Canada: Penn West Petroleum Ltd. settles investor lawsuits over accounting scandal


Class action lawsuits that threatened to extract as much as half a billion dollars from Penn West Petroleum Ltd. have been settled for an undisclosed sum that will be covered by insurance, the Calgary intermediate oil and gas producer announced Tuesday.

The company said law firms acting for investors in Canada and the United States who claimed they lost money in 2014 after Penn West revealed accounting irregularities and restated past financial results have agreed to halt all actions.

“The settlement agreements provide for a payment that will be fully funded by insurance coverage maintained by Penn West,” it stated in a news release, adding it is making no admission of liability or wrongdoing.

“Penn West is settling the class action proceedings in order to avoid the continuing risks, uncertainties and costs of litigation.”

A Penn West spokesman said the company would provide no further detail. The release states the settlement must still be approved by courts in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and New York.

In a regulatory filing last March, Penn West said the largest amount of damages specified in the Canadian actions is $500 million, claimed on behalf of everyone who purchased Penn West securities during the proposed class period. It states the U.S. class actions had been consolidated but no damages were specified.

Lawyer James Sayce of Toronto firm Koskie Minsky LLP confirmed Tuesday the settlement had been reached but said he couldn’t give financial details. His firm and two others were working together on the Canadian class action, which had not yet been certified to proceed by a court.

The suit was brought on behalf of a representative plaintiff but its results are to be applied to all Canadian claimants. If the settlement is finalized by the court based on fairness, notifications will be made to invite claimants to step forward.

“In our view, it’s a very good deal,” said Sayce, adding the settlement will cover legal and other costs as well as deliver some compensation to the investors.

Penn West shares plummeted 14 per cent to $8.57 on July 30, 2014, the day after it announced it would restate its financial reports for 2012, 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. By Aug. 18, 2014, they were trading at $7.69.

The restatements cut the firm’s 2012 net income by $24 million or 16 per cent, but increased its 2013 net income by $29 million or three per cent. Penn West‘s net income for the first quarter of 2014 was increased by $7 million or seven per cent.

Penn West said some expenses were incorrectly classified as property, plant and equipment costs instead of operating expenses, while others were incorrectly classified as royalties instead of operating expenses.

The company later said it had boosted oversight and training of its finance and accounting staff, reassuring investors that controls have been put in place to ensure such errors don’t occur again.

Koskie Minsky notes on its website that the class action would claim $400 million against Penn West and its senior officers, including president and chief executive David Roberts and former CEO Murray Nunns. It would apply to anyone who bought Penn West securities from March 17, 2011, to July 29, 2014.

Penn West said current and former directors and officers are included in the settlement.

The settlement was rated “neutral” for the company in a note to investors published Tuesday by analyst Greg Pardy of RBC Dominion Securities.

Penn West stock closed five cents higher at $1.19.

The Payments Buzzwords of 2016

The Payments Buzzwords of 2016

By Mark Ranta to Consumer Payments

As autumn starts to give way to winter (that frost outside is for reals), it’s getting closer to my favorite season; the flakes will soon start flying, the fruitcakes will soon start arriving at doorsteps, digital holiday shopping will soon hit new heights, and the retro reviews for this year and early predictions for next will soon start to fill my Twitter feed.

So it’s with that, I take a look back at the year (that was, a month or so early) and put out my early calls on what 2016 will have in store on the books (or is that on your device, or is that in your Virtual Reality headset… gave you a sneak there.).

As we take a quick look back at what the last 10.5 months brought, I feel like 3 topics/trends rose to the top:

  • Mobile wallets and or the <INSERT COMPANY NAME> Pay trend
  • Real time payment initiatives in the US
  • And the US’s long awaited toe in the water with EMV or as so many wrongly call it today, Chip & Pin.

I don’t want to harp too much on these and you will see/read why in a moment, but this year was HUGE for payments. We saw the mobile wallet wars ignite into an all-out game of “anything you can do I can do better, anything you can do I can do better than you.” Every time you turned your head in 2015, another mobile pay bit was being announced—Google Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay and the most recent addition, Chase Pay.

With all of that news, it’s amazing anything else made the short list, but alas, the old creaky systems in the US had the spotlight shone brightly on their underbellies, and announcements from the Fed and NACHA were loud and clear—change is a comin’!

The US will join the rest of the world (at least it feels like the rest of the world) in the chase for real time, ubiquitous payments.

And the final 2015 trend, which I think is the greatest slow-moving momentum story of all time, the EMV liability shift… Black Friday is merely days away and the term “Cart abandonment” will for the first time refer to actual physical cart abandonment; the shoving lines won’t be going into the store but trying to get out… (maybe slightly dark and over-reacting but those 10 to 15-second wait times are going to really add up when you are tired, haven’t had your Dunkin’ Donuts ‘regulah’, and are carrying a 42” TV that you really don’t need to buy, but you literally can’t say no to—it’s only $99!)

What a 2015 it’s been thus far (and will be as the final 8 weeks scroll by on that ol’/new Apple Watch Calendar)

But enough of the backward/forward reminiscing; we are here to hit on the #buzzwords of 2016 (and some predictions as well)!

  1. #wearables – and I am not talking about fitbits and Apple Watches. Wearables are going to have a new family member join the fray, Virtual Reality headsets. Samsung made a move to bring Oculus Rift to the masses with Samsung Gear VR. In a replay of everything that Samsung and Android have gotten to market with first, VR could be the one that they keep attention and market share away from Apple, only 2016 and beyond will tell.
  2. #biometrics – we saw biometrics slowly and discreetly enter the payments arena with Apple’s Touch ID or Samsung’s Fingerprint Scanner. Whether to unlock your bank’s mobile application or pay for goods at the POS, fingerprint scanning was the first step into using biometrics to authenticate a user. Look for facial recognition to be the next big piece, say it with me… Pay by selfie!
  3. #bankingAPIs – with PSD2 around the corner (and across the pond), the fight for opening up banking APIs to third parties will come home to roost; you saw the initial battle lines drawn this past week from both Chase and Bank of America (with likely more to follow) in terms of dealing with account aggregation sites and sharing customer data. I think this is going to be a hot topic as the year kicks off and likely stay at a rolling boil throughout the year.

Predictions for 2016

  1. Mobile Payments will at least double if not triple in volume for the calendar year in 2016. Maybe a safe prediction, but as the EMV shift continues to bring new POS terminals to market, old iPhones get their long awaited upgrades to the 6 and beyond, Android Pay and Samsung Pay reach their clients en masse, and new smart watches enter the market (I am eyeing the new Tag Heuer –, more options that are at least as convenient as EMV cards (if not more convenient) will lift this space dramatically over the course of the next 12 months.
  2. Olympic Golds will be awarded to athletes, but no medals will be handed out for the winner of the mobile payment wars. We have at least another 3-5 years before the dust settles or the battlefield shifts; either way it’s going to be fun to watch Rio from afar… I will offer now to do investigative reporting on payments from Copacabana beach (DM me if you are interested in sponsoring this little trip…)
  3. P2P will be the biggest trend feature in the mobile wallet space, followed by coupons/offers. Chase Pay and MCX will likely drive this conversation but Apple, Samsung and Android will not be far behind.

And here’s an added bonus one for you—just because you’ve read this far! 2016 will be longer and more fruitful than 2015 #leapyear – yeah that’s right, we get one extra day next year to talk about payments… so here’s to a great 2015, and an even better 2016! Happy holidays everyone! And may your checkout lines be swift!

– See more at:

Intact Financial Corporation recognized as one of Canada’s Best Employers

TORONTO, Nov. 5, 2015 /CNW/ – Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC) today announced it has been recognized as an Aon Best Employer at the platinum level for 2016. This marks the first year the prestigious honour has been awarded to IFC, recognizing the company for its strong level of employee engagement, leadership, performance culture and employment brand.

“We are incredibly proud to be one of Canada’s best employers. Our employees come to work every day engaged and passionate about making a difference; delivering an outstanding experience to our customers and communities,” said Lucie Martel, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Intact Financial Corporation. “We have built an employee promise based on what’s important to our people, and are committed to helping and supporting them develop and grow.”

The annual Aon Best Employers in Canada study measures employee engagement by surveying employees on areas such as senior leadership, people manager effectiveness, enabling productivity as well as valuing and appreciating employees. Platinum status is awarded to organizations that rank in the top 25 percentile of the four indexes in the study, measuring workplace success in engagement, leadership, performance culture and employer brand. The brands under IFC that participated in the Aon Best Employers in Canada study are Intact Insurance, belairdirect, BrokerLink and Anthony Insurance.

About Intact Financial Corporation
Intact Financial Corporation ( is the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada with over $7.3 billion in annual premiums. With over 11,000 employees, the company insures more than five million individuals and businesses through its insurance subsidiaries and is the largest private sector provider of P&C insurance in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Québec and Nova Scotia. The company distributes insurance under the Intact Insurance brand through a wide network of brokers, including its wholly owned subsidiary, BrokerLink, and directly to consumers through belairdirect.

SOURCE Intact Financial Corporation

Media Inquiries: Stephanie Sorensen, Director, External Communications, +1 (416) 344-8027,; Investor Inquiries: Samantha Cheung, Vice President, Investor Relations, +1 (416) 344-8004,


Builds on current product shelf for car dealers and enhances cross-Canada distribution

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John Hancock Retirement Plan Services Receives 6 Marketing Awards

BOSTON, Aug. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — John Hancock Retirement Plan Services (JHRPS) has received six awards from The Insurance and Financial Communicators Association (IFCA) for marketing and communications creativity, design and writing. The annual awards competition, now 84 years old, offers communicators internationally the opportunity to submit their best work in over 60 categories. The judging is done by peers and each entrant receives feedback and comments from the judges.

“We are honored to have received this recognition from IFCA,” said Andrew Ross, senior vice president, Marketing and Product Development, John Hancock Retirement Plan Services. “Our efforts focus on putting the participant first, and we are thrilled to see a variety of marketing and communication tools recognized.”

JHRPS was honored with three “Best in Show” awards for:

  • JH Signature Fairness ads – a multi-faceted trade advertising campaign that illustrates how retirement plan costs are allocated among participants
  • 401(k) Atlas – an online education center for financial representatives to develop and share knowledge on a variety of retirement plan topics
  • It Pays to Be Green Challenge – an internal incentive campaign designed to help build awareness for green-friendly online and phone enrollment options

One “Award for Excellence” for:

  • JH 401(k) Ideas website – a personalized website that automatically distributes actionable sales ideas and industry insights to financial representatives

JHRPS also received an “Honorable Mention” for:

  • JH Signature Enrollment Experience – a robust suite of personalized online tools, websites and marketing collateral, designed to make the enrollment experience convenient and easily accessible to all plan employees
  • JH Education Experience – a variety of tools and materials to help educate plan employees on the importance of saving for retirement

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife
John Hancock Financial is a division of Manulife, a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Operating as Manulife in Canada and Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, our group of companies offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Assets under management and administration by Manulife and its subsidiaries were C$883 billion (US$708 billion) as at June 30, 2015. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘945’ on the SEHK. Manulife can be found on the Internet at

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers and administers a broad range of financial products, including life insurance, annuities, investments, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at

John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York and John Hancock Retirement Plan Services LLC are collectively referred to as “John Hancock”.

John Hancock Retirement Plan Services, LLC offers plan administrative services and service programs through which a sponsor or administrator of a plan may invest in various investment options on behalf of plan participants. These investment options have not been individually selected by John Hancock Retirement Plan Services, LLC. John Hancock Trust Company, LLC provides trust and custodial services to such plans.

Group annuity contracts and recordkeeping agreements are issued by John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), (not licensed in New York) and John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York.  Product features and availability may differ by state.

Both John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.) and John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York do business under certain instances using the John Hancock Retirement Plan Services name.




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