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There was lots of IMPACT on the weekend

November 14, 2006

Source: St. Mary's University

The IMPACT fund management program of the Sobey School of Business recently held its Second Annual Portfolio Management "Kick-Off" Weekend at Saint Mary’s University.

For two days, IMPACT (Investment Management of Portfolios in Atlantic Canada Training) members interacted with a variety of industry professionals on numerous topics including portfolio management, security valuation, and economic forecasting. This year, students from the University of New Brunswick’s Student Investment Fund (SIF) Group made the trip from Fredericton to join the proceedings.

The first speakers of the weekend were Ken Chernin, Michael Mills, CFA and Terry Milne, CFA, all financial analysts from Beacon Securities of Halifax. Cherin is a gradaute of Saint Mary's University. Both provided personal insights regarding how to get a foot in the door to establish a career in the financial industry based on their own experiences. The trio led an informative discussion on the job market, something on every students mind, and also discussed what kinds of things they do in their role as analysts.

The next speaker was Mr. Craig Prall, CA, CFA, CFP, TEP of RBC Private Wealth Management, and past president of the Atlantic Canada CFA Society. Prall provided information regarding the benefits of the CFA program for those wishing to pursue a career in the finance industry, and answered questions from the many students already enrolled to write their Level 1 exam in June. The second part of his discussion focused on portfolio management and the importance of the investment policy statement, which he discussed in relation to his particular area of expertise - private wealth management.

Friday afternoon’s final speaker was David Amirault, the Senior Representative (Economics) at the Bank of Canada’s Regional Office for the Atlantic provinces. Amirault, who is a gradaute of Saint Mary's, provided an overview of the Bank of Canada’s structure and how they function in the Canadian economy. He then discussed the Bank’s most recent Quarterly Economic Outlook, which was timely for both IMPACT and SIF students, who were in the midst of preparing their own economic forecasts.

Friday concluded with a reception for IMPACT members, board members, and mentors. This provided students with a chance to interact with the many industry professionals who have agreed to be mentors for the program this year, and whose past, current and future contributions make the program possible. This represented a great opportunity for IMPACT students and mentors to meet, discuss the financial industry in Canada, and begin the exchange of knowledge that results from the mentoring aspect of the IMPACT program. During the proceedings, Ross Hallett of BMO Nesbitt Burns was awarded an official plaque commemorating his selection as "Mentor of the Year" for 2005 – 2006, which was voted on by IMPACT members last April.

The focus of Saturday’s discussions was that of equity research and valuation. The first speaker was Bestee Alpargun, CFA, Vice President of Equity Research at Acadian Securities Inc. of Halifax. Ms. Alpargun shared her expertise on the research and valuation process based on her broad experiences in past analyst roles, and also on her current role, which requires her to research companies in a wide variety of industries. She provided specific examples of companies that she was presently following in the real estate and material sectors.

The second speaker was a graduate of the IMPACT Program, Greg Coleman (MBA ’05), who is presently employed as a Research Associate (Energy) with Wellington West Capital Markets Inc. in Toronto. Colman spoke about the energy sector in general, with a focus on gas prices and production in North America, and the worldwide oil market. He also described how to conduct detailed company valuations within that sector, using two companies as examples. He also discussed how he was able to get his current job, and how his participation in the IMPACT program had contributed to his career.

The last speaker was Brendon D’Mello, an analyst from the National Accounts division of TD Bank in Toronto. He discussed valuation methods from the creditor’s point of view, focusing on risk management and key financial risk indicators. D’Mello outlined five drivers of good credit as well as bad credit, and key risks in management from industry, business, and financial perspectives. He then introduced three primary factors for designing valuation models: the nature of output, the stages of industry, and leverage of company.

The weekend concluded with a luncheon at the private dining room of Saint Mary’s University. This provided a great opportunity for IMPACT program members, SIF members, and the speakers from the second day to interact.

Saint Mary's University is known for its community outreach projects, both in Canada and around the world. Saint Mary's, founded in 1802, is home to one of Canada's leading business schools, a Science Faculty widely known for its cutting-edge research, a comprehensive and innovative Arts Faculty and a vibrant Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.


For More Information:

Paul FitzgeraldPublic Affairs OfficerSaint Mary's University, Public Affairs(902) 420.5514E-mail:



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