Weak Business Investment: Addressing a Grave Threat to Canada’s Economy
William B.P. Robson, President & Chief Executive Officer, C.D. Howe Institute
Bill Robson took office as President and CEO of the C.D. Howe Institute in July 2006, after serving as the Institute’s Senior Vice President since 2003 and Director of Research since 2000. He has written more than 230 monographs, articles, chapters and books on such subjects as government budgets, pensions, healthcare financing, inflation and currency issues. His work has won awards from the Policy Research Secretariat, the Canadian Economics Association, and the Donner Canadian Foundation. He is a Senior Fellow at Massey College and holds an ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors. He is a member of the Panel of Senior Advisors to the Auditor General of Ontario and the Ifo World Economic Survey expert group, and a regular commentator on BNN/Bloomberg. Bill taught public finance and public policy at the University of Toronto from 2000 to 2003, and currently teaches a Master’s level course in public finance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.
Hugh Swandel, Senior Managing Director, Canada, The Alta Group
Hugh Swandel is the senior managing director of The Alta Group in Canada. The Alta Group is a global consultancy practice specializing in the asset based finance industry. Hugh is well known to the industry, a frequent speaker at industry events, and a member of the Canadian Finance & Leasing Association (CFLA) board of directors. In recent years, he has assisted many top Canadian industry firms on a variety of projects including market entry studies, acquisitions, due diligence, funding and strategic planning.
With extensive North American contacts in the equipment finance and leasing industry, Hugh has a strong reputation as an effective negotiator of win/win agreements involving mergers & acquisitions, business development, market entry, securitization and other matters of importance to lessors.
In addition to serving on the board of directors of the CFLA, he is the immediate past president and a member of the executive committee of the National Equipment Finance Association (NEFA, USA). He also is a member of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association of America (ELFA). Hugh is also on the advisory board of the industry trade publication Leasing News.
“In 2006 and again in 2010, Hugh received the Canadian leasing industry’s highest honor when he was named ‘CFLA Member of the Year.’”
During the global credit crisis, Hugh was retained by the CFLA to prepare materials and provide insight into the impact of the credit crisis on Canadian independent finance companies. He presented to the advisory committee to the minister of finance and was later asked to provide commentary to the CD Howe Institute at policy development discussions with government and industry representatives.
Hugh’s articles on the Canadian leasing market have been published in numerous industry magazines, and he co-authored a research document for the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation on the Canadian market.
Prior to founding his consulting firm, Swandel and Associates, in 2001, Hugh served as president and chief operating officer of Electronic Financial Group (EFG). EFG was a Canadian company that launched a multi lending web based credit system. Earlier, Hugh spent 10 years with National Leasing Group in a variety of senior positions. National Leasing Group is a Canadian lessor that has won numerous awards for excellence in management and innovation.
Peter van Dijk, Partner, National Tax Policy, Banking Tax & Tax Innovation Leader, PwC
Prior to joining PwC, Peter was Senior Vice President, Tax, at TD Bank Group and led the tax function of TD Bank Group. Previous positions held by Peter include Senior Vice President, Tax, at Sun Life Financial and International Tax Partner at EY in Toronto.
After graduating from law school in the Netherlands, Peter worked as an international tax consultant – gradually progressing to the partner level – for over 15 years in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the US and Canada for both law and accounting firms. His main technical area of expertise is international corporate tax planning, including cross border financing structures, leasing transactions, holding structures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property structures and tax effective supply chain management. Following his career as an international tax consultant, Peter spent over 12 years leading large tax functions for two leading Canadian financial institutions, TD Bank Group and Sun Life Financial.
During his time in industry, Peter has developed deep expertise in building, leading, inspiring and managing corporate tax teams. He has also acquired extensive knowledge of and experience in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the tax reporting and compliance functions through process improvement and automation. Other key focus areas while leading the tax functions at TD Bank Group and Sun Life Financial were tax governance, risk management and partnering with the business.
Peter is the National Tax Policy Leader of PwC in Canada. Throughout his career, Peter has built strong relationships with tax policy and revenue authorities in many countries, including Canada, the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Singapore. In 2010, Peter received the HMRC’s External Engagement Award for Advancing Transparency in Tax. Also, Peter has developed strong relationships with the OECD through his active participation in the OECD’s BEPS initiative.
Peter has a Dutch and a Canadian Master of Laws degree (University of Leiden Law School and Osgoode Hall Law School, respectively) as well as a Canadian Master of Business Administration degree (Richard Ivey School of Business).