North American Inequality: Habs and Hab Nots

Kevin McSweeney's picture

As round two of the NHL playoffs begin, we at Signature would be remiss not to note the massive division within CI, between Signature’s support for the Canadiens and our Boston friends at Cambridge backing the Bruins. 

As one of Canada’s largest asset managers, Signature is always proud to support institutions that play by the rules, demonstrate above average risk-adjusted returns, and deliver solid results. This describes the Canadiens, supported by Signature’s Montreal and Quebec natives like Eric Bushell, Drummond Brodeur, Stephane Champagne, Malcolm White, and Derek Tucker and others like John Hadwen and Kevin McSweeney. 

While our Boston colleagues at Cambridge share this approach for securities, they abandon all principles of sanity, and go WAY off the road when it comes to supporting the Boston Bruins. On the day of the Montreal-Boston playoff series opening, we can’t help but reflect on the differences between Signature’s Canadiens and Cambridge’s Bruins and wonder what Cambridge could be thinking with their rooting interest. 

We view the story of these teams as analogous to the respective countries’ banking systems. The Canadian banks are a group where the actors operate prudentially, within the rules, in respectful competition – just like the Canadiens. This is in contrast to many of the American banks who looked to cut corners on regulation, getting away with what they could – just like the Bruins. Why would Cambridge buy the subprime sportsmanship of Milan Lucic spearing Alexei Emelin while the referees’ backs are turned? What kind of sports portfolio goes long the moral bankruptcy of the stick swinging of a Brad Marchand? At Signature, we prefer the dignified and gentlemanly approach of a George Parros or a Claude Lemieux.

We’re not sure that Cambridge even knows that “Milan Lucic” is Serbian for “Ken Lewis.”* Did we mention that Zdeno Chara is Slovakian for “Dick Fuld”*?

Brandon Snow knows these things* and is a courageous contrarian within that organization – backing Les Glorieux with the highest conviction. We applaud your bravery Brandon. 

Indeed, many of us here – including Habs fan John Hadwen, our Financials PM – trace the beginnings of the financial crisis back to May 1979. This is when the Bruins decided to transform from a straightforward long-only hockey team into one operating with 20% leverage by putting six skaters on the ice rather than five. Fortunately, the prudential regulator was able to catch this, and the Canadiens were able to save the day with an OT win and, of course, another Stanley Cup. However, the damaging leverage precedent was set, culminating in the global economic system almost coming apart in 2008. 

Thanks a lot Grapes.

So, as you sit down to watch the Canadiens win tonight, and then enjoy the final three games of the series, please remember that our Cambridge friends in Boston, while investing pros, need to increase their hockey alpha. 


*Probably not true, we totally didn’t check.


Submitted by Linda MacDonald... on

Results after game 1:

Signature Poutines: 1
Cambridge Clam Chowdas: 0

Going to be a juicy series!

Submitted by Jeff Duffey on

Love it!! Keep the returns, and entertainment going.
Round 1 = Signature

Submitted by Bob Swanson on

Congratulation to Habs fans on pulling off a victory in game one, despite being out shot nearly 2:1. Those of us pulling for the B's take comfort in knowing that the Habs are relatively ineffective while playing at full strength, but can't ignore their effectiveness on the power play. It's unfortunate that the refs have embraced the softer style of play rather than "NHL-style" that the Bruins and most other teams in the league play. With advertising dollars that were until recently spent on the NBA now looking for a new venue such as the NHL, it is important for the league to see series go to the full 7 games. As such, providing the Habs the 5 on 4 advantage helps extend the series to the benefit of all. This will be an enjoyable series.

Submitted by Bob Crichton on

I have maintained for a long time that the talented group of managers on the CI bench would put CI over the salary cap if they were an NHL team. Just be careful how much you poke the bear. Remember, they have the Red Sox too.

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