Category Archives: Investments

A Tale of Two Massachusetts Bank Mergers: North Easton Savings Bank and Avidia Bank

Two banks in Massachusetts—North Easton Savings Bank and Mutual Bank—have recently announced that they will be merging in early 2019.

The two banks both maintain 9 locations in different Massachusetts communities. This merger will allow the banks to combine their resources and expand their services. The banks have announced their commitment towards maintaining a culture of growth and success and have dedicated a website,, to support clients.

Bank mergers can be complicated and often affect thousands of clients as well as employees.

This was the case when another two Massachusetts banks—Westborough Bank and Hudson Savings Bank—merged in 2007. When their merger was announced in November 2006, the deal seemed straightforward. Hudson parent company Assabet Valley Bancorp would pay $35 per share for Westborough Financial Services Inc. (the mutual holding company for The Westborough Bank), for a total of $20.6 million. The deal eventually went through, and the two banks merged to become Avidia Bank.

But, surprisingly, this deal involved intense negotiations, and did not go to the highest bidder. An offer of $38.50 per share from an unidentified individual was rejected by the bank’s shareholders. Another offer, of $40 per share by Marc Bistricer’s Murchinson, was also turned down.

As these Massachusetts banks demonstrate, bank mergers are complex deals that carry implications for bank personnel, investors, and customers.

Gold to Make a Comeback, Analysts Predict

As a hedge against inflation, gold

Native gold from Nevada, USA. (3.7 ounces). Courtesy of James St. John

gleams. But the stronger the dollar, the lower the price of gold tends to fall.

According to Bart Melek, the global head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto, investors and observers can expect to see the price of gold to climb as the dollar continues to weaken.

Since April 11, 2018 gold bullion lost about 5% in value, due to a surging dollar. Despite confusion in Italy and other uncertainties around the world, gold was selling for under $1300. Melek is predicting a surge in the price during the final quarter of 2018 to an average of $1375 an ounce, and could possibly hit a high price of $1400.

“As time moves on, there’ll be less and less reasons to get into the U.S. dollar, which will likely reverse some of the flows,” said Melek, a speaker at a precious metals conference in Singapore. “We do ultimately think that as we move into 2019, the U.S. dollar will weaken, which is a very powerful fuel for the gold complex.”

The outlook for the very near future is less optimistic for gold, whcich Melek does not believe will rise given the dollars continued strengthening. In addtion, the Fed is expected to raise interest rates two more times this year. Prices for gold will most likely average at about $1290 in the third quarter, and $1300 in the fourth quarter of 2018.

TSX Worried About Pot Companies with US Business Exposure

A ripe & healthy cannabis plant. Photo courtesy of Cannabis Training University.

The struggle over the legalization of marijuana in the United States has created a bit of uncertainty in the Toronto Stock Exchange’s relationship to US companies that produce the mind-stimulating drug.

Aphria Inc, an Ontario-based producer of marijuana says it met with representatives of the TSX a week ago to talk about the company’s exposure to US markets and the risk that exposure subjects the company to.

Vic Neufeld, CEO of Aphria, said that the company re-committed to working with the TSX as it carefully studies the developments in the United States as they happen. Earlier in October the TSX warned companies that the US federal laws take precedence over the state laws, and, at least right now, federal US law holds marijuana to be an illegal substance. The potential for economic trouble exists for companies like Aphria which have investments in Florida and Arizona, where marijuana is legal for medicinal only and recreational use, respectively.

The TSX said that companies on their exchange that do not comply with US federal law are not in compliance with their requirements to be listed on their exchange.

Neufeld said that he would like to see his company remain on the TSX, and right now has no plans to move Aphria to the more pot-friendly Canadian Securities Exchange. However, if an agreement with the TSX can’t be reached Neufeld said there are other options, such as creating a spin-off for its US business which can be listed separately on the CSX.

Stay Financially Healthy With Professional Financial Advisors

Individuals and families should consider taking charge of their financial situations to reach their material goals in life. Most people would like to save for retirement, many would like to secure the ability to pay, at least partly, for their children’s college educations. Others plan and save for vacations, purchasing a home, or a host of other things which can take a substantial bite out of their monthly incomes.

Financial service companies, such as Essex Financial in Essex, Connecticut, can help people clarify their goals and set up savings plans that will help them reach them.

Saving for retirement is something highly recommended, and which many people take responsibility for. Although some people choose to handle their own retirement plans, many others turn to professionals like Essex Financial to help them manage investments, understand new tax laws which can affect their bottom lines, and other complex issues that most working people simply don’t have the time or expertise to focus on successfully.

Financial planners are trained professionals that have at their fingertips large amounts of information that a layman would need hours of research to discover. Once financial goals are clarified, then the advisor can recommend actions on how families or individuals can meet those goals. He or she will know how investments should be allocated, how much and what kind of insurance is needed, and how certain actions affect the individual’s tax bill or estate.

Just as someone would not diagnose or try and treat an illness without the help and advice of a qualified medical professional, so too people should seek the help of a financial professional to help them maintain excellent financial health, all throughout life.


Silverfern Holds 2017 Annual Meeting, Provides Overview

The Silverfern Group, co-managed by Clive Holmes and Reeta Holmes, has released its investments from 2016 at its 2017 Annual Meeting, providing an overview which revealed five new investments, three follow-on investments and three exits.

“Silverfern’s two largest, global networks- our base of investors spanning five continents and 23 countries, and our network of more than 50 operating executives and local operating partners- again provided us with a flow of private, off-market information that created unique investment opportunities,” Silverfern’s Clive Holmes said at the event. “We continue to add global diversification to our portfolio, while at all times remaining an informed, local investor.”

The new investments were in private equity and real estate, and included positions in the recapitalization of Temp RiverPark Apartments and the acquisitions of APR Energy plc, Continental Bakeries, Broad River Power Holdings and the Waste Services Group.  The firm also made three follow-on investments into APR Energy, O-Tex Holdings, Inc. and Sequitur Energy Resources, as well as three investment exits.

 “2016 proved to be extremely productive for Silverfern as we made five new platform investments, three follow-on investments, and achieved three investment exits globally,” said Reeta Co-Managing Partner Reeta Holmes. “The pace of our investments in middle market private equity, real estate and private debt globally has been accelerating, and we expect it will continue in 2017.”