07 Oct 2011

Véronique Denys, Tax Manager with the Québec City office, is off on another adventure after having made her dream of conquering Everest come true last May. Véronique will now attempt to scale the Carstensz Pyramid in Oceania in order to complete the “Seven Summits” challenge.

The “Seven Summits” challenge consists in climbing the tallest mountain peaks of each of the seven continents—an international challenge coveted by the greatest mountaineers in the world. If Véronique manages to scale the Carstenz Pyramid, she will only have to climb to the top of the Vinson Massif in Antarctica to become the first Québecker ever to accomplish this epic feat.

“Now, I’m beginning to realize that I can make this happen. Before climbing Everest there was always a doubt, because you’re faced with so many unexpected occurrences in the Himalayas, but now, the dream that I’ve cherished for so long should be achieved before the end of the year, if all goes well”, said Véronique in an article that ran in Le Soleil on September 25. Best of luck, Véronique!

To relive the highlights of Véronique’s trek to the top of Everest, check out the moving video taken by Véronique on the tallest mountain in the world.

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06 Oct 2011

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is releasing the results of a survey on optimism among business executives. The findings gleaned from the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) indicate that Canada is doing well economically on the international stage. Canadian business executives are optimistic about hiring, GDP growth, and business profitability forecasts, as well as revenue and investment outlooks in infrastructures and machinery.

If Canada is 6th in the world behind the Philippines, Georgia, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Chile, it leads all Western nations, and is far head of the pack of European countries and the United States. This enviable position is primarily due to the robustness of the Canadian financial system and the strength of Loonie, which is spurring infrastructures and machinery investments.

That said, the global trend is quite downbeat, as the optimism level of business executives plummeted during the last quarter from 31% to a low of only 3%. This trend stands in very sharp contrast to the optimistic sentiment of Canadian business executives, which is still at 60%. Ominously, this uncertainty has also spread to key emerging markets, with both China and India seeing net optimism decline by 29 percentage points. The optimism of business owners in western markets has taken a hit as well: optimism nosedived from 42% to -2% in the U.S. and from 34% to 0% in the EU.

These figures are the worst since 2009, when we were in the midst of the global recession. The worrying thing is that negative sentiment about the wider economy is now damaging business growth prospects.

Businesses are telling us they feel they have no control over how things are going to turn out. There’s a perception that attempts to create stability and stimulate growth just haven’t worked. An economic outlook that appeared to be improving just three months ago has been replaced with one of total uncertainty. Moreover, rising shortages of demand were reported not just in Europe and North America but also in the BRIC, South East Asian and Asia-Pacific economies. Incidentally, two years ago the same survey indicated that the emerging markets would underpin the global recovery. But now they are also suffering a crisis of confidence.

This finding seems to refer in particular to the current economic uncertainty and financial instability prevailing internationally, and especially in Europe. Agreeing on a package of measures to restore both investor stability and confidence is arguably the single biggest challenge facing policymakers.

Click the following link to view the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR): http://www.grantthorntonibos.com/index.asp.

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06 Oct 2011

Good news! Raymond Chabot Inc. was awarded the 2011 Consumer Choice Excellence Award in the Trustee category for the Montréal region.

Éric Lebel, Partner, Reorganization, at the Brossard office, represented Raymond Chabot Inc. and received the honour during the Consumer Choice Award Gala on September 25, 2011.

The award was granted based on the results of a survey conducted by research firm Léger Marketing, which ranked the best enterprises selected by consumers and business people in their industry. In addition, the Consumer Choice Award is the only prize in North America that recognizes business excellence using a statistically valid survey conducted among consumers and businesses.

Thanks go out to all employees who have contributed to Raymond Chabot’s tradition of excellence over the last 60 years in individual insolvency and enterprise recovery and reorganization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partner Éric Lebel (left) receives the prize from Marcel Sbrollini, Consumer Choice Award President.

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04 Oct 2011

Toronto, October 4, 2011 – RBC Dexia Investor Services and Grant Thornton said today that 83 percent of Canadian defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors trust when they retire their organization’s DB plan will have sufficient money to pay them, while only 5 percent say they recall hearing about underfunding problems or deficits in DB plans.

In another key finding, 31 per cent of respondents said they don’t know what percentage of their current annual income they will need to achieve their expected standard of living in retirement. And when asked how they expect to enjoy themselves in retirement, 59 per cent of respondents expect to do things, such as travel, that they currently are unable to do prior to retirement.

In an effort to discover potential disconnects between plan sponsor realities and those of the plan members, RBC Dexia Investor Services and Grant Thornton sponsored a national survey to gauge the views of Canadians that participate in, or are currently benefitting from, a defined benefit pension plan.

Despite the ongoing financial uncertainty and current interest rate environment, more than 80 per cent of DB plan members responding to the survey, both in the private (82 per cent) and public (84 per cent) sectors, remain confident of their plan’s ability to provide for them upon retirement.

“Belief in the promise of a competitive pension payout remains strong in the minds of Canadian defined benefit plan members,” said Scott MacDonald, Head, Pensions, Insurance, Financial Institutions Product for RBC Dexia. “Even with the well-documented and highly-publicized challenges DB plans have faced, this research shows that plan members both rely on and trust that their retirement income will be there when they are ready to stop working.”

Overconfident and under informed?
However, when asked what they recall reading, seeing or hearing about company or union pension plans in Canada, only 5 percent could recall hearing about problems, and only 4 per cent indicated awareness that DB plans are becoming more rare and being phased out. Only a very small proportion recall hearing that DB plans are converting to defined contribution (DC) plans (5 per cent), that the numbers of DB plans is declining (3 per cent) or that employers want to opt out of plans and reduce benefits (2 per cent).

Regina Baezner, Principal, Pension and Benefit Practice, Grant Thornton LLP noted: “Plan members remain in the dark about the issues and challenges facing Canadian defined benefit plans. The pressure for DB plans to keep members aware of the viability and health of their plans increases with every new high profile plan that struggles, particularly in a financial market with so much uncertainty and tumult. ”

Attraction and retention
Plan sponsors should note that offering a defined benefit plan still goes a long away to attracting potential employees. 58 per cent of respondents agreed that the pension and retirement package was an important factor in their decision to join their current organization. The percentage was even higher for those in the public sector as 63 per cent were drawn to an organization because of their retirement benefits.

Key to retirement
Plan members’ confidence in their DB pension plans is also reflected in how much they intend to rely on that income stream in retirement – 74 per cent say it is their primary vehicle for retirement savings. On average, members expect 55.7 per cent of their retirement income to come from their DB plan. They expect a further 17.2 per cent to come from government sources, such as Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Old Age Security (OAS). Another 12.6 per cent is expected to come from Registered Savings Plans.

MacDonald added: “Plan members need to adjust their expectations or increase their savings to be able to enjoy their retirement while not earning a full income. It’s up to plan sponsors to help educate their members about the amounts that might be needed to enjoy a long and fruitful retirement scenario.”

Methodology
Data for the DB pension member study was collected online between April 28 and May 16, 2011. The study is based on survey results from 879 Canadians who participate in an employer- or union sponsored DB pension plan. An additional 127 Canadians who are offered but do not participate in their employer or union-sponsored DB pension plans also responded. The participant data is weighted according to Statistics Canada data, to accurately reflect the composition of DB plan members by gender, region and public versus private sector.

About RBC Dexia Investor Services
RBC Dexia Investor Services offers a complete range of investor services to institutions worldwide. Our unique offshore and onshore solutions, combined with the expertise of our 5,500 professionals in 15 markets, help clients grow their business and sustain enhanced performance through efficiency improvements and robust risk management practices.

Equally owned by RBC and Dexia, the company ranks among the world’s top 10 global custodians with USD 3.0 trillion in client assets under administration.

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For a full copy of the report, please click here, go to www.rbcits.com/ or www.grantthornton.ca. 

About Grant Thornton
Grant Thornton LLP is a leading Canadian accounting and advisory firm providing audit, tax and
advisory services to private and public organizations. Together with the Quebec firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton LLP, Grant Thornton in Canada has approximately 4,000 people in offices across Canada. Grant Thornton LLP is a Canadian member of Grant Thornton International Ltd, whose member firms operate in close to 100 countries worldwide. We believe strongly that our best work comes from combining outstanding technical expertise, knowledge and ability with exceptional client-focused service. A team-based approach defined by dedication to senior professional involvement in all engagements. That’s our service commitment, locally, nationally and— through our membership in Grant Thornton International Ltd—globally.

For more information, contact:

North America/Asia Pacific
Jason Graham
416-955-5800
[email protected]

Europe
Alex Clelland
+44 (0)20 7653 4329
[email protected]

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton
Christine Regimbal, partner – assurance
514-954-4697
[email protected]

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton
Marc A. Deschamps, partner – assurance
514-393-4704
[email protected]

 

RBC Dexia Investor Services Limited is a holding company that provides strategic direction and management oversight to its affiliates, including RBC Dexia Investor Services Trust, a trust company, supervised in Canada by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, and authorized to carry on business in the U.K. by the Financial Services Authority. All are licensed users of the RBC trademark (a registered trademark of Royal Bank of Canada) and Dexia trademark (a registered mark of Dexia Crédit Local) and conduct their global custody and investment administration business under the RBC Dexia Investor Services brand name.