Consider It the First Warning

Well, it’s actually two warnings, but both of the first-time nature. First is the news coming from executive offices at Research In Motion Ltd., where the Ontario Securities Commission, the provinces securities watch dog, has decided to park its sizeable behind for a while.

Why? Some time ago, Research In Motion’s own management instigated an investigation of its own accounting practices, the result of which was a heavyweight statement that the company’s financials may have to be restated several years back. Also, because of these “accounting practices,” (read accounting shenanigans), Research In Motion was unable to file its latest quarterly financials.

On top of what must be very awkward (the OSC lawyers and forensic accountants) for Research In Motion’s employees, a grand total of 65 insiders, including two CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, have a cease-trader order slapped on them. That means they can’t do anything funny with their shares until all this is cleared up. Obviously, they don’t want another John Roth situation. (In case you forgot, he was a former CEO of Nortel Networks, who cashed in his stock options to a tune of about CDN$180.0 million while the company was barely keeping its head above water.)

Until this story unravels, Canadians, as well as all you avid foreign exchange traders out there, have something else to worry about– the Canadian dollar that is likely to start losing some of its luster. After the federal office of the Ministry of Finance decided to slap taxes on income trust distributions, our “well-wishers” south of the border are predicting Canada’s dollar is likely to weaken next year.

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And, regardless how little we may like it, our dollar could very likely be swept up along with other collateral damage, dropping back to the range between $0.82 and $0.85, instead of going for $0.90 or better. As far as “other collateral damage” is concerned, because of income trust situation, foreign interest in Canada is likely to weaken too, which cannot be good news on many levels.