Finance

Ayaz Dhanani shown on the Facebook

BY BETHANY LINDSAY

Vancouver sun

Ayaz Dhanani, shown here in a Facebook photo, is in court this week to face criminal charges of fraud and theft, and is also facing fraud allegations from the B.C. Securities Commission. Dhanani says he is not guilty and the cases against him are without merit.

Ayaz Dhanani, shown here in a Facebook photo, is in court this week to face criminal charges of fraud and theft, and is also facing fraud allegations from the B.C. Securities Commission. Dhanani says he is not guilty and the cases against him are without merit. PHOTO BY FACEBOOK PHOTO

A Vancouver man who defrauded investors with promises of lucrative returns from imaginary companies has been permanently banned from B.C.’s capital markets and fined $225,000.

Ayaz Dhanani bilked three people out of $188,800 in a scheme involving stocks in gold-mining and oil companies. None of the firms or stocks were real, and the B.C. Securities Commission ordered Dhanani last week to pay back the ill-gotten funds, end all involvement in the securities market, and pay a hefty administrative penalty.

“The respondent’s misconduct is an egregious form of fraud,” the BCSC panel wrote in its decision. “It was all a sham. There is no evidence that there ever were any real investments contemplated by the respondent. The respondent simply pocketed the funds obtained from the investors and used them for the personal expenses of himself and his family.”

The gravity of the scam was particularly intense because of the lies Dhanani told, including the use of aliases, according to the decision. The fraudster is known to use at least six aliases.

One victim told a BCSC hearing that he was just 21 when he lost $55,000 in the scam, money he had saved from summer jobs and birthday gifts. Another said he was “in a desperate state” when he handed over $120,000.

Money from two of the investors ended up in a bank account belonging to Dhanani’s father. So far, none of the victims have been paid back, and despite a freeze order on one account, it’s not clear when or if Dhanani will have enough money to reimburse them.

Dhanani also has a history of criminal convictions for fraud. He is currently in jail facing numerous charges including theft, assault, kidnapping, identity theft and fraud.

 

Prime Minister Modi, President Obama

India and the U.S. Export-Import Bank intend to work together toward a competitive financing package.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday welcomed the start of preparatory work on six nuclear reactors in India, a key step in closing the first deal stemming from a U.S.-India civil nuclear accord struck over a decade ago.
The two leaders said in a joint statement that India and the U.S. Export-Import Bank intend to work together toward a competitive financing package for the project and will work to finalize contractual agreements by June 2017.
“Once completed, the project would be among the largest of its kind, fulfilling the promise of the U.S.-India civil nuclear agreement and demonstrating a shared commitment to meet India’s growing energy needs while reducing reliance on fossil fuels,” the joint statement said.
Mr. Obama said he and Mr. Modi discussed how to ensure a worldwide agreement forged in Paris to curb climate change could be enacted swiftly.
“We discussed how we can, as quickly as possible, bring the Paris agreement into force,” Mr. Obama told reporters .

The Hindu.com

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By Jason Heath

Investors tend to focus first and foremost on gross returns. Since an investor only gets to keep their net return after-tax, tax should be an important factor when it comes to investment decisions. The most basic example of this is to make the most of available tax shelters. Most people are aware of tax shelters like RRSPs, TFSAs and RESPs, but, if you are self-employed, you can even create your own tax shelter by incorporating and leaving some of your income in a corporation, paying a lower tax rate than you would otherwise pay personally. Jason Heath outlines seven more considerations for how to make your investments more tax-efficient.

How the wealthy can beat Ottawa’s new rules by becoming low-income to save big on their taxes

A new tax strategy for high-income earners: Ted Rechtshaffen outlines how a family can maintain their $180,000-lifestyle on taxable income of just $30,000.

  1. Investors with RRSPs and TFSAs may think that they don’t need to worry about the tax implications of their investments, but that isn’t true: foreign dividends earned in a TFSA are subject to withholding tax from the source country, and Canadian mutual funds or Canadian-listed exchange-traded funds that own foreign stocks are also subject to withholding tax on the dividends earned in an RRSP. Furthermore, RRSP withdrawals will be taxable someday, so how big to grow an RRSP and when to take withdrawals is another important tax consideration for registered accounts.

U.S. stocks that trade on a U.S. stock exchange are not subject to withholding tax when held in an RRSP — but they are in a TFSA. So RRSPs may be a better option than TFSAs for U.S. stocks. But where you hold non-U.S. foreign stocks depends on your overall asset allocation and whether you have non-registered investments as well.

  1. 2. Investors with non-registered investments should consider leaning more towards earning capital gains or Canadian dividend income. Capital gains are only 50 per cent taxable in a non-registered account. Canadian dividends are taxed at a lower rate than interest or foreign dividends, but the exact tax rate varies depending on your tax bracket.
  2. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) and limited partnerships (LPs) generally pay out distributions to investors that take different forms. While some of the income may be considered taxable dividend income, some portion may also be considered return of capital. Tax is not immediately payable on return of capital, but will reduce your cost base on an investment and increase the taxable capital gain when you ultimately sell it. REITs and LPs can boost after-tax returns in a taxable account.
  3. 4. In the ETF space, Purpose Investments’ corporate class ETFs currently allow investors to switch between different funds without incurring taxable capital gains. Horizons Exchange Traded Funds offers swap-based ETFs that convert taxable interest and dividends into deferred capital gains.

Corporate-class mutual funds have higher fees and promote active management versus their lower-fee, passive ETF cousins, but can also reduce tax on non-registered investments. CI Investments is the largest in the corporate class mutual fund industry in Canada, with over 60 offerings. But, the recent federal budget will do away with the tax-free switching option available to corporate-class investors later this year, so the clock is ticking on this particular corporate class tax efficiency.

  1. Universal life insurance has a savings feature that can be allocated into various active and passive investment options that grow tax-free. Fees tend to be higher than non-insurance solutions, so fees and tax savings need to be compared. Whole life insurance invests some of your premiums on a tax-free basis by the insurance company into unique asset classes, such as private placement bonds, residential and commercial mortgages, private equity and policy loans to other policyholders. Commissions are generally high up-front, so a whole life policy should not be a short-term commitment.
  2. Rental real estate can be extremely tax-efficient. Mortgage interest is tax-deductible and a financed rental property can sometimes create tax refunds. Even cash flow positive properties can have income sheltered from tax by claiming depreciation on your tax return.
  3. Flow-through shares can earn tax-effective returns and create tax refunds in excess of 50 per cent of your investment. The government incentivizes investors to buy flow-through shares issued by junior resource companies. These shares are especially risky and that is why tax refunds are used to attract investors.

In summary, there are many different tax-efficient ways to invest, but keep in mind that tax should never be the primary decision-making factor. A thorough understanding of retirement and estate objectives should be a starting point for any investment plan. From there, seek out tax-efficient returns, because when all is said and done, you only get to keep the after-tax amount.

Jason Heath is an advice-only / fee-only Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and income tax professional at Objective Financial Partners Inc. in Toronto

 

Vancouver, British Columbia, March 30, 2016…The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) would like to remind Canadians of new or improved tax relief measures and online services available for the 2015 tax-filing season.

 Important facts

  • Updated notice of assessment – The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has improved the notice of assessment! The new, simpler format provides the most important information about your assessment on the first page. This is part of the CRA’s effort to improve its correspondence with individuals. Online tax records are as official as a paper record.
  • Auto-fill my return – The CRA’s “Auto-fill my return” service is now available through some certified tax software. This service allows you to automatically fill in certain parts of your income tax and benefit return. To use the Auto-fill my return service, you must be fully registered for My Account.
  • Online mail – Online mail is the fast, easy and secure way to manage your tax correspondence. Get statements such as your notice of assessment online in My Account, instead of in the mail. To register, provide us with an email address on your income tax and benefit return or register directly online at www.cra.gc.ca/myaccount. New correspondence, such as benefits statements (summer 2016), will be added this year!
  • Universal child care benefit (UCCB) – For the 2015 tax year, under the UCCB, families will receive $160 per month for each child under 6 and $60 per month for each child aged 6 through 17.
  • Disability Tax Credit – This year, Canadians claiming the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) will be able to file their T1 return online regardless of whether or not their Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate has been submitted to the CRA for that tax year.
  • Children’s fitness amount – As of January 1, 2015, this is now a refundable tax credit available to families with children enrolled in a prescribed program of physical activity. For tax years prior to 2015, this credit was non-refundable.
  • Child Care Expense Deduction limits – As of the 2015 tax year, the Child Care Expense Deduction dollar limits have increased by $1,000. The maximum amounts that can be claimed have increased to $8,000 for children under age seven, to $5,000 for children aged seven through 16, and to $11,000 for children who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit.
  • MyCRA mobile app – Get your tax information anytime, anywhere, on your mobile device! In October 2015, new features were added to the MyCRA mobile app such as personalized benefit payment information, enhanced tax return status, and Canada child tax benefit application status. Starting February 2016, you will also be able to update your address, manage your online mail with the CRA, and sign up for direct deposit.

To get started on your tax return, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready.

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VICTORIA – Former Liberal MLA Barry Penner is the new chairman of the Insurance Corporation of B.C.

Penner will start the job March 31, on a three year term, ICBC announced Tuesday.

“I’m honoured to have been asked to take on this challenging and important role,” he said in a statement.

“I’m looking forward to serving the people of British Columbia once again.”

Penner was B.C.’s longest-serving environment minister, and also held the roles of Attorney General and Minister of Aboriginal Relations during 16 years as the Liberal MLA for Chilliwack-Hope. He resigned in early 2012 to join a law firm, and then briefly moved to Myanmar.

Most recently, government had tapped him to review a contentious harbour dock proposal in Pender Harbour.

ICBC has been grappling with rising rates, caused in part by the increased cost of claims from crashes as well as fraud. The government has expressed disappointment at the continued rate hikes, and has in the past sharply criticized the Crown auto insurance agency for unacceptable proposals to raise rates before looking within the corporation for savings.

“Mr. Penner’s deep commitment to public and community service led him to accept the government’s request that he take on this challenging position,” said Transportation Minister Todd Stone.

“His extensive experience with government and the private sector will make him an excellent fit for this important role.”

Penner replaces accountant Ronald Olynyk, who had served as interim ICBC chairman since December after the retirement of Walter Gray.

Vancouver Sun

“Steadfast. Resilient. And the courage to get to yes,” – The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, Throne Speech 2016. Her Honour, remarking on the qualities that will ensure the continued economic success of our province. Read the speech in its entirety here, http://www.thronespeechbc.ca.

In her speech from the Throne today, Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon outlined the government’s agenda to create jobs and opportunity throughout British Columbia, and continue to grow a diverse economy to sustain and expand the vital services that British Columbians depend on.

In the session ahead, government will continue to stand up for British Columbians, and for the communities and industries that not only build this province, but drive prosperity.

By focusing on key sectors of the economy and expanding new markets in clean energy and technology with British Columbia’s Asia-Pacific partners, the government has the opportunity to eliminate the operating debt in just four years, paving the path towards a debt-free BC.

“With a strong, diverse and growing economy, and four consecutive balanced budgets, we can plan for future growth, create a climate where job-creating businesses can thrive – while continuing to make investments in our future,” said Premier Christy Clark. “And while we’re planning for future growth, a growing economy means we also have the ability to make a difference in people’s lives today.”

During the spring session, government will also focus on building safe, thriving communities, continue to work with the federal government to secure the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, and ensure First Nations are equal partners in B.C.’s growing economy.

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS

CALGARY – Shaw Communications is selling its media division to Corus Entertainment for $2.65 billion — a deal that will help fund the telecom company’s purchase of Wind Mobile.

Shaw Media includes the Global Television network and 19 specialty channels including HGTV Canada, Food Network Canada and Showcase — formerly part of the Canwest business group before it was split up.

Corus already owns a number of other specialty TV channels as well as a network of radio stations and the Nelvana animation studio.

Both companies are controlled by the Shaw family through its voting shares. Shaw Communications will become a large shareholder in Corus as a result of the deal, which involves both cash and shares.

“Through this transaction we are able to crystalize an attractive value for Shaw Media and realize substantial value creation for Shaw shareholders since acquiring CanWest in 2010,” said Shaw director Paul Pew, chair of a special board committee.

Shaw Communications chief executive Brad Shaw added that “we are grateful to our colleagues at Shaw Media for their contributions to Shaw’s success over the past five years . . .”

It’s the second major deal for Shaw Communications (TSX:SJR.B) in recent weeks. The Calgary-based cable, Internet and satellite TV company announced on Dec. 16 that it’s buying Wind Mobile in a deal worth $1.6 billion.

The sale of Shaw Media to Toronto-based Corus will move about $1.85 billion in cash to Shaw Communications, which will also receive about 71 million Corus non-voting class B shares (TSX:CJR.B).

After the deal closes, Shaw Communications will own about 39 per cent of the equity in Corus, including both class A and B shares, but focus its own business on communications infrastructure rather than media content.

“With the previously announced acquisition of Wind and sale of Shaw Media, Shaw will be focused on delivering consumer and small business broadband communications supported by its best-in-class wireline, WiFi and wireless infrastructure,” Brad Shaw said in a joint statement.

Corus CEO Doug Murphy said the purchase of Shaw Media “positions the combined business as one of Canada’s leading media and content companies with significantly enhanced scale and growth prospects going forward.”

The Shaw Media deal is subject to approval by Corus shareholders, including those with non-voting shares not hold by interested parties. It is expected to close by the end of Shaw’s third quarter ending May 31. The Wind deal is also expected to be closed by about the same time.

Corus announced separately Wednesday that its revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2016 was $228.3 million, up from $228.1 million a year earlier. The increase was mainly due to its television division, which offset a decline in radio. Total net income was $41.3 million, down from 51.9 million in the comparable period.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story, An earlier version said $1.85 million in cash would go to Shaw rather than $1.85 billion.

 

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper says a Conservative government would raise the amount that first-time homebuyers can draw out of their RRSPs to buy a house — from $25,000 to $35,000 — if elected.

At a campaign stop in Vancouver, Harper said a Conservative government would increase the upper limit of what’s known as the Home Buyer’s Plan. Under current rules, a would-be homebuyer can withdraw up to $25,000 from his or her RRSP without paying a penalty, as long as the money will be used to help pay for a first home.

The homebuyer must also pay back the funds within 15 years, and doesn’t get the benefit of the tax credit while replenishing the money.

Under the new Conservative proposal, that limit would be increased to $35,000.

“For most Canadians, the family home is their biggest asset and their most significant investment in their future financial security. It’s also the centre of their lives,” Harper said.

Since the plan started in 1992, more than 2.8 million Canadians have used the plan to help pay for a first home, the Canadian Real Estate Association, which represents realtors across the country, said in a release following the policy pledge.

The plan would cost the government $30 million a year in lost tax revenue starting in the 2017-18 fiscal year, Harper said.

Foreign buyer scrutiny

Harper also promised to take a closer look at how foreign money may be influencing the housing market in Toronto and Vancouver, two cities that have seen outsized gains in home prices for several years now.

“We need to ensure we have the necessary information to assess the situation and take action,” an announcement on the website for the Conservative Party of Canada said.

“We’re announcing that our government will commit to collecting data on foreign buyer activity in Canada’s housing market. We will take action in co-ordination with provinces, as necessary, to ensure foreign investment in Canada’s housing sector increases the availability and affordability of homes for Canadians.”

Campaign material provided by the Conservatives to The Canadian Press pointed to rules in other countries that force foreign investors to only purchase homes under construction, or to limit home ownership for foreign nationals to just the time that they live in the country.

About 15 per cent of the condos in Vancouver are empty year-round by some estimates, with the owners sitting on the properties hoping to make a profit as the prices of homes rise. Other estimates, including one calculation by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, puts the number at 2.4 per cent of the condo market.

There is also speculation that investors are driving up the cost of housing in Vancouver, raising concerns of a housing bubble in Canada’s hot housing market.

CBC News

Wipro chairman Azim Premji and HCL founder Shiv Nadar

New York: Wipro Chairman Azim Premji and HCL founder Shiv Nadar are the only two Indian tycoons in the top 20 richest people in the world of technology, according to an inaugural list by Forbes that has been topped by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Mr Premji is ranked 13th on Forbes’ first ever list of ‘100 Richest People In Tech’, followed by Mr Nadar on the 14th spot.

Two Indian-origin technology czars Romesh Wadhwani and Bharat Desai are also in the list.

Forbes said Premji, 70, who has a net worth of $17.4 billion, is among Asia’s most generous tycoons, having given away more than $4 billion of his fortune.

Mr Nadar has a net worth of $14.4 billion and gets bulk of his wealth from software services outfit HCL Technologies.

Mr Wadhwani is ranked 73rd on the list with a $2.8 billion net worth. The 67-year-old IIT-alumnus is CEO and Chairman of Symphony Technology Group, a collection of 20 companies spanning big data, analytics and software with combined annual revenue of three billion dollars.

In July 2015, he announced plans to commit up to $1 billion to the Wadhwani Foundations to fund entrepreneurship in India; he did not provide a timetable for the funding. Desai and family have been ranked 82nd with a net worth of $2.5 billion. The 62-year-old and his wife Neerja founded IT consulting and outsourcing company Syntel in 1980 out of their apartment in Michigan.

American billionaires dominate the list occupying 51 slots. Tech barons from Asia made a strong showing as well, with 33 people hailing from that region.

Eight people from Europe made the cut – a minimum net worth $2 billion – as did two from the Middle East and one from Latin America. Forty of the 100 live in California.

Mr Gates, who’s the world’s richest man, ranks number one among tech tycoons, with a net worth of $79.6 billion. Number two on the list is Ellison with a net worth estimated at $50 billion.

Ellison ceded the CEO spot at Oracle last year to two co-CEOs, Safra Catz and Mark Hurd, but still serves as Oracle’s chairman and chief technology officer.

Oracle is finding it harder to grow as a company; revenues for the year that ended in May were down slightly from the previous year to $38.2 billion, Forbes said.

The third richest on the list is Jeff Bezos, whose net worth shot up dramatically in July after Amazon.com surprised analysts and reported a rare profit for its second quarter.

The list includes Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg at rank 4, followed by Google co-founder Larry Page at 5, Alibabachief Jack Ma (7), Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (20), Uber CEO Travis Kalanick (35) and Square CEO Jack Dorsey (92). In total, the world’s 100 richest tech billionaires are worth $842.9 billion.

The list has only seven women, the wealthiest of whom is Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple’s late chief Steve Jobs, with an estimated net worth of 21.4 billion dollars.

The average age of the group is 53, which is a decade younger than the average age of all billionaires; 15 of the 100 are under age 40.

NDTV

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By Don Pittis

CBC News

Instead of boosting economy there is danger China’s sudden move will hurt confidence

The father of Western medicine, Hippocrates, had some advice in 400 BC that has been passed down to today: “Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases.”

As the world responds to this week’s extreme and unexpected devaluation by the Chinese central bank, it sounds as if Beijing was taking the good doctor’s advice. And while the obvious intent was to snap the Chinese economy back to health, the frightening thing is that Beijing’s move smacks of desperation.

The modern equivalent of that Hippocratic maxim is: “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” As the Chinese currency and world markets took a dive, investors and trade partners around the world were asking themselves: “What does Beijing know that we don’t?”

Falling off a cliff. Chinese currency saw biggest one day decline in decades. (CBC news)

It’s not the first time this year that China has used strong government action to try to counteract inimical market forces. This spring, Beijing intervened, once to encourage stock markets to inflate, and then repeatedly in an attempt to stop the irresistible plunge when savvy traders realized stocks had become unrealistically high.

The trouble is that markets do not like wild swings. And an economy that requires repeated radical intervention is one, like Russia, where no one knows what the government might do next.

Until recently, the fact that China was willing to back its own economy made it seem like an giant island of stability in a volatile world. In the darkest days of the great recession after 2007, China pumped money into its economy by encouraging borrowing and keeping the renminbi undervalued. (The renminbi is the official name of the Chinese currency, meaning “the people’s currency.” Yuan is the name of a unit of the renminbi.)

The worldwide demand for commodities soared as it seemed China’s building boom would never get enough copper or iron. Its thirst for oil seemed unquenchable. The Chinese currency began to strengthen.

But now all that has changed. China has become worried that its companies and citizens may have borrowed too much, pushing property prices into the stratosphere. Now it says its currency is too high.

With this latest intervention, rather than making markets cheer, commodities slumped even further. Oil, which for a while this week seemed to be recovering again, hit fresh lows for the year. World markets fell, with the Dow and TSX facing triple- or double-digit declines on Tuesday. Canada’s loonie fell.

Part of the trouble this time is that consciously resetting your currency is a zero sum game. A cheaper Chinese yuan makes the country’s exports cheaper. But it hurts all of China’s trade partners and competitors. And there are ways for partners and competitors to retaliate, raising fears of a new currency war.

After years of growth, China’s economy is bigger than all other countries except for the U.S. No wonder its action comes as a shock to the entire world economy. There are serious concerns the sudden move could spark a new global round of deflation.

As its stature grew and Beijing adopted the institutions of a market economy, the world assumed China would try to become a stabilizing global force. The latest move may mean China is not ready for that role.

Sophisticated advice

And the effect is not just on governments. In the world of trade, where profit margins are narrow and deals are made months in advance, a two per cent shift in currency is enough to take a company from profit to loss.

Beijing justified the currency shift by saying that it wants the free market to have greater influence in setting the price of the renminbi. Since China’s central bank sets a limit of a two per cent change in the value of the currency on any trading day, if Beijing is serious about letting the market set currency prices, the plunge may not be over yet.

Most worrying is that China’s leaders have access to some very sophisticated advice. Swarming with internationally trained economists, the central bank and finance ministry certainly realized the impact of this move. They went ahead anyway.

China’s leaders have repeatedly said the economy remains healthy, if “sluggish.” But now this may show they’re worried something worse is happening.

Economic worries have become commonplace in China, a country that had seemed like a giant island of stability in a volatile world. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

That is important because economists and political analysts have repeatedly said that while Chinese people may be dissatisfied with many things in the country, high growth rates have kept dissent under control.

This week, even before China’s currency move, the San Francisco branch of the U.S. central bank issued a report titled Is China’s Growth Miracle Over?, warning the Asian giant may follow the path of the smaller Asian Tigers — economies like those in South Korea or Taiwan — into lower growth.

“With an aging population, slowing productivity growth and the policy adjustments required to implement structural reforms, growth is projected to slow further,” says the report’s author Zheng Liu.

And while it would be wonderful if China can indeed follow the path of Japan and South Korea into middle class stability, it is not clear the way will be easy. Expect more remedies.