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Investment Q&A

Not investment advice or solicitation to buy/sell securities. Do your own due diligence and/or consult an advisor.

Q: I have the above in my TFSA along with 5 individual stocks currently.
Any gapes or duplication in the ETFs, Should I just add to each equally with any new contributions to an approx 10-12 % weighting for all and thereafter considerate on individual stocks for more growth torque.

Read Answer Asked by Henry on June 17, 2022

Q: I am thinking of setting up my portfolio with 25% positions in XIU, ZLB, XSP, ZLU. I am trying to avoid bonds and International stocks as they always seem to be a drag on the portfolio. With this arrangement I feel I have a better chance for returns closer to the market. With the low volatility ETF’s, I am hoping my positions would cause less volatility and would smooth out returns as the holdings in each are well correlated. Would you consider this plan to be too risky or would you have any other commentary or suggestions?

Read Answer Asked by Myron on June 01, 2022

Q: Dear 5i
The above noted ETFs are the ones i commonly use in my RRSP , TFSA and non registered accts .
CDZ and ZLB are used for CDN content and the rest for US content.
I believe there is probably some redundancy in these and was wondering which ETFs could be left out .
Which ETFs would you use for RRSPs , which for the TFSAs and which for the non-registered acct .?
Bill C

Read Answer Asked by Bill on May 25, 2022

Q: With more concern about an economic slow down or hopefully not, recession on the horizon, I have been thinking about being more defensive than I have been in the past.
So, I was wondering how well did the Low Volatility ETF's hold up during the big meltdown of 2020, and did they actually do the job that the name implies, and not go down as much as the rest of the TSX.
Would you be more inclined to just hold some XIU, or just ZLB, or both, along with 10-15 individual highest conviction stocks, and try to enjoy the next 6-12 months some what worry free.


Read Answer Asked by Greg on April 19, 2022

Q: Dear 5i team.

Further to Cyril's question where you "hand selected a few of your favs from the three portfolios", is this a diversified enough list to put a small ETF portfolio together based on? Can you suggest which ETFs may be appropriate?

I recently upgraded to include your ETF portfolios. Can you "handpick your favs" in these given the current market backdrop, risks, and opportunities ahead?

Many thanks.

Read Answer Asked by Arthur on March 30, 2022

Q: Retired, dividend-income investor.

I just flushed a legacy mutual fund that was planned to be merged into a different MF. I didn't like the new MF asset allocation. I plan to top up some of my existing ETFs and stock holdings to my maximum comfort level re: asset allocation, then (if needed) add an additional ETF to complement the portfolio.

Q#1 = I own CDZ and ZLB. For a conservative, long term, core ETF what guideline would you use for maximum asset allocation? I currently am at 7-8% each for the equity portion of my portfolio.. Is it reasonable to stretch this to 10% each? When I look at the top 10 holdings in CDZ and ZLB, there is no overlap at all.

Q#2 = I also own LIFE and ZWC, both covered call exposure is 11% of my equities. What maximum exposure to CC would you recommed? I seem to recall a question a while back that you suggested 10 or 15% was reasonable.

Q#3 = depending on your above answers, I may need an additional ETF with the following attributes for a long term holding = conservative, dividend >3%, Canadian holdings (ok to have some foreign). holdings should hit as many of the 11 sectors as possible and if possible, little overlap with the top 10 contained in CDZ or ZLB.

Thanks for your help...much appreciated...Steve

Read Answer Asked by Stephen on March 01, 2022

Q: could your recommend a low volatility ETF for the Canadian, US and International market? would you prefer a Canadian or International ETF over the US given that the US has had such a large run?

Read Answer Asked by Mary on December 10, 2021

Q: I have these ETF's in a TFSA with a primary goal 8 to 10% annual return. I'd like your opinion if there is overlap in this portfolio and if there would be another ETF to add. This is a smaller portfolio and I don't think it would be efficient to buy the individual stocks in your balanced equity model portfolio.

Read Answer Asked by George on November 11, 2021

Q: Looking for some low volatility ETFs that can take a little turbulance
Am considering the above.How would you rate them in order and have I overlooked some other possibilities?

Read Answer Asked by peter on September 27, 2021

Q: Hi folks, I am expecting an inheritance of about $50-70,000. I currently have what I would consider a med-high risk portfolio for retirement. I'm 46 so I am a ways from retiring but would rather put that $50-70,000 in a small number of low-med risk equities or an ETF with a good dividend and just let it grow slowly but surely. Can you provide any recommendations?


Read Answer Asked by Brad on June 25, 2021

Q: Hi Peter and Ryan

Understanding that timing the market can be difficult and trying to follow your recommendations for the most part has been very useful information. Thank you
I am looking to “lie low” through what I believe to be a coming correction and wish to invest in ETFs with some protection

I am looking at ZDY ZLU ZLB ZEB as a 20 % of my portfolio over the summer. Your comments please and so you have other etfs that might be of interest... Icahn comes to mind


Read Answer Asked by Peter on May 25, 2021

Q: Retired, dividend-income investor. A question earlier today has motivated me to finally ask this question....been thinking of it for quite a while. It had to do with potential rising interest rates and your response was that dividend investors should be prepared for a bumpy ride in the short term (my paraphrase of your answer).

I own the above securities and for the most part trim-add around core positions that I hold for the long term. Is it possible to divide the above securities into two that would be "ok" in a rising interest rate environment and the other that I should consider trimming a bit or maybe selling? I am ok riding things out for the long term and do not normally react to short term volatility.

Thanks for your help....Steve

Read Answer Asked by Stephen on March 20, 2021

Q: Setting up an 40K RRSP with a 6 to 10 year time frame. What is your opinion and/or alternatives to ZEB, VXC, ZDV, XBB in equal proportions.

Read Answer Asked by Ric on January 11, 2021

Q: Good day
If I wanted to purchase ETFs instead of Mawer funds what would be the equivalent ETFs in Canada or the US

Read Answer Asked by Indra on October 01, 2020

Q: In each our TFSAs we have ZLB and CDZ plus cash. We understand that we should diversify our TFSA investments with a minimum of 5 different ETFs or mutual funds in each TFSA. Should we also consider having different investments in each TFSA?
Thank you Bradley Kempston

Read Answer Asked by Bradley on July 20, 2020

Q: I am well past retirement and trying to consolidate my stock holdings into ETFs. I. may not last long enough to complete this transition, but I'm moving in that direction! My latest thought on this is to divide my Canadian equity between ZLB and CDZ the first for stability, the 2nd for dividends, and for US equity ZSP. I'm staying away from other International stocks at this stage. Does this seem reasonable?


Read Answer Asked by M.S. on June 25, 2020

Q: Hi 5i
Hope you can help me. I've managed my and my wife's registered and unregistered accounts for a number of years and I'm satisfied with the results. Those accounts primarily hold equities and I spend quite a bit of time overseeing them and tweaking as I think necessary.
I've now been put in the position of acting as trustee of funds for two minors. The time frames the two trusts will run are 7 and 9 years respectively and the principal amount of each is approx 75K. I want to invest the funds but I don't want to put them in individual equities and manage them as actively as I do our personal accounts. I would prefer to put them into ETF's that I can keep an eye on monthly or quarterly and not worry too much about tweaking.
Being optimistic by nature I'm hoping to arrange to get it all for these two trusts - capital appreciation, income, sensible degree of risk, Canadian, US and international exposure, favourable tax treatment, etc.
There are an awful lot of ETF's out there and I really don't know how best to evaluate them to shake out a reasonable number to look into further - especially considering how difficult it can be to identify individual holdings to effectively avoid overlap and provide diversification.
With all that in mind, could I ask you to list 5 (or so) equity based ETF's for each of CDA, the US and internationally that you think might accomplish the goals I've listed, so that I can then look into those ones further and make some decisions about where to put these funds I'm charged with managing.
Also, if you do have any general or specific advice that you think might be useful to me in the situation I've described, I would certainly appreciate your including it in your answer.
Thanks very much and please deduct credits as you feel appropriate.

Read Answer Asked by Peter on June 05, 2020

Q: Can you comment on these ETF's I presently hold in a corporate unregistered acct. I have a large amount in DVY.US - not sure why (previously with a FI ) Looking to update this portfolio based on present times. In At least a 5 year hold. Please take as many credits as needed.
Thanks so much.

Read Answer Asked by lorraine on May 05, 2020

Q: Hi Peter: When I sit back and take a look at the big picture and review how my portfolio performed during COVID-19 (so far), I try to see what lessons I can learn, then turn to how to apply those lessons to make my portfolio stronger.

I am a retired, dividend-income investor. I am a huge believer in asset allocation and have designed a portfolio, in my opinion, to be reasonably well diversified, although heavy to Canada. It WAS roughly 70% equities (including 32% foreign content) and 30% fixed income (roughly 15% insured annuities, 15% Fisgard Capital...both averaging in the 5-6% pre-tax range and minor cash). My equities are mostly blue chip, dividend payers, as you can see above. The 3 mutual funds are a very minor part of my portfolio, especially Eric's Energy Fund (<2%). I also receive a company pension and CPP-OAS which, when included, drops my equities to roughly 32%.

I use various metrics to monitor my portfolio, such as P/E, P/BV, P/CF, P/S, Beta, ROE, Div growth, Payout%, technical indicators like 200 mda. I am normally a buy-and-hold investor who trims/adds around a core position.

Periodically I measure how "at risk" my portfolio is relative to the overall market. I do this by prorating my portfolio using Beta. Based on equities only, I averaged 0.68 and for my entire portfolio I averaged 0.44. So, one would think that if the overall market (TSX) was to drop 30%, then I would have thought my portfolio would drop 44% to 68% of that, being in the range of 13% (overall) to 20% (equities only).

In actual fact, my entire portfolio dropped 27% from peak to trough vs the expected 13%...over double! I understand that EVERYTHING was sold off...almost no exceptions. So what do we learn from this and what changes should we consider? Do we accept that "sxxt happens" once in a can't predict every event, accept it and move on? Should we consider increasing the cash component as a buffer? there something else to be learned here?

Thanks for you help...much appreciated...Steve

Read Answer Asked by Stephen on May 04, 2020