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Last week’s best reads: BMO, CIBC, Barrick and CPPIB

New BMO chief Darryl White leaves deal-making past behind

Early in Gord Nixon's run as CEO of Royal Bank of Canada, his former investment banking partners started quietly complaining the new boss had forgotten his roots, because he was directing the bank's considerable resources away from capital markets and into wealth management acquisitions.

The same grumbling played out three years ago when Brian Porter took the reins at Bank of Nova Scotia, with i-bankers whining they were not feeling the love from their one-time teammate, who now seemed fixated on credit cards and fintech.

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Brace for similar muttering and sputtering out of Bank of Montreal when former media and telecom deal-maker Darryl White takes over as CEO in November. Story

CIBC chief pitches merits of richer bid for PrivateBanCorp

The head of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce made his case to shareholders Thursday for the proposed $4.9-billion (U.S.) purchase of Chicago-based PrivateBancorp Inc., a week after hiking the offer price by 20 per cent.

Chief executive officer Victor Dodig sought to reassure investors that he expects the transaction to close within months, allowing CIBC to start executing its long-awaited U.S. expansion plans. In prepared remarks at the bank's annual meeting in Ottawa, he said that, even though CIBC has had to dig deeper into its coffers in the hope of sealing the deal, there is still room for PrivateBank, as it is known, to grow. Story

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Caisse deputy heeds 'calling' in move to join French politics

The chief investment officer of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec has left his post to join the political campaign of centrist French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, saying he could not sit idly and watch his native country potentially fall into the hands of the extreme right.

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Roland Lescure described his decision to switch gears at the age of 50 as "a calling" that became progressively clearer in his mind after the shocks of Britain voting to leave the European Union and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump. He said he sees both events as a victory of fear over hope, of simple solutions over the profound thinking necessary in a complex world. Story

Barrick's Argentina deal furthers Peter Munk's dream of close China ties

Barrick Gold Corp. chairman John Thornton is closer to fulfilling company founder Peter Munk's dream of aligning the Canadian gold miner with China.

Barrick has formed its second so-called strategic partnership with a Chinese company, with a deal to sell half of a top Argentinian mine to state-owned Shandong Gold Group for $960-million (U.S.) and a promise to work together on the mothballed Pascua Lama project in South America. Story

Goldman Sachs names Luke Gordon head of Canadian mergers and acquisitions

Investment bank Goldman Sachs & Co. signalled it expects the torrid pace of cross-border takeover activity to continue by naming a veteran deal maker to the newly created role of head of Canadian mergers and acquisitions.

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Goldman recently announced that Toronto-based managing director Luke Gordon, who joined the firm in 1999, is taking responsibility for advising Canadian clients on takeovers, as part of the global team that focuses on M&A assignments. Story

CPPIB to build malls as India mulls more access for foreign retailers

International retailers are looking to India's emerging middle class to spur sales growth, and Canada's largest pension fund is taking notice.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board said on Wednesday it would launch a partnership to buy and build retail-focused developments across the country. CPPIB, which has also been busy investing in malls in China's developing economy, will partner with developer Phoenix Mills Ltd. in the venture. CPPIB plans to spend $330-million over all for a 49-per-cent stake in the investment platform. Story

Green bond market soars to new heights, but confusion over 'greenness' lingers

Green bonds have taken on a new sheen amid a surge in institutional investor interest and a heightened environmental focus among global governments, but the asset class is still wrestling with issues of transparency and standardization a decade after it was formed.

Issuance of this unique type of debt, sold by corporations and governments to back climate or environmental initiatives, more than doubled last year on a global basis to $82-billion, according to a new report from RBC Capital Markets. And that's poised to accelerate even further as countries such as Canada, the U.S. and China launch infrastructure building and climate initiatives. At the same time, large institutional investors including major Canadian pension funds have said that they will increasingly be sizing up their potential investment targets' climate risks, and some have growing pools of capital earmarked for green investments. Story

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