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New York City, Oct. 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — WPSS Investments, a pioneer biotech Venture Capital fund focused on brain health and psychedelic medicine, celebrates the successful IPO of its portfolio company Compass Pathways. 

On September 18th, 2020 Compass Pathways was listed (NASDAQ:CMPS, ISIN:US20451W1018), making it the first psychedelic company to be listed on a U.S. exchange. CMPS´s price per share has surged more than 100% since its initial listing price of 17USD, turning it into the most valuable and first unicorn psychedelic medicine company in the world.

Compass Pathways, was co-founded several years ago by George Goldsmith and Ekaterina Malievskaia who experienced the painful effects of depression within their own family.  Together Lars Christian Wilde they set out to develop psilocybin (the active compound in magic mushrooms) for use in patients with treatment-resistant depression. Compass Pathways is currently in phase II trials of the FDA which should bring in promising results in 2021.

WPSS invested in Compass Pathway’s series B alongside Founders Fund and McQuade/Otsuka. Compass Pathways IPO marks the first liquidity event for WPSS. In addition, WPSS has recently made other investments in revolutionary treatments and cures for neuropsychiatric disorders. These include Perception Neuroscience, a start-up that is developing r-ketamine as the safest rapid-acting antidepressant in the market, and ATAI Lifesciences, a neuropsychiatric company with the broadest portfolio of psychedelic compounds. 

The mental health crisis is one that has been present throughout recorded history and has intensified in past decades.  One in ten people currently suffer from a psychopathology and it is estimated that between 30-50% of the world population will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their life.  The isolation, loss and uncertainty felt during the COVID-19 crisis has served to further highlight the magnitude and importance of this parallel, silent epidemic. It is estimated that severe mental illness shortens life span by 10 -25 years The yearly global direct and indirect cost of these diseases is estimated to be $2.5 trillion.

Although neuropsychiatric disorders are both widespread and costly, treatments available are scarce and highly ineffectual. For example, about 30% of depression patients do not respond to any currently available treatment. New treatments are desperately needed and psychedelics are paving the way to a new era of mental health. Sonia Weiss Pick, Co-Founder at WPSS Investments, says “Psychedelics have been used by humans as tools for healing for millennia.  Ample clinical trials have shown that these compounds are both safe and non-addictive if used correctly. Additional studies are being conducted to establish its full therapeutic potential and the mechanisms by which they act on the body. I am convinced that psychedelic medicine will forever change our understanding of brain health.”

About WPSS Investments 

WPSS Investments is a Venture Capital fund focused on finding the most revolutionary diagnostics, treatments and cures for neuropsychiatric disorders. Founded and led by an entrepreneurial investment team, WPSS provides funds early stage companies led by business savvy scientists and engineers with a drive to change the world. WPSS’ Investments span psychedelic medicine, non-invasive devices, novel biomarkers and diagnostics, amongst others.

Daniel Weiss Pick


Phone: (917) 582-1440


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Analysis: U.S. investment bankers' new pitch – Biden's tax hike – The Journal Pioneer



By Joshua Franklin and Chibuike Oguh

(Reuters) – Investment bankers keen to win lucrative assignments have a new pitch for U.S. corporate owners: hire us to sell your company now or pay at least twice as much in taxes if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has his way.

Biden has proposed raising the capital gains tax rate from 20% to 39.6% for those making over $1 million. He would also increase the corporate income tax rate from 21% to 28%.

Biden would have to win the presidency and his Democratic Party would have to gain control of the Senate and keep control of the House of Representatives in the Nov. 3 election for his tax proposals to become law. While far from certain, this prospect has been seized on by bankers hungry for new business.

“We urge all of our current and potential clients to take note of the potential forthcoming changes, along with their associated consequences, as they consider an exit strategy for their business in the near future,” Houlihan Lokey Inc bankers wrote in a note earlier this month.

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The investment bankers’ pitch is geared toward individuals and families, as well as private equity firms, who control companies and can decide when to sell them. It also targets company founders, who may only sell one business in their lifetime, making it the most important transaction of their lives.

The strategy appears to be working. Sales of privately held U.S. companies totaled a record $253 billion in the third quarter, up fivefold from the second quarter and up 51% from the third quarter of 2019, according to financial data provider Dealogic. This is despite the COVID-19 pandemic suppressing corporate valuations in some sectors.


“Since the summer we have seen a lot of dialogue from family offices about exploring a sale of some assets. Many of these investors are sophisticated about how they handle their affairs from a tax perspective,” said David Perdue, a partner in investment bank PJT Partners Inc’s strategic advisory group.

One of the U.S. companies pursuing a deal because of tax considerations is Asplundh Tree Expert LLC, a family-controlled tree-trimming firm, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

The family that has owned Asplundh since 1928 has been keen to hold onto the company and resisted overtures to sell to private equity firms hungry for a quick flip. When one of these firms, CVC Capital Partners Ltd, convinced the Asplundh family to sell it a minority stake in 2017, it had to use a buyout fund it manages that is dedicated to retaining holdings for a decade or more, rather than cashing out after a few years.

Now the Asplundh family is working with investment bankers to cash out on part of its stake, partly because of its concerns about upcoming changes in the tax system, one of the sources said. It is seeking a valuation for Asplundh of as much as $10 billion, according to the sources. Asplundh did not respond to a request for comment.

Even if Biden wins and implements his tax plan, corporate owners may still have time to cash out. Most of President Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts, which were enacted into law in 2017, became effective in 2018, a year after he came into office.

Still, the big uptick in the divestitures of privately owned companies shows how some of their owners view Biden’s election victory, and subsequent tax changes, as likely.


Goldman Sachs Group Inc advised on more sales of privately held U.S. companies year-to-date than any other, followed by Morgan Stanley , JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America Corp , according to Dealogic.

To be sure, getting the best price is still the overriding consideration for corporate sellers, rather than saving on taxes, investment bankers said. Private equity firms, in particular, are wary of being criticized by investors if they think they sold a company for the tax benefit of buyout fund managers, rather than getting the best price.

“There is a tax consideration and there is a more strategic consideration. The tax consideration only applies if you are ready to sell and could attain attractive valuation multiples that could lead to a successful sale,” said Solon Kentas, co-head of M&A for the Americas at UBS Group AG

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin and Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Lisa Shumaker)

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The CPP fund aligns the pursuit of a cleaner planetwith its investment goals –



As CPP Investments winds down its 2020 public meetings in each province, we welcome perspectives on one of society’s greatest challenge — climate change. This universal threat is real, serious and happening now. All of us should be asking ourselves whether we are acting responsibly in the face of it.

Multiple dimensions define our approach. Our exposure to conventional energy as a percentage of our overall investment portfolio has dropped precipitously to 2.6 per cent today from 4.6 per cent three years ago. Over this same period, our investments in renewable energy have increased exponentially by nearly 10,000 per cent to $6.6 billion.

We might be urged to abandon our own investment thesis and engagement work and simply divest from conventional energy according to a specific target linked to policies of government, from which we must always remain independent. Such a target, by definition, is a matter of wider public policy, not an investment decision, in stark contrast to clear objectives enshrined in our enabling legislation. Importantly, we are equally accountable to 10 governments so that would involve administering diverse policies with varied interests and approaches to the energy evolution.

If not politics, what drives our investment thesis? Insights from real-time analysis of powerful climate-related trends in household and corporate consumption, technology and innovation, and global regulatory developments orient our compass and momentum. The question is whether our approach is in the best interests of contributors and beneficiaries.

This question was foremost in the minds of federal and provincial governments in 1997. The clarity of the CPPIB Act they promulgated is rooted in the looming crisis the legislation sought to avert. Simply put, the Canada Pension Plan was running out of money.

The CPP Fund was exclusively composed of low-yield government bonds at the time. Exposing it to global capital markets was viewed as part of the solution and so an independent organization of investment professionals was established to manage the fund to achieve a maximum rate of return without taking excessive risk, recognizing that having a multitude of objectives would hamstring the fund. The Right Honourable Paul Martin, Canada’s finance minister at the time, emphasized the wisdom of clarity:

“By placing the focus on maximizing returns, all other potential distractions are eliminated. Markets don’t need to fret that investments are being guided by political considerations. Managers are liberated to pursue the best possible financial strategies. And pensioners can be reassured by the fact that the CPP will be used to benefit retirees — and only retirees.”

Consequently, the CPPIB Act sets no ancillary policy requirements. Invoking some amorphous duty — removed from clear investment parameters — simply contradicts our mandate.

From our perspective, climate change is not only an existential threat, but is also a long-term investment risk. It impacts our analysis and actions on virtually every sector of the global economy — beyond fossil fuels. Our approach is well-documented in our “Report on Sustainable Investing” published in September.

Since inception 21 years ago, our investment strategy has evolved considerably to reflect global best practices, emerging risks and opportunities, and trends described above. Governments, investors and other organizations around the world uphold our framework as the gold standard for pension funds. Our financial performance — 10-year annualized rate of return of 10.7 per cent — is the fruit of a framework determined by Canada’s policy-makers who collectively understood the severity of the challenges associated with sustaining a national fund over many generations.

Sustainability unquestionably involves addressing climate risk. But that is only part of the definition.

Sustainability also applies to the solvency of a fund that promises to provide benefits to workers whose financial future is undeniably more challenging than it is for baby boomers. Young Canadians today will retire into an economy with far fewer workers contributing to the CPP. In 2006, there were more than five Canadians aged 15 to 64 years for each person aged 65 and older. By 2056, there will be an estimated 2.2 working-age persons for each person aged 65 years and older.

Maintaining a solvent national fund is a perpetually difficult challenge and one that requires laser focus, without interference. Politicians make policy, we make investments, and 20 million Canadians sleep more soundly knowing their financial security in retirement is our purpose.

Shackling our progress to non-investment targets, perhaps imposed by external pressure, is precisely what the CPPIB Act sought to avoid. Meanwhile, we firmly believe there is a way to align the pursuit of a cleaner planet and meet our investment goals. Divestment, external pressure and arbitrary targets are excluded from our investment process. They simply do not work.



Divestment is attractively simple. But it also means walking away from the opportunity to bring about change. Engaging with, and demanding greater transparency by, investees on the measurable progress of their climate strategies is constructive. Working with energy companies to accelerate the transition to cleaner energy sources is productive. Divesting from companies that are making a real difference in how we generate energy is counterproductive, akin to betting against human ingenuity and innovation.

We do not downplay the severity of climate change by any means. It is among the most significant challenges of our time, and the actions we are taking today to address both the risks and the opportunities are in the best interests of contributors and beneficiaries.

Michel Leduc is senior managing director and global head of public affairs and communications for Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

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RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust Announces Senior Executive Management and Board Changes – GlobeNewswire



  • Edward Sonshine, O. Ont., Q.C. to transition from Chief Executive Officer to Non-Executive Chairman on April 1, 2021;
  • Jonathan Gitlin to be appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer

TORONTO, Oct. 21, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust (“RioCan” or the “Trust”) (TSX: REI.UN) today confirmed that, as previously announced, RioCan’s founder, Edward Sonshine, O. Ont., Q.C., will retire as Chief Executive Officer of the Trust on March 31, 2021. Mr. Sonshine will become Non-Executive Chairman of RioCan’s Board of Trustees (the “Board”) effective April 1, 2021. Mr. Paul V. Godfrey, C.M., Chairman of the Board, has agreed to step down as Chairman of the Board effective April 1, 2021 and will serve as Lead Trustee.

RioCan is pleased to announce that the Board appoints Jonathan Gitlin, currently the Trust’s President and Chief Operating Officer, to succeed Mr. Sonshine as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 1, 2021. Effective April 1, 2021, concurrently with Mr. Gitlin’s appointment to the role of CEO, the Board has also agreed to appoint Mr. Gitlin as an additional Trustee to the Board.

“The Board is very pleased to announce both Jonathan Gitlin as Mr. Sonshine’s successor as CEO, and Mr. Sonshine’s continued involvement in the leadership of the Trust following his retirement,” said Paul V. Godfrey, C.M., Chairman of the Board. “Given Mr. Gitlin’s long and successful history at RioCan, currently as President and Chief Operating Officer, and Mr. Sonshine’s continued involvement as Non-Executive Chairman, the Board is confident that we will have a seamless transition of leadership in 2021.”

Mr. Gitlin joined RioCan in 2005 and progressed through a series of key leadership roles leading to his appointment as President and Chief Operating Officer in March 2019. Mr. Gitlin is an accomplished, strategic leader, and as the head of the Trust’s Investment team since 2007, he has played a significant role in RioCan’s tremendous growth, including responsibility for the execution of the Trust’s residential program, RioCan LivingTM. In addition, as part of RioCan’s accelerated major market strategy, Mr. Gitlin drove RioCan’s secondary market disposition program, resulting in the Trust now generating 90% of its revenue from major markets, and 50% from the Greater Toronto Area. Mr. Gitlin’s broad experience and industry acumen has allowed him to effectively, efficiently and responsibly lead RioCan’s Operations team through the current global pandemic and its myriad of economic implications. Consistent with RioCan’s long-standing principles, Mr. Gitlin has mobilized the RioCan team to address changing market dynamics in a manner that prioritizes the long-term wellbeing of the business, and all its stakeholders.

“I am pleased to have confirmed the arrangements for my succession in 2021, which we first announced last year and have now finalized,” said Mr. Sonshine. “During my remaining time as Chief Executive Officer, I will focus on overseeing continued execution of RioCan’s strategy and major initiatives as well as preparing for an orderly transition of my duties. I would like to congratulate Jonathan Gitlin for this well-deserved promotion to RioCan’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Jonathan’s integrity, decisiveness, credibility and unwavering focus on sustainable growth make him the ideally suited to lead the Trust. I have great confidence in Jonathan and I look forward to working with him as Non-Executive Chairman as we overcome the current industry challenges and capitalize on evolving opportunities to position RioCan for the next phase of its growth and success.”

About RioCan

RioCan is one of Canada’s largest real estate investment trusts. RioCan owns, manages and develops retail-focused, increasingly mixed-use properties located in prime, high-density transit-oriented areas where Canadians want to shop, live and work. As at June 30, 2020, our portfolio is comprised of 221 properties with an aggregate net leasable area of approximately 38.6 million square feet (at RioCan’s interest) including office, residential rental and 15 development properties. To learn more about us, please visit

Forward Looking Information

This news release contains forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. This information includes, but is not limited to, statements concerning RioCan’s objectives, its strategies to achieve those objectives, as well as statements with respect to management’s beliefs, plans, estimates, and intentions, and similar statements concerning anticipated future events or expectations that are not historical facts. Forward-looking information generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may”, “will”, “would”, “expect”, “ intend”, “estimate”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “plan”, or similar expressions suggesting future outcomes or events. Such forward-looking information reflects management’s current beliefs and is based on information currently available to management. All forward-looking information in this News Release is qualified by these cautionary statements.

Forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future events or performance and, by its nature, is based on RioCan’s current estimates and assumptions, which are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including that the events contemplated herein are completed as contemplated, which could cause actual events or results to differ materially from the forward-looking information contained in this News Release. Although the forward looking information contained in this News Release is based upon what management believes are reasonable assumptions, there can be no assurance that actual results will be consistent with these forwarding-looking statements. Except as required by applicable law, RioCan undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

For further information contact:

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust
Qi Tang
SVP and Chief Financial Officer

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