City Underlines Site-C Neutrality

first_imgThe city of Fort St. John has issued a news release in the wake of this week’s announcement by the province, that it will move forward with the regulatory environmental assessment stage of the five stage evaluation process associated with the proposed Site-C dam on the Peace River.It notes that City Council has neither formally supported nor opposed the project, but essentially reiterates what Mayor Lantz said following the announcement by Premier Campbell, that Council is pleased to hear that the province has finally made a decision on a project that has been in discussion for the past thirty years… [asset|aid=2793|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=738570a4aa3f5e7be0e7ef970f918500-Lantz-1_4_Pub.mp3] – Advertisement -The release says the city will be presenting a comprehensive report to BC Hydro, which will address a variety of issues and opportunities associated with the Site-C construction.It adds the project will have a substantial impact on Fort St. John, and the mayor and council will begin meeting this week with Hydro representatives.last_img read more

Fidelity getting makeover

first_img Fidelity, which manages $1.2 trillion in assets, started out in 1946 with just $13 million. The company helped pioneer mutual funds and such investment products as tax-exempt money-market funds before its consistently market-beating Magellan Fund fueled explosive growth in the 1980s and 1990s. Fidelity weathered the 2001 recession better than most of its rivals, and it emerged unblemished from the industry’s trading abuses scandal in 2003-04. It has recently enjoyed strong performances from its bond and international funds and impressive returns from its largest fund, Fidelity Contrafund. While Magellan, Fidelity’s second-biggest fund, posted a better return than all but 39 percent of its investment class peers last year, 71 percent of its rivals did better than Magellan over the past three years, according to Morningstar data. Magellan’s assets, which peaked at $102 billion in 2000, have dwindled to $51 billion, largely due to investors’ disappointment in its performance. Other Fidelity domestic equity funds weighted toward large-company stocks had disappointing returns over the past year. Fidelity’s fourth-biggest fund, Growth & Income, outperformed just 15 percent of its peers over the last 12 months and 8 percent over three years. Meanwhile, Fidelity faces growing competition amid rising popularity of low-cost index and exchange-traded funds that are not actively managed. The Vanguard Group, known for its index funds, leaped ahead of Fidelity in early 2004 as the No. 1 manager of stock and bond funds – a ranking that does not include bank account-style money-market funds, in which Fidelity leads. Capital Research’s American Funds took over the No. 2 stock-bond slot from Fidelity in June. Just $4 billion in new investor money had flowed into Fidelity’s stock and bond funds through from January through November, compared with $72 billion for American Funds and nearly $42 billion for Vanguard, according to the consulting firm Financial Research Corp. This measurement also excludes flows into money-market funds. “Their largest and most prominent funds have not been attractive to investors, so the assets have not flowed their way,” said John Bonnanzio, group editor of Fidelity Insight, an independent Wellesley-based newsletter that tracks Fidelity. Ian Lamont, a Waltham, Mass., resident and Fidelity investor since the late 1980s, said his portfolio has enjoyed strong returns recently because it’s weighted toward Fidelity’s international stock funds that have done well. “But people who have invested in Magellan have probably been very disappointed over the past five years or so,” said Lamont, whose Fidelity investments include Roth IRAs and college-savings plans for two children. While Lamont says Fidelity has a user-friendly Web site and solid customer service, he faults the company for marketing materials that he says emphasize top-performing funds while downplaying those faring poorly. “They never point out the losers,” he said. Fidelity’s chief operating officer blames lagging results in part on heavy reliance on large-company stocks that generally fell short of smaller companies’ returns in 2005 – a trend Reynolds considers cyclical. The disappointing returns come as Fidelity and its rivals jockey for the money-management opportunities from baby boomers set to retire and roll over 401(k) savings into new investments. Fidelity is trying to woo that market with commercials featuring singer Paul McCartney. Meanwhile, federal regulators and a grand jury are investigating possible influence peddling that could result in civil penalties and criminal charges. At issue is whether some of Fidelity’s traders sent company business to brokerage firms offering gifts and gratuities rather than to firms offering the best deals on trades. More than a dozen Fidelity employees have been disciplined in connection with the investigation, and at least five traders have left the firm. As Fidelity tries to improve its overall performance, key managers have been shuffled. In May, Abigail Johnson, the daughter of company chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edward C. Johnson III, moved from a position overseeing Fidelity’s mutual-fund business to a lower-profile unit managing retirement benefits. Many observers had considered Abigail Johnson likely to succeed her father, who is 75 but has not indicated publicly when he will retire. Morningstar’s Traulsen and other outsiders say Abigail Johnson’s move may signal she isn’t in line to take over. “I think that has been thrown into doubt by her failure to innovate in asset management,” Traulsen said. She is the largest shareholder of the privately held company. Her family collectively owns a 49 percent stake, with Fidelity employees holding the rest. Reynolds, whom Traulsen considers another possible future CEO, said Fidelity has a succession plan, but “it’s not spelled out in detail.” He declined to elaborate. In October, Robert Stansky was replaced as the Magellan Fund’s manager by Harry Lange, who is adopting a more aggressive investing style emphasizing growth stocks. Stephen Jonas replaced Abigail Johnson as money-management head, and he plans to double Fidelity’s domestic-equity analyst staff from 90 to 180 by next summer. Jonas is departing from Fidelity’s traditional practice of hiring mostly recent college graduates who start their careers managing small pools of money before moving to bigger and more diverse funds. He is bringing in more outsiders who are longtime specialists in covering single industries, and he is reorganizing research staff by creating teams to share findings with individual fund managers who make investment decisions. “It’s an enormous change from what they’ve done in the past,” Traulsen said. “I think it’s been late in coming, but I think it’s going to benefit them.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BOSTON – Fidelity Investments is turning 60 this year, but the more important milestone may be the changes the nation’s largest mutual fund company is making to restore investor confidence in some of its big-name funds after lagging returns and a stormy 2005. Mediocre performances by Fidelity’s once-stellar Magellan Fund and some other funds have enabled rivals to surpass the company in attracting new investors. Fidelity also found itself the subject of an influence-peddling investigation involving its traders. Responding to these challenges, Fidelity is revamping core operations, shuffling key money managers and hiring more investment analysts. Fidelity is heading in the right direction, its executives say, citing third-quarter earnings that rose 26 percent from the previous year’s comparable quarter and broke a company record. They also point to growth in businesses outside the core mutual-fund operations, including individual retirement planning and employee benefit management services that Fidelity provides to large corporate customers. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita “It’s been a very, very good year,” Chief Operating Officer Robert Reynolds told The Associated Press in a recent interview at Fidelity’s Boston headquarters. Outsiders say the company is still dealing with the aftermath of problems at Magellan and some other high-profile funds, although they agree that Fidelity is succeeding in becoming a diversified financial services company and enjoying strong returns from certain mutual funds. “You can’t use that to mask the real potential weakness in what used to be – or arguably still is – their core business,” said Jim Lowell, a former Fidelity employee who runs an independent advisory newsletter called Fidelity Investor. “There’s no question they’ve been moving against the tide with Magellan’s woeful performance. And investors tend to think that as the flagship fund goes, so goes the rest of the fleet.” Observers credit Fidelity for recent moves to replace managers of poorly performing funds and to bring in more experienced analysts from outside the company. “I think they’re on the right track with the changes they’re making, but only time will tell if the execution will work out,” said Christopher Traulsen, lead Fidelity analyst at Morningstar Inc. last_img read more