Thursday, March 09, 2006

Trustscam: You Have Mail

So who did Scott Brison send his glad tidings about income trust dividend taxes to at CIBC the day before the rest of the world found out? None other than the top income trusts man!

Dan Nowlan rarely appears in the press, but when he does, the results are typically flattering. He has been described in photo captions as "fabulous and single," and has been labelled a "babe magnet" in society pages. Yet it was another description, one that lauded his skills as a financier, that could fuel a growing controversy in Ottawa: "the income-trust guy."

Mr. Nowlan, a highly respected investment banker at the brokerage arm of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, was the recipient of an unsolicited e-mail last November from Liberal MP and former public works minister Scott Brison. Mr. Brison wrote to him the day before Ottawa unveiled a much-anticipated policy decision on the income-trust sector, and told him, "I think you will be happier very soon . . . this week probably."


Mr. Nowlan, an executive in his late 30s, runs the income-trust portion of what is known as the equity capital markets group at CIBC World Markets, a leader in income-trust financing. He is also a committed Tory from the Maritimes and has known Mr. Brison since the days before Mr. Brison defected from the Conservative Party to join the Liberals.

Even if Nowlan himself didn't act on the information, doesn't it seem strange that Brison would have sent him, and him alone, an unsolicited e-mail giving him a heads-up?

Surely he had to have been fishing for information beforehand. A man in Nowlan's position just doesn't ignore a critical contact like that about a matter that could make or break him in his current job.

Source: Globe and Mail

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