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IG's new investment strategist has a plan for inflation – Investment Executive



Petursson joins IG Wealth at another troubling juncture, with inflation at levels not seen in about three decades, and with interest rates forecast to rise as many as four times by the end of 2022.

As part of Petursson’s new role, he evaluates such conditions and builds out IG’s investment strategy to help the firm’s financial advisors and clients.

Petursson joined IG in September after more than 20 years at Manulife Financial Corp., starting as director of investment marketing at John Hancock Retirement Plan Services in 1999 (which, at the time, was Manulife Group Pensions U.S.). He was Manulife Investment Management’s chief investment strategist and head of capital markets research when he left the firm last year.

At IG, Petursson will continue to analyze the economic forces that will affect investors in 2022.

Petursson said the Bank of Cana­da and the U.S. Federal Reserve Board are out of step with current economic conditions. “The central banks are behind the curve,” he said. “The U.S. economy is quite strong. And yet the Federal Reserve is acting — in terms of how slow they are to remove the monetary stimulus — as if there are concerns with the U.S. economy. But I don’t see any cause for concern for the U.S. economy in 2022.”

Rather, Petursson expressed concern about persistent inflation early in 2021. This year, he said, contributions to inflation will be more static and come from higher rents in both the U.S. and Canada, as well as upward wage pressure due to labour shortages and a higher minimum wage of $15 per hour for workers in federally regulated sectors in Canada, which kicked in on Dec. 29.

But, “ultimately, it comes back to the monetary expansion that we saw in 2020 [and] 2021, with governments and central banks basically injecting cash into economies. That cash alone is going to be a significant contributor to lasting inflation over time,” Petursson said.

Petursson noted some, but not all, inflation pressures will alleviate as supply chain pressures ease.

Higher inflation tends to lead to downward pressure on price/earnings multiples, Petursson said. “That’s simply because future earnings in an inflationary environment are worth less today. So, you have to discount those forward earnings, which is going to put downward pressure on stock multiples in the current environment,” he added.

That pressure was on display early this year as expensive tech stocks sold off, driving equities markets lower. Overall, IG Wealth projects that equities returns for 2022 will hover in the mid-single digit range, following a year when the S&P 500 composite index returned 26.9% and the S&P/TSX composite index returned 21.7%.

“As clients open up their 2021 statements, they’re going to be quite pleased with the returns the market has delivered. What we shouldn’t do is extrapolate that into 2022,” Petursson said. “We’ve seen this over time: following a good year, investors plow into equities. That, I think, in 2022, would be too risky.” He recommended inves­tors adjust their return assumptions “to be more realistic to the environment.”

While 2022 will be a year of moderate economic growth, “that scenario typically bodes well for commodities, equities and, in particular, commodity-related equities or indexes like the S&P/TSX composite,” Petursson said.

High inflation is likely to create “a challenging environment” for bonds, Petursson said. As a result, he recommends overweighting equities — favouring Canadian, European and Asian markets, and slightly underweighting the higher-valued U.S. equities market — and underweighting fixed income.

“The next 12 months may be challenging for the typical 60/40 balanced fund. A reduced weight[ing of] fixed income to 30%, either through adding more equities or alternative asset classes, has advantages,” he said.

Even though IG predicts “low single-digit potential” for bond returns this year, investors shouldn’t abandon their defences, Petursson said, because bonds mitigate volatility.

With interest rate hikes expected to begin in April, Petursson noted, “high-yield bonds tend to be positively correlated to a rising rate environment,” so having some exposure may improve a portfolio’s overall return and reduce interest rate sensitivity.

Petursson also said financial stocks will do well in a rising rate environment because the financial services sector is attractively valued relative to the broader market, and banks should benefit from continued economic expansion.

As chief investment strategist, Petursson said he tries to make economic information accessible to ordinary people by providing real-world examples in both his presentations and write-ups.

“Leave the economic textbooks in the office and talk about the realities of increasing gas prices and what that does in terms of a household balance sheet and how that might alter spending habits, or shift spending habits, within a household,” Petursson said.

Petursson noted IG advisors can expect to see regular communication from him in the year ahead in the form of podcasts, market commentaries, events and more. He’ll address equities, fixed income and alternative markets “to help [advisors] when determining a suitable asset allocation for their clients or even just to gain a better understanding on the current market movements.”

He also established a new investment strategy for IG that takes a data-driven approach to adapt to new information as it becomes available.

“What I’m really trying to avoid is being stuck in my views,” Petursson said. “If you don’t respect the data as it becomes available, you can miss opportunities and put yourself in a position to do harm by sticking too long in one strategy or not recognizing the opportunities in front of you.”

The strategy also involves not fixating on valuations.

The market has been overvalued many times before, Petursson explained: “And [that] doesn’t tell us anything about what is likely to transpire over the short term. So, don’t use valuation as a short-term guide. Respect it, understand it, but don’t manage to it. Because if you do, you could go years of missed opportunities before the realities of higher valuation come to the forefront.”

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City investments dropped nearly $5M during this year's first quarter – Moose Jaw Today



The City of Moose Jaw’s investment portfolios lost nearly $5 million during the first quarter of this year due to — among other things — jittery stock markets, the war in Ukraine and increasing inflation.

During city council’s May 24 regular meeting, council received the investment committee’s report with results from the first quarter of 2022. Council then voted unanimously to receive and file the document.

There was $79,923,836.46 in the long-term portfolio and $29,485,162.61 in the moderate-term portfolio as of March 31, for a total of $109,408,999.07, the report showed. In comparison, as of Dec. 31, 2021, those values were $83,929,536.26, $30,245,558.98, and $114,175,095.24, respectively.

Long-term portfolio

From Jan. 1 to March 31, the long-term portfolio decreased by 4.77 per cent and lost $4,005,699.80. This dropped the portfolio to $79,923,836.46 from $83,929,536.26. 

Moderate-term portfolio

From Jan. 1 to March 31, the moderate-term portfolio decreased by 2.51 per cent and lost $760,396.37. This dropped the portfolio to $29,485,162.61 from $30,245,558.98.

Combined, both portfolios lost $4,766,096.17 during the first quarter, equal to 15.3 percentage points in municipal taxation. 

Since the inception of these portfolios in 2019, they have provided total returns of $18,484,248.18. 

Portfolio changes

During the investment committee’s meeting, it made two changes to how money from the long-term portfolio is invested.

Mayor Clive Tolley moved that $2.71 million from that portfolio be invested in the City of Moose Jaw’s operating account; that motion was approved.

Tolley also moved that the municipality establish a $2-million position into iShares Global Quality Dividend over time; that motion was approved.

Future outlook

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could lead to a drawn-out period of uncertainty, with the invasion devastating the latter’s economy and harsh sanctions that limit the flow of money, goods and technology affecting the former’s economy, portfolio manager RBC Dominion Securities said in its report.

Due to this war, the financial institution projected a reduction of 0.7 per cent in the eurozone’s GDP growth this year to three per cent and a decrease of 0.3 per cent in the U.S.’s GDP growth to 3.1 per cent. 

“From a long-term perspective, the Russian-Ukraine war brings a range of potential implications, including a new Cold War, increased military spending, nuclear proliferation and a heightened motivation to shift energy supplies toward renewables,” RBC added.

Meanwhile, economic recovery worldwide is slowing because of the pandemic, tightening financial conditions, slowing Chinese growth, reduced U.S. spending and elevated inflation levels, the report said.

Global growth will likely decelerate to 3.6 per cent this year compared to 6.2 per cent last year. Developed-world growth will fall to three per cent from 5.1 per cent, while growth in emerging markets will slow to 4.1 per cent from 7.3 per cent last year. 

RBC predicted that the damage from sanctions against Russia will be unclear, which means the risk for a recession in the United States this year is higher than ever.

Inflation is also punching the United States — and the world — in the gut and running at the highest levels seen in decades, RBC said. The main drivers are surging commodity prices, supply-chain problems, stimulative central banks, labour shortages and a worldwide housing boom. 

“We continue to believe that inflation will, over a longer-term horizon, eventually fully revert to normal, with aging populations and slower population growth even bringing inflation down below historical norms,” the company added.

RBC added that the Russia-Ukraine war would alter the currency landscape, central banks will respond to inflationary pressures, the long-term direction for bond yields will remain up, stocks will have better return potential if earnings come through and re-deploying cash to bonds and stocks will be more attractive.

The next regular council meeting is Monday, June 13.

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DNA Pro Investment App Steals $38 Million from Users: Police – Jakarta Globe



Jakarta. The National Police on Friday named 14 suspects in the ongoing investigation into pyramid scheme-style investment app DNA Pro after thousands of users reported financial losses totaling Rp 551 billion ($38 million).

DNA Pro was one of the so-called trading robots taken down in a recent government crackdown on phony investment apps.

“There are at least 3,621 victims who have reported to the National Police Headquarters with a total loss of Rp 551.7 billion,” Special Economic Crime Director Brig. Gen. Whisnu Hermawan told a news conference in Jakarta.

He said 11 suspects are already in custody while three others remain at large.

“We believe that the three fugitives have fled to a foreign country,” he added.

The three are identified as DNA Pro’s co-founders Verawati and Devinata Gunawan and business development director Daniel Zii aka Fauzi.

Police have been investigating the suspected fraud since January when they decided to take down the app.

Whisnu said authorities have frozen 64 bank accounts with links to DNA Pro and a combined deposit of Rp 105.5 billion, seized Rp 112.5 billion in banknotes of various denominations, and confiscated 20 kilograms of gold and 14 luxury cars.

An unspecified number of properties have also been sealed during the police investigation.

“We don’t stop there because investigators and their colleagues from the [anti-money laundering agency] PPATK continue to trace assets here and abroad,” Whisnu said.

The officer added that DNA Pro has committed to “manipulative investment” without a proper trading mechanism and any government license.

All the 11 suspects in custody including president director Daniel Abe were presented at the news conference.

Daniel offered an apology to users and colleagues but argued that the initial idea was not to develop a pyramid scheme investment app.

“It grew so rapidly in terms of [the number of] users while our system was not fully ready yet that it developed into a pyramid scheme,” Daniel said.

Other suspects are identified as Rudi Kusuma, Robby Setiadi, Dedi Tumiadi, Yosua Trisutrisno, Franky Yulianto, Russel, Jerry Gunandar, Stefanus Richard, Hans Andre, and Muhammad Asad.

They could face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison if convicted of financial scams.

The app offered big investment returns and even higher commissions if users could bring new signups. It hired celebrities and prominent people to convince new users.

Actress Una Astari Thamrin once spoke highly of the app but last month she claimed that she too was a victim after being interrogated by police.

Una was promised six Honda cars in return for a certain level of investment and a certain number of new recruits in DNA Pro, a lawyer for the actress said.

“She and her family fall victims to DNA Pro because she has invested Rp 1.5 billion but could only withdraw Rp 603 million,” Yafet Rissy said. 

The lawyer claimed that Una wasn’t involved in the DNA Pro management although she was hired to appear in promotion programs on three occasions.

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BC investing more than $2.4 billion in Metro Vancouver transit improvements | BC Gov News – BC Gov News



The Province is supporting public transit expansion for people in Metro Vancouver through a significant investment in TransLink that will mean better and more convenient service, lower emissions, and healthier, more livable communities

B.C. is contributing more than $2.4 billion to advance key transit and infrastructure priorities, including the Surrey Langley Skytrain and electrification of the bus fleet, as part of its ongoing commitment to fund 40% of the Mayors’ Council 10-Year Vision.

“We’re making investments to support a better future for people throughout Metro Vancouver with more affordable and convenient travel options, cleaner air and less climate pollution,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Minister Responsible for TransLink. “By supporting TransLink to help provide public transit options that connect us to our communities, workplaces, friends and families, we’re building more vibrant communities with easier access to jobs, housing, recreation and services people depend on.” 

TransLink’s investment plan includes actions to: maintain and expand transit service; support faster, more reliable bus service through bus-priority infrastructure; transition bus fleets from diesel to zero-emission vehicles; and increase active transportation investments. The plan will help TransLink replace more than one third of its diesel bus fleet with approximately 500 battery-electric buses and buses that run on renewable natural gas. It will also provide opportunities to build more complete, liveable communities with affordable housing and increased density around transit lines.

“It has been a challenging few years, and we thank the provincial government for its commitment to ensure transit continues to serve residents throughout Metro Vancouver,” said Kevin Quinn, CEO of TransLink. “This investment plan and the Province’s support will ensure that TransLink is on solid ground while advancing priority projects for the region.”

This new commitment builds on previous provincial funding in TransLink’s 2018 investment plan, which funded increased bus and HandyDART services, better and expanded SkyTrain service, and construction of the Broadway subway.

“The 2022 investment plan will stabilize transit funding for the region and put us in a stronger position to advance Transport 2050’s vision for a more livable and sustainable region,” said Jonathan Coté, mayor of New Westminster and chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation. “We are grateful for the Province’s continued support for better public transit and sustainable communities across Metro Vancouver.”

The TransLink investment plan means better transit services for people and also supports the Province’s climate-change and clean-economy objectives through the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030. The CleanBC Roadmap is the Province’s plan to expand and accelerate climate action by building on its natural advantages – abundant and clean electricity, innovative technology and a highly skilled workforce. The CleanBC Roadmap sets a path for increased collaboration to build a British Columbia that works for everyone.

Quick Facts:

  • The Province partnered with the federal government in 2020 to provide TransLink more than $675 million in Safe Restart funding to ensure continued essential transit services for 2020 and 2021, to keep fare increases capped at 2.3% until the end of 2024, and to enable free transit for children 12 and younger.
  • In April 2022, an additional $176 million in provincial and federal funding was announced for TransLink for 2023 to 2025.

Learn More:

To learn more about the Mayors’ Council 10-Year Vision, visit:

To learn more about the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, visit:   

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