Did you miss the TMA – Toronto Chapter 2015 Symposium?  Here are some of our notes:

Session – Cross Country Economic Update

  • 3 economists provided their GDP estimates for 2015 – 1) less than 2%; 2) less than 2%; 3) more than 2%. All depending upon a strong Q3 and Q4.
  • Main reason for Canada’s economic slowdown is the decrease in oil prices.
  • Price of oil should rise to $65-$70 per barrel. Capped here by supply of shale oil.
  • Interest rates should not be increased until next year.
  • Canadian Dollar should range from $0.78 to $82 in 2015.
  • Core inflation (excluding food and gas) should trend around 2%.
  • Canadian economy is not as diverse as it was 15 years ago, due to proportionate growth of resources industries and the decrease in manufacturing.

Keynote Speaker – Bonnie Brooks – Vice-Chair Hudson’s Bay Company

  • Ms. Brooks started with Holt Renfrew. Worked in Hong Kong for Lane Crawford. Richard Baker recruited Ms. Brooks to be President of The Bay in 2008.
  • Keys to Hudson’s Bay successful turnaround: 1) Use of large real estate holdings across country as an asset, not liability; 2) Brought in many brands and dedicated store real estate to them; 3) Fashion is a pillar going forward and less emphasis on electronics and traditional department retail sales; 4) Create employment culture where employees can truly contribute in team approach.
  • Ms. Brooks motto: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
  • Important Strategic Methodology: Creative Visioning – 1) Team needs to visualize; 2) And their particular roles; 3) And must be able to spell out competitive advantages.
  • Use Creative Visioning for business and for your personal life.
  • Nevertheless, importance of proper execution outstrips strategy.
  • In closing, Ms. Brooks emphasized that she’s honoured and proud to be a Canadian; and believes strongly in Canada’s leading entrepreneurialism in many sectors.

Session – Troubled Loans: Perspectives from Leading Special Loan Officers Across Canada

  • View of Canada’s recent economic trends given: 1991/1995 – real estate debacle; 1999/2000 – Telecom/tech meltdown; 2008/now – “flatline”
  • Not optimistic of outlook primarily given decrease in oil price and its importance to Canadian economy. “We will be busy” — as special loans officers.
  • BC Outlook: Some cracks, but stable if real estate stays stable. Many foreign investors in BC. Worry is if a decrease in prices, may accelerate from foreign investors “voting with their feet.”
  • Alberta Outlook: Concern about effect of decrease in oil. Have to re-assess the effect later in year. Concern for small loans ($5-$10M).
  • Need pipeline badly because of limited refining capacity.
  • Ontario Outlook: Decrease in manufacturing. Decrease in employment. Effect of “buy America” will continue to hurt Ontario.
  • In summary: Canadian economy has been carried by the oil and gas industry and a stable real estate market. Must closely monitor through rest of 2015.


Posted by Ray Kindiak,  Managing Director, Range Advisors

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