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Why Mackenzie Investments’ data breach is ‘so dangerous’



A data breach of social insurance numbers (SIN) belonging to the clientele of one of Canada’s largest investment firms is “so dangerous,” according to a former high-level employee at the company.

Terry Beck was the Manager of Operations at Mackenzie Investments, and an employee at the company for nearly 20 years, up until he retired in 2019. When he left, he divested his investments.

Yet a couple weeks ago, he said he received a letter from the corporation explaining that his SIN was compromised in a data breach.

Mackenzie informed clients in a letter dated April 27 that a third-party vendor, InvestorCOM Inc., was compromised by a cyber security incident related to data transfer supplier GoAnywhere. Clients’ account numbers, names, and addresses were also compromised, according to one of the letters, reviewed by CTV News Toronto.


“This is so dangerous,” Beck told CTV News Toronto. “It’s an opening of a door to a lot of places.”

To work in Canada or access government programs and benefits, a nine-digit number – known as a SIN – is assigned to an individual. It is “private” and “illegal” for anyone else to use, according to the federal government.

“It’s the gateway to the government,” Beck said.

He said that when he was manager of operations four years ago, SINs were not shared with third-party vendors and that the practice could lead to continued privacy breaches.

In a statement to CTV News Toronto on Monday, a Mackenzie spokesperson explained the company now uses SINs to identify and provide notifications to clients.

“Companies may use SINs as an identifier for reasons such as consolidating investor holdings so that fees associated with their account are reduced,” a spokesperson said.

“They may also share a client’s SIN as a unique identifier to third parties such as a dealer, group plan sponsor, and third-party service providers.”

Beck acknowledged the necessity of consolidating a client’s accounts, but he questioned why a random set of numbers couldn’t stand in as a unique identifier, instead of a highly sensitive form of government identification.

“It could rear its head at any time down the road,” Beck said.

In a statement issued following the ransomware attack, Mackenzie said it regrets the effects the breach has had on their clientele.

“Mackenzie takes privacy and data protection very seriously and we are committed to protecting the confidentiality of all personal information. We greatly regret any concern or inconvenience this incident may cause to our valued clients,” a company spokesperson said in the statement.

The spokesperson said there has been no evidence of data misuse at this point in time and that the company reported the incident to the federal privacy commissioner, in addition to provincial privacy commissions.


Shelly Rae, a Toronto resident and Mackenzie investor of about three decades, said she was concerned when she received a letter in the mail explaining that her personal information had been exposed.

“When someone has your name, phone number, address and SIN, that’s a pretty significant breach,” she said. “They can go on to steal your identity.”

After being notified that her information had been compromised, she said she spent about 10 hours on the phone in an attempt to sign up with a TransUnion credit monitoring service that Mackenzie is offering to impacted customers.

A Mackenzie spokesperson said the company is experiencing “particularly high volumes” of calls, leading to long wait times for victims of the breach seeking resources.

They said they “sincerely apologize” for the delays.

“The TransUnion call centres are doing their best to address all client concerns as quickly as possible by enhancing service capacity to help manage call volumes. We are proactively working with TransUnion to manage the high volume of calls and appreciate people’s patience,” the spokesperson said.

Despite credit monitoring services offered, Beck said “there’s nothing you can do” to change the fact that your SIN number is out there. “It will always be out there,” he said.



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Why has Labour U-turned on its green investment pledge? – Yahoo Canada Sports




A wind turbine being built near Workington

The promise was clear. And it was prominent.

At Labour’s 2021 conference, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves announced her ambition to be the UK’s first “green” chancellor.

To stress her bona fides, she pledged to invest £28bn a year, every year to 2030 to “green” the economy.


Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan was one of its defining policies. It gave the party a clear dividing line with government.

Ms Reeves said there would be “no dither, and no delay” in tackling the climate crisis.

It was also an answer to the government’s “levelling up” pledge.

The borrowed cash would underpin well-paid jobs in every corner of the UK in the energy sector.

So why has Ms Reeves kicked the pledge into the second half of the next Parliament, if Labour wins?

The first reason is obvious.

Ms Reeves now says she was “green” – in a different sense of the word – in 2021, in that she hadn’t foreseen what then-Prime Minister Liz Truss would do to the economy.

With interest rates up, the cost of borrowing rises too, making the £28bn pledge more expensive to deliver.

And Ms Reeves wants to emphasise that if any spending commitments clash with her fiscal rules, the rules would win every time.

But did the £28bn green pledge really clash with her rules?

In their own detailed briefing on their fiscal rules, Labour said: “It is essential that for our future prosperity that we retain the ability to borrow for investing in capital projects which over time will pay for themselves.

“And that is why our target for eliminating the deficit excludes investment.”

So borrowing to invest in the future technology and jobs shouldn’t fall foul of that fiscal rule.

Chart showing interest rate rises (May 2023)Chart showing interest rate rises (May 2023)

Chart showing interest rate rises (May 2023)

But there is another rule which Ms Reeves cited this morning – to have debt falling as a percentage of GDP or Gross Domestic Product, a measure of economic activity.

Meeting that rule may have contributed to putting the £28bn on the backburner – though I remember at the 2021 conference some senior Labour figures questioning the wisdom of borrowing the equivalent of half the defence budget every year even then.

And some senior figures in Labour are far less convinced that £28bn would necessarily bust the debt rule – economic forecasts can change by far greater margins.

One of the other justifications for the change of position is that £28bn shouldn’t be poured in to the economy straight away.

That’s because it will take time to train workers, to create and bolster supply chains. Hence “ramping up” to £28bn.

One shadow minister said that while today’s announcement felt like a bit of a handbrake turn, it was nonetheless inevitable and sensible.

The scale of the ambition remained the same, but pragmatically the shadow chancellor was simply not committing to spending which would be difficult to deliver.

But all this must have been known in 2021, too.

So why announce the U-turn today?

The change of position was discussed within Labour’s Treasury team for some time.

Engagement with investors convinced them the government itself may not need to pump in a huge amount of cash straight away – the private sector would provide green jobs without state help.

And while Ms Reeves has ditched the £28bn pledge in the first half of the Parliament, this doesn’t mean that a Labour government would spend nothing on its Green Prosperity Plan.

I understand cash will be prioritised for projects where the private sector would not commit without state assistance – nuclear and hydrogen for example.

But it seems clear that politics and not just economics played a role in today’s announcement.

Tory attacks

There have been grumbles and growls over how the policy has landed over the past two years within Labour’s ranks and internal criticism has increased, not receded.

One concern was that the amount to be borrowed – the £28bn – was better known than what the money would buy – from home insulation and heat pumps to new carbon capture technology.

But it was crystal clear this week that the Conservatives felt that they had seen a vulnerability that could be exploited.

The front page of the Daily Mail blared this week about the alleged dangers of the policy – the extra borrowing would put up interest and therefore mortgage costs.

The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies was also being cited by Conservative ministers.

Its director Paul Johnson had warned that while additional borrowing would pump money in to the economy, it also drives up interest rates.

As Labour has been attacking the Conservatives for their handling of the economy, and the “mortgage premium” they claim the government has caused, it was understandable that they did not want the same attack to be aimed at them, and Ms Reeves this morning sought to eliminate a potential negative.

As one Labour shadow minister put it: “They [the Conservatives] will be pulling their hair out that one of their attack lines has failed.”

Some in Labour’s ranks, though, believe the party should have insulated (no pun intended) itself from attack by making the case more stridently that borrowing to invest is different from borrowing to meet day-to-day spending.

Credibility is key

Labour’s opinion poll lead is wide but pessimists in their ranks fear it is shallow.

Establishing economic credibility is seen as key.

But while it may have been the lesser of two evils, today’s change of tack isn’t cost-free.

The party has committed to achieve a net-zero power system by 2030.

But with potentially significantly less investment, is this target in danger too?

And unlike many of the left-wing commitments that have been ditched – where the leadership don’t really mind the backlash – this was the shadow chancellor watering down her own highest-profile pledge.

That in itself has allowed the Conservatives to shout about Labour’s economic plans being “in tatters”.

As Labour is still committed to its Green Prosperity Plan – just not the original timescale – they will still claim they have clear dividing lines with the government.

But one of their key arguments has been this: With the US pouring subsidies in to domestic green industries, the UK will get left behind if it doesn’t follow suit. And fast.

A delay doesn’t destroy – but it does potentially weaken – the Labour case.

But there is another concern amongst those who are most certainly not on the Corbyn left.

Emphasising competence and fiscal credibility over climate change commitments could leave some target voters cold.

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FTX Made a Very Smart Investment That May Be Able to Pay Back Its Customers – Futurism




There could be a bright spot on the FTX balance sheet after all!


Though disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried generally didn’t exactly handle his customers’ money well — or, according to some former coworkers, legally — there may actually be one very bright spot on the defunct crypto exchange’s balance sheet: a massive investment into a buzzy AI startup which, according to new reporting from Semafor, may ultimately spell good news for former FTX customers.

Per Semafor, FTX appears to have made a $500 million dollar investment into Anthropic, an OpenAI rival that made waves back in January when its model was reported to have passed a blindly-graded George Mason University law and economics exam with flying colors (a claim, it’s worth noting, that was made weeks before the OpenAI-built GPT-4’s test-taking prowess was publicly known.)

And FTX isn’t the only high-profile Anthropic investor. Seemingly in a move to level the playing field in its battle with the financially tethered Microsoft and OpenAI, a little company known as Google, among other investors, invested $300 million into the AI firm back in February.


As a result of those cash infusions, in addition to the buzz around the AI market, Anthropic’s stock has been headed way up. As it stands, the AI firm is reportedly valued at a staggering $4.6 billion – and per Semafor, FTX’s major stake in the high-dollar firm could ultimately provide bankruptcy trustees with a way to pay FTX’s slighted customers back.


But that said, as Semafor points out, it might not be that simple.

When more traditional companies, which tend to have more traditional-slash-real assets — real estate, bonds, and more of the like — go bankrupt, there’s a fairly standardized, precedented rulebook for bankruptcy proceedings. Those proceedings often include some kind of “prepackaged” bankruptcy strategy designed to eke as much worth out of an asset’s value as possible while also attempting to make customers whole.

FTX, alternatively, as an unregulated business within an unregulated industry, reportedly didn’t have any such plan, and its assets are generally pretty far from traditional. And to that end, it’s also worth noting that the AI industry is still at the beginning of a gold rush. Anthropic has a stronger footing in the market than most, but whether it can stick it out with a multi-billion dollar valuation in the long run remains to be seen.

Still, FTX customers haven’t had good news in a while — and maybe, just this one time, a Bankman-Fried financial decision could actually pay off for them. Or at the very least, pay them back.

More on FTX: SBF and Friends Apparently Joked about Their “Tendency to Lose Track of Millions of Dollars in Assets”

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After receiving $15M bill, Victoria contractor learns of unwitting connection to investment scandal –




At first, Devin Hutchinson couldn’t quite make sense of the email from PricewaterhouseCoopers, sent on behalf of the Supreme Court of British Columbia demanding his general contracting business pay back over $15 million in loans and interest owed to a company he’s never dealt with.

“I thought it was some kind of a scam,” he said. 

Turns out, Hutchinson was partially right. Only the scam part happened months ago, when Greg Martel, the Victoria mortgage broker and alleged Ponzi-schemer, appeared to have used the name of Hutchinson Contracting on documents, purportedly to give an air of legitimacy to the fake investments into non-existent real estate projects he was peddling.


Hutchinson has never done business with Martel or his company and said he certainly has never received any loans.

“It’s been a shock … But we have absolutely nothing to hide,” said Hutchinson, who co-owns the company with his dad. 

“We’re staying positive and we will do anything and show anything [to help the investigation.] I just hope that they’re able to figure this all out.”

Martel and his company, Shop Your Own Mortgage (SYOM), owe close to a quarter billion dollars in missing investor funds. Martel himself is missing too, out of the country at an unknown location, not co-operating with court orders to produce financial documents and a sworn list of assets.

PwC, the court-appointed receiver, has been tasked with trying to untangle the web of Martel’s U.S. and Canadian investments and business interests to recover assets so hundreds of creditors can recoup some of what they’ve lost. 

Devin Hutchinson, left, and Scott Hutchinson, co-owners of Victoria’s Hutchinson Contracting, where shocked to receive a demand for loan repayment of $15 million. (submitted by Hutchinson Contracting)

Martel and SYOM were in the business of providing private bridge loans to real estate developers needing short term financing, attracting investor cash by promising annualized rates of return that often exceeded 100 per cent.

Hutchinson said according to PwC, Hutchinson Contracting was listed as receiving three such loans from Martel for three made-up projects.

“Apparently there were investments made for us to complete two custom homes for $5 million each and another one for something else,” he said. 

CBC reached out to Martel’s lawyer Ritchie Clark, who had no comment.

In an email to CBC last month, Martel denied he was running a Ponzi scheme. (A Ponzi scheme is a form of financial fraud where investors are lured into a non-existent enterprise that pays out early investors with the funds put in by investors who join later.)

A man speaks during a Facebook livestream.
According to clients, Greg Martel, sole director of My Mortgage Auction Corp., went online on a number of occasions to try to calm investors who were owed money. (VIMEO)

Martel started SYOM in about 2016. Earlier this year, investors started complaining about longer and longer delays in getting their investments paid out. Martel was quick to make assurances that everybody would get paid, attributing the problems to overwhelmed company systems from too many new people wanting in on the action. 

Soon after, the payouts stopped altogether and over a dozen investors brought civil suits against Martel. 

Martel and SYOM were put into receivership in early May at the request of an investor who is owed $17.6 million.

PwC reported the SYOM company bank account had $58 million dollars flow in and out in the last six months, but by the time the account was seized, there was less than $300 remaining.

Investigators also said they had only been able to locate superficial documentation about the SYOM bridge loans, and nothing that identified who the loans were made to. 

A clearer picture of Martel’s actions  — and whether there is reason for investors to feel optimistic — is expected to emerge Friday morning when the case returns to B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.

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