Executives Say It’s More Challenging to be a Leader Today

Leading a business is only getting harder, recent research found. In a Robert Half Management Resources survey, 87 per cent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said it is more challenging to be a company leader today than it was five years ago.

But survey results also found many managers enjoy support from their teams. Seventy-nine per cent of workers surveyed expressed confidence in their leaders, while only 6 per cent do not feel confident at all.

Portrait of a young attractive business woman.

Provinces Where Leadership Challenges Have Risen Most
Below are the provinces where the difficulties of being in management have intensified the most over the past five years, based on the percentages of executives who said it is significantly or somewhat more challenging to be a company leader today.

  1. British Columbia (100 per cent)
  2. Alberta (98 per cent)
  3. Quebec (95 per cent)
  4. Manitoba (92 per cent)

Navigating the Changing Leadership Landscape
“Facing an ever-evolving corporate landscape, executives have to deal with the pressures of emerging trends that require them to continually reassess everything from technology and staffing challenges, to regulatory demands and compliance requirements,” said David King, Canadian president of Robert Half Management Resources. “Great leaders understand the fundamentals of their field, but also know that it is the ability to recognize new opportunities through innovation that will ultimately set their business apart.”

King reminds managers to look to their employees for support. “An engaged team is a committed team, and executives who address challenges and opportunities with their employees build a foundation of trust, and shared goals for business growth.”

Robert Half Management Resources details five challenges facing leaders today and the attributes needed to address them:

1. Taking a ‘big picture’ view. As CFOs whose work outside of finance has expanded in recent years know well, executives are no longer tasked with just overseeing their department. They must draw on their strong business acumen, understanding how their unit’s decisions and performance affect the broader organization.

2. Overcoming staffing challenges. Building a skilled team in the face of candidate shortages and retention concerns requires special talents. Business leaders today are tasked with fostering relationships with recruiting sources and developing an effective staffing management strategy, blending full-time personnel with specialized professionals who can be brought in on-demand.

3. Maintaining an edge over diverse competitors. Firms face threats not just from traditional competitors, but also increasingly from organizations disrupting the marketplace with new business models. Organizations need leaders who can anticipate changes in the competitive landscape and inspire innovation to stay on top.

4. Remaining compliant with evolving mandates. Regulatory pressures continue to mount for many industries and companies. Executives today need to be experts on the mandates affecting their business and understand how compliance is more than meeting a set of requirements and can instead help the firm prosper.

5. Keeping up with technology. As history has repeatedly shown, technology can change everything at a moment’s notice. The onus is on business leaders to monitor the technology trends affecting their organizations and positions and adapt accordingly.

Insurance and bank stocks weigh on Toronto stock index, as loonie edges up

By David Hodges

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ Canada’s largest stock index finished in the red for a third consecutive trading session on Friday, as banks and insurance companies lost ground.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 42.83 points to 16,039.26, with the financial sector down about three-quarters of a percentage point.

All the big banks reported losses as did major insurers including Fairfax Financial Holdings (TSX:FFH), which saw its shares fall $13.76 or 1.98 per cent to $680.46 at the closing of markets.

“The bank group is kind of taking a breather this week in particular after having a pretty good year to date. I think most bank shares are up 10 per cent this year,” said Cavan Yie, a portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.

“But what I think you’re seeing is investors kind of taking money off the table ahead of 2018, potentially ahead of some mortgage rule changes in Canada which are likely to impact loan growth for 2018. You’ll see lower mortgage originations and potentially lower-than-expected bank earnings.”

Canada’s banking regulator reported last month it’s going ahead with a new stress test for home buyers who don’t need mortgage insurance but who will soon have to prove they can make their payments if interest rates rise.

The move is expected to reduce the maximum amount buyers will be able to borrow to buy a home, even if they have a down payment of 20 per cent or more, starting in January.

South of the border, markets were mixed and relatively flat a day after Wall Street was caught off guard by a proposed delay in President Donald Trump’s proposed tax plans. On Wednesday, Senate Republicans said they’re rolling out their own tax bill, which would delay Trump’s corporate tax rate cut until 2019, instead of 2018 under the House bill.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the current regime in the U.S.,” Yie said. “Investors are taking a wait-and-see approach and not reacting right away.”

The Dow Jones industrial average declined 39.73 points to 23,422.21 and the S&P 500 index edged down 2.32 points to 2,582.30. The Nasdaq composite index eked out a 0.89 of a point rise to 6,750.94.

In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 78.85 cents US, up 0.06 of a U.S. cent. That marks the loonie’s third straight day of gains against a weakening greenback.

On the commodities front, the December crude contract gave back 43 cents at US$56.74 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was up a cent at US$3.21 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract fell $13.30 to US$1,274.20 an ounce and the December copper contract was down a cent to US$3.08 a pound.

Canadian and American companies clearly want to do more business together

Despite continued geopolitical risks to global trade seemingly at every turn, Canadian export performance has grown at a rate higher than expected – 8 per cent this year over the projected 6 per cent, according to Export Development Canada’s (EDC) latest semi-annual Global Export Forecast released today.

In particular, stronger demand from US companies and consumers for Canadian products and services is playing a big part in that increase, just as NAFTA negotiations reach a critical juncture.

The energy sector’s return to growth is the main reason that Canada’s exports are picking up, as the oil patch rebounds from devastating forest fires and an ongoing lower price environment. The major buyer of that energy? You guessed it: the US. As the US economy perks up and industry begins to churn, energy demands have followed suit.

At the same time, ores and metals will see a big jump as the US and global industrial sectors begin to slowly increase production. That resurgence in production is also driving up Canadian exports of Canadian machinery and equipment in the strengthening U.S. market.

Canada’s export engine is revved up and firing on all cylinders,” says Peter Hall, EDC Vice President and Chief Economist. “Despite the political signals coming out of the U.S., Canadian and US companies are clear: they want to do more business together. We are seeing more Canadian companies making new business investments in the US and we’re already measuring its impact on boosting demand for Canadian exports, specifically machinery and equipment.”

Highlights: 

Sectors posting double-digit growth include:

  • Energy 31%
  • Ores & Metals 14%
  • Industrial Machinery & Equipment 11%
  • Energy exports stand at $77 billion and are forecast to grow by an astounding 31 per cent in 2017. However, the intense growth will be short-lived as gains flat line in 2018.
  • Services, a key driver in the Canadian export story, will post a positive gain of almost 6 per cent this year and maintain that level of momentum in the longer-term outlook.
  • The forestry sector remains in positive territory with gains of 4 per cent, but growth will slow due to the ongoing softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the US.

Overall, Canadian export growth is expected to level out to 4 per cent in 2018 after its 8 per cent gain this year, pushing export growth above the pre-recession high water mark. “We might very well have finally put our feet on the bottom of this long export stagnancy period,” added Hall.

Globally, EDC is projecting world growth to rise from 3.6 per cent this year to 3.8 per cent in 2018, fuelled by robust growth in emerging markets, specifically ChinaIndia and Brazil. However, developed markets have turned a corner with major economies recording stronger performances this year.

Developed markets are also providing growth opportunities in the long-term, particularly in the EU as a result of the new Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The free trade agreement opens up a market of approximately 500 million people worth $20 trillion to Canadian exporters.

“It’s been a long time coming, but global growth is back,” Hall adds. “Canada’s exporters are poised to gain from this growth throughout 2017 and 2018.”

For the full report, visit EDC’s Global Export Forecast: Fall 2017

EDC helps Canadian companies go, grow, and succeed in their international business. As a financial Crown corporation, EDC provides financing, insurance, bonding, trade knowledge, and matchmaking connections to help Canadian companies sell and invest abroad. EDC can also provide financial solutions to foreign buyers to facilitate and grow purchases from Canadian companies.

For more information about how we can help your company, call us at 1-888-434-8508 or visit www.edc.ca.

SOURCE Export Development Canada

Co-operators: New business insurance coverage provides privacy breach protection

To help protect companies from the rapidly growing threat of privacy breach, Co-operators General Insurance Company introduced a new product today that provides insurance coverage and risk management solutions for Canadian businesses. The coverage complements commercial insurance policies and is designed not only to cover costs associated with a breach and the resulting liability, but also to provide expert loss prevention advice and support in effectively responding and recovering from such an incident.

The new Privacy Breach product provides two distinct coverage offerings to meet the changing needs of small and medium companies.

“Cyber criminals are continually devising new ways to access personal data online, and virtually every business in Canadais at risk. As large companies improve their data security, cyber criminals look for easier targets, putting small and medium businesses at greater risk,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “Having good data security measures can reduce the risk of privacy breach, but no company can eliminate it altogether. We are committed to helping to protect Canadian businesses, and our privacy breach coverage provides the resources and coverage to help them before, during and after a breach.”

Privacy Breach Expense covers costs of responding to and mitigating the impact of a privacy breach. Privacy Breach Liability covers the amounts a company is deemed legally liable for, as a result of a breach. The product also provides clients with access to CyberScout, a leading provider of preventative education, proactive protection services and incident remediation support, to help reduce companies’ risk and effectively respond in the event of a privacy breach.

A privacy breach is an incident resulting in improper or unauthorized access, collection, use or disclosure of sensitive or protected personal information. Some of the most common privacy breaches occur when personal information is stolen, lost or mistakenly shared. Such incidents can do serious harm to a company, including reputational damage, lost revenue, significant legal expenses and fines. A recent study by Juniper Research predicted that criminal data breaches will cost businesses a total of $8 trillion globally over the next five years.

The new Privacy Breach coverage is available from Co-operators advisors across the country.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $48 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products.

The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

Safe-Guard Canada names new national account manager

ONTARIO, Canada — Safe-Guard Canada has named Richard Comrie as national account manager, responsible for overseeing client relationship management and business development.

Comrie brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the company, which serves the automotive aftermarket, RV, marine and motorcycle industries, and its clients, having spent over 25 years entirely devoted to the finance and insurance (F&I) industry, with a focus on business development, customer relations management and daily operations.

“I am proud to welcome Richard to the Safe-Guard team as National Account Manager,” said Scott Ashby, general manager of Safe-Guard Canada. “Our clients and their dealers continue to see business grow across Canada.”

He added, “Richard is coming on board at just the right time and will help take our clients and their dealers to the next level. As we continue to integrate with our clients and drive sales with our field teams, Richard’s deep F&I experience and client leadership are vital in supporting our client’s growth and development.”

Most recently, Comrie served as the director of new business development for LGM Financial Services. Prior to LGM, Comrie held various positions in the automotive industry with responsibilities spanning from business operations to national sales and credit management.

“I am excited to join a very progressive, client-centric organization like Safe-Guard. I look forward to building upon the strong relationships we have with our current OEM partners and their dealers, and I am committed to leading our partners and driving business development for each of the brands that Safe-Guard Canada supports,” said Comrie.

Source: Safe-Guard Products Canada press release

Intact Insurance launches my Driving Discount program to reward good drivers in Alberta

Alberta drivers now have a chance to save up to 25 per cent on their auto insurance premium thanks to a new and innovative program from Intact Insurance. Intact has launched the my Driving Discount program, which uses driving data collected by a mobile app to determine a personalized discount for customers based on their driving habits.

Personal auto insurance customers can download the easy-to-use mobile app onto their smartphones, while commercial auto insurance customers receive an on-board diagnostic (OBD) device that connects to the OBD port in their vehicle. Both methods collect driving data to determine the potential discount, up to 25 per cent, which is applied to their auto insurance premium on their next policy renewal.

Rosa Nelson, Vice President of Sales and Business Development, West, Intact Insurance, said the program is intended to reward drivers who consistently drive safely.

“This program encourages customers to improve their driving habits by offering them an opportunity to save money based on their good driving behaviour,” she said. “More and more, safe drivers are looking for customized insurance programs that reward them for good habits on the road and my Driving Discount does exactly that.”

Customers’ driving behaviour is assessed on the basis of three factors: hard braking, rapid acceleration and time of day. Customers receive a one-time discount on their premium just by signing up for the program – 10 per cent for personal auto insurance customers and five per cent for commercial auto insurance customers – which is replaced by their personalized discount of up to 25 per cent on their next renewal following an assessment period.

In order to be eligible for the personalized discount on renewal, customers must complete an assessment period of approximately nine months.

Customers using the device can view their potential discount and a summary of their trips on a personalized website. Customers with the app can access this information from their mobile device at any time. Customers will also receive a weekly email with a summary of their trips.

The my Driving Discount program was initially launched in Ontario in 2013, and subsequently made available in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec. For more information, see www.intact.ca.

About Intact Insurance and Intact Financial Corporation
Intact Insurance is Canada’s largest home, auto and business insurance company, the choice of more than four million consumers. Its coast-to-coast presence and its strong relationship with insurance brokers mean the company can provide the outstanding service, comfort and continuity customers deserve. Intact Insurance is a member company of Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC), the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada.

SOURCE Intact Insurance

For further information: Media Inquiries: Rosa Nelson, Vice President, Sales and Business Development, Intact Insurance, Western Division, 403 231-1300 ext 30747

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