Asia-Pacific Poised to Become Largest Wealth Market as Early as 2014

Singapore, Hong Kong, September 25, 2013 – The population and wealth of Asia-Pacific’s high net worth individuals (HNWIs1 ) increased at double and triple the rates of HNWIs in the rest of world over the last five years (2007-2012), finds the Asia-Pacific Wealth Report 2013 (APWR), published today by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management. Asia-Pacific built on this trend of strong performance in 2012, its HNWI population expanding by 9.4 percent to reach 3.68 million and their wealth by 12.2 percent to reach US$12 trillion, contributing to record high levels of global HNWI wealth.

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Canadian stocks advance on positive U.S. data

Canadian shares rose as data from the U.S., the nation’s largest trading partner, showed jobless claims surprisingly dropped last week and economic growth quickened in the second quarter.

The Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index (TSE:OSPTX) advanced 0.2 percent to 12,855.73 at 12:08 p.m. in Toronto, extending this year’s gains to 3.4 percent. The 239-member gauge touched 12,905.11, the highest level since July 29, 2011.

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5 Years After the Crash – BMO is Expanding its Reach

We’ve been looking at how the Canadian banks have evolved since the financial crisis erupted 5 years ago.  Today’s focus is on the Bank of Montreal (TSX: BMO, NYSE:BMO).

With total assets of $549 billion, the Bank of Montreal is the fourth largest Canadian bank.  Back in 2008, BMO was heavily involved in securitized products and accordingly, was forced to record a $1.33 billion provision for credit losses.  Only CIBC suffered greater write-downs and losses during that time.  However, BMO managed to schluff off this seemingly glancing blow and since its stock price has fared quite well, posting a 5-year return of over 75%.

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Global roundup: civil service news from Canada, and Hong Kong

Canada: charter seeks to ban civil service employees from wearing religious symbolsThe union representing Quebec‘s civil servants has backed a controversial charter of values which would ban public employees in the province from wearing religious symbols, including hijabs, turbans and large crucifixes. Union president Lucie Martineau said that civil servants are obliged to keep their personal opinions to themselves, and that should be extended to include religious opinions. Critics of the charter say it is a bureaucratic mess and unconstitutional.

Hong Kong: civil service praised by China’s vice presidentThe vice president of China, Li Yuanchao, praised Hong Kong’s civil servants for their contribution to the city, at a meeting with a delegation of 11 permanent secretaries in Beijing on 12 September. Li said the civil service played an important role in maintaining Hong Kong’s stability, prosperity and autonomy. He also said the Chinese central government fully supports Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying’s administration.

Li Ka-shing Says Hong Kong May Lose Out to Shanghai

Li Ka-shing, Asia’s richest man, said Hong Kong needs to raise its competitiveness if it wants to avoid losing out to Shanghai, where China is setting up a free trade zone, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.

Li, the 85-year-old chairman of Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. (1) and Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (13), said the Shanghai free trade zone “will affect Hong Kong heavily,” RTHKreported on its website, citing comments Li made at a briefing yesterday.

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BlackBerry launches new Z30 smartphone

Amidst deep uncertainty about its future as a public company, BlackBerry is launching a new flagship smartphone.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone maker introduced on Wednesday the BlackBerry Z30. The five-inch touchscreen device comes with myriad new features, including stereo speakers, a 1.7-gigahertz processor and “priority hub” software that learns a user’s most important contacts and conversations and collects them in one place.

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