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Streetwise newsletter: The reason behind the exit of RBC’s U.S. capital market chief; Best reads of the week

Here are the top reads from the past week on deals and financial services. Have a great weekend,

Policy violation: The head of Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S. capital markets business allegedly violated company policies on workplace relationships, leading to his dismissal earlier this week. Blair Fleming’s departure was announced in a short memo to staff on Monday afternoon, although at the time, no reason was given. Story (James Bradshaw, Alexandra Posadzki, for subscribers)

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Switzerland’s weird and wonderful proposal to blow up commercial banking: Switzerland’s thriving form of direct democracy sometimes takes the wealthy little country in peculiar directions. Don’t want Swiss mosques studded with minarets? Hold a national referendum to try to get them banned, which is what happened in 2009 – no more minaret construction. A more recent vote on providing a universal guaranteed income did not pass. Next up? On Sunday, the Swiss will, in effect, vote on whether to dismantle their traditional commercial banking system. Opinion (Eric Reguly, for subscribers)

Writeoffs: A government debt default in Barbados has put Canadian banks at risk of writeoffs, with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce particularly exposed to the Caribbean country’s troubled finances through loans and securities worth a half-billion U.S. dollars. Story (Tim Kiladze and James Bradshaw, for subscribers)

G7 investors group: Some of Canada’s largest pension funds and the Canadian government are drumming up international support to invest in issues of importance to the G7. The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan will lead a group of global investors with a combined $6-trillion in assets under management in an effort to improve climate-related disclosures, boost women in finance and bolster expertise in infrastructure. Story (Jacqueline Nelson, for subscribers)

Canadian venture capital: Ritual Technologies Inc., an online ordering service that speeds up the coffee and lunch-run experience for big-city workers, has raised US$70-million in a financing led by Canadian venture capital firm Georgian Partners, as the Toronto startup looks to expand beyond North America. Story (Sean Silcoff, for subscribers)

Pension fund catches tech bug: OPSEU Pension Trust (OPTrust), which manages $20-billion in assets on behalf of 92,000-plus past and present Ontario government employees, has emerged as an anchor investor in Vancouver venture-capital firm Yaletown Partners’ new Innovation Growth Fund, committing $20-million toward its $200-million fundraising goal. Story (Sean Silcoff, for subscribers)

Private equity: GFL Environmental Inc. didn’t set out to be the target of Canada’s largest private management buyout, but it happened anyway. Little more than five months ago, Patrick Dovigi, founder and chief executive of the Canadian waste-management giant, was fixed on taking his fast-growing company public in a share offering expected to be worth as much as $1-billion. Story (Jacqueline Nelson, for subscribers)

Executive appointments: Thomson Reuters Corp. is reshuffling its executive ranks by appointing Brian Peccarelli and Neil Masterson as co-chief operating officers. The news and information giant is in the midst of a complex reorganization after striking a US$17-billion deal in January with Blackstone Group LP to spin out its financial and risk arm – the company’s largest division. Story (James Bradshaw)

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Mining sector: Euro Sun Mining Inc. and Lundin Mining Corp. are increasing the cash component of their roughly $1.5-billion takeover proposal for Nevsun Resources Ltd., but the Vancouver-based base metals miner is still showing little interest in being acquired. Story (Nial McGee)

Proxy fight: Herschel Segal, the Montreal retailing veteran seeking to force out the board at DavidsTea Inc., insists retail investors remain receptive to his effort after two proxy-advisory firms came out against the takeover plan. In separate reports over the weekend, Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) both recommended investors vote to elect management’s incumbent slate of six directors and reject the dissident’s proposal. Story (Nicolas Van Praet, for subscribers)

Mortgages: Real estate developer Fortress Real Developments Inc. is facing a flurry of legal actions from mortgage lenders who have filed applications to foreclose on land earmarked for development projects. Story (Janet McFarland, for subscribers)

FRIDAY NEWS WRAP

Fraud: Customers who use social media to vent frustration at their banks when services go down are inadvertently making themselves targets for fraudsters, law enforcement officials and industry insiders said. That was the case for customers of Britain’s TSB, many of whom took to social media to complain after a computer systems migration by the bank left thousands of users locked out of their accounts. Story

Takeover approval: U.S. cable company Comcast is set to gain unconditional EU antitrust approval for its bid to buy European pay-TV company Sky , two people familiar with the matter said on Friday. Story

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Telecom sector: The U.S. Department of Justice is examining how the proposed merger between T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. could affect prices for smaller wireless operators, according to two people familiar with the matter. Story

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