in March 2022, whopping 49.4 per cent have been invested in real estate properties whereas 15.10 per cent went to band deposits 15 per cent of the Indian households savings were invested in gold. Impact of Covid-19 pandemic was also visible in this Jefferies report as Indian households invested 6.20 per cent of their net savings in insurance funds and it was fourth most preferred investment option by Indians.

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Photo: Courtesy Jefferies

Provident funds and pension is at 5th spot after receiving 5.70 per cent of $10.70 trillion Indian households savings in March 2022. Despite heavy FIIs selling at Indian equity markets, DIIs have remained net buyers since October 2021. However, in Jefferies report, equities has received 4.80 per cent of the net Indian households savings in March 2022 and it is 6th most preferred investment option among Indians. As Indian households has a habit of keeping some part of its savings in liquid form. 

Jefferies report has a mention about it as well. As per the Jefferies findings, 3.50 per cent of the net Indian households savings in this period has gone to cash or liquid segment and it an obvious least preferred option among the Indian households.

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HomeFirst Home Healthcare secures investment from Fulcrum – PE Hub



Harpeth Ventures also participated in the investment.

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Stone Investment Group Provides Update to Closing of Transaction With Starlight Capital – Yahoo Finance



Stone Investment Group Limited

TORONTO, June 23, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — On June 22, 2022, Starlight Capital Investments LP (“Starlight Capital“) issued a press release announcing that as of yesterday’s date, Stone Investment Group Limited (“SIG” or the “Corporation“) had not yet satisfied the closing condition (the “AUM Condition“) to maintain a minimum of $630 million of assets under management (“AUM“) in its public mutual funds (the “Stone Funds“) and managed accounts as required pursuant to the arrangement agreement dated April 7, 2022 between SIG, Starlight Capital, Stone-SIG Acquisition Limited, 13613429 Canada Inc., and 13909841 Canada Inc., as amended May 6, 2022 (the “Arrangement Agreement“). Starlight Capital went on to state that if the AUM Condition is not satisfied prior to June 30, 2022, it does not currently intend to complete the transactions pursuant to the Arrangement Agreement unless at least 10,500 of Stone’s outstanding 9.0% senior unsecured debentures (the “Debentures“) are irrevocably deposited by 5:00 pm on June 24, 2022 to the offer launched on November 29, 2021, as amended, by Stone-SIG Acquisition Limited for $800 per Debenture (as amended on December 15, 21, 22 and 27, 2021, and January 28, March 31 and May 19, 2022, the “Stone Offer“).

As the Corporation has previously announced, the Stone Offer remains open for acceptance until June 30, 2022.

The Corporation wishes to clarify that the decline in AUM is a function of the sharp decline in global capital markets over recent weeks and is not a reflection of the relative performance of the Stone Funds and managed accounts. Stone Asset Management Limited, portfolio manager of the Stone Funds and managed accounts, together with all of the subadvisors, remain confident that the investment portfolios are being managed appropriately in the circumstances.

Richard Stone, President and CEO of the Corporation, said: “Everyone knows the global capital markets are in a period of precipitous decline. When we signed the Arrangement Agreement on April 7, we were comfortably over the AUM threshold. It is unfortunate that the collapse of the global markets began just weeks before our scheduled closing date. Given the timeline for approval from shareholders, the court and the regulators, there was nothing we could do to accelerate the transactions. Despite this challenge, the firm, its managers and subadvisors remain steadfastly dedicated to the best interests of the investors in the Stone Funds and our managed account clients. While the circumstances are certainly less than ideal at the moment, we remain optimistic that the transaction with Starlight Capital will be completed and we continue to work toward merging our operations. We are doing everything we can to get this done.”

To demonstrate his own commitment to completing the transaction, Mr. Stone has executed and delivered a letter of transmittal to deposit under the Stone Offer all 728 Debentures that he beneficially owns, subject to acceptance in conjunction with the closing of the transactions pursuant to the Arrangement Agreement. He added: “I firmly believe that this is the right transaction for the company. I am prepared to do what I can to see it through to successful completion.”

In addition to Mr. Stone’s Debentures, the Corporation has also received a firm commitment for the deposit of a further 336 Debentures on the same terms as Mr. Stone’s deposit. Management and the board are hopeful that other Debentureholders, particularly significant Debentureholders, will support the transaction and follow Mr. Stone in depositing additional Debentures to the Stone Offer.

About Stone Investment Group Limited

The Corporation is an independent wealth management Corporation. The Corporation, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Stone Asset Management Limited, structures and manages high quality investment products for Canadian investors.

For more information:

Stone Investment Group Limited
Richard Stone
Chief Executive Officer
416 867 2525

Disclaimer for Forward-Looking Information

Certain information contained in this press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. The use of any of the words “continue”, “plan”, “propose”, “would”, “will”, “believe”, “expect”, “position”, “anticipate”, “improve”, “enhance” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. More particularly and without limitation, this document contains forward-looking statements concerning: the acquisition of the Corporation by Starlight Capital; the completion of the transactions contemplated in the Arrangement Agreement, the Debentures, the Stone Offer, whether further Debentures will be tendered to the Stone Offer, whether the AUM Condition will be satisfied under the Arrangement Agreement and whether Starlight Capital will complete the transactions contemplated under the Arrangement Agreement.

Forward-looking statements necessarily involve risks, including, without limitation, risks associated with the ability of the parties to the Arrangement Agreement to satisfy their closing conditions, general business, economic and social uncertainties; the ability of the Corporation to continue as a going concern; the ability of the Corporation to continue to realize its assets and discharge its liabilities and commitments; the Corporation’s future liquidity position, and access to capital, to fund ongoing operations and obligations (including debt obligations); the ability of the Corporation to stabilize its business and financial condition; the ability of the Corporation to implement and successfully achieve its business priorities; the ability of the Corporation to comply with its contractual obligations, including, without limitation, its obligations under debt arrangements; the general regulatory environment in which the Corporation operates; the tax treatment of the Corporation and the materiality of any legal and regulatory proceedings; the general economic, financial, market and political conditions impacting the industry and markets in which the Corporation operates; the ability of the Corporation to sustain or increase profitability, fund its operations with existing capital and/or raise additional capital to fund its operations; the ability of the Corporation to generate sufficient cash flow from operations; the impact of competition; the ability of the Corporation to obtain and retain qualified staff, equipment and services in a timely and efficient manner (particularly in light of the Corporation’s efforts to restructure its debt obligations); and the ability of the Corporation to retain members of the senior management team, including but not limited to, the officers of the Corporation.

Events or circumstances may cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted, as a result of the risk factors set out and other known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of SIG. In addition, forward-looking statements or information are based on a number of factors and assumptions which have been used to develop such statements and information but which may prove to be incorrect and which have been used to develop such statements and information in order to provide stakeholders with a more complete perspective on SIG’s future operations. Such information may prove to be incorrect and readers are cautioned that the information may not be appropriate for other purposes. Although the Corporation believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements or information are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements because the Corporation can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. In addition to other factors and assumptions which may be identified herein, assumptions have been made regarding, among other things: the impact of competition and the general stability of the economic and political environment in which SIG operates. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list is not exhaustive of all factors and assumptions which have been used. As a consequence, actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. Furthermore, the forward-looking statements contained herein are made as at the date hereof and SIG does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable securities laws.

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