skip to content
  1. Home
  2. >
  3. Investment Q&A
You can view 3 more answers this month. Sign up for a free trial for unlimited access.

Investment Q&A

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

Q: Hi 5iResearch team
I am in the process of doing re-weighting. I know the above etfs. The US bond etf (VGSH) has very low interest yield compared to the CAD ones (XSB, ZCS, and ZCM).

1. Are there other US bond etfs that are similar to the above CAD ones in terms of yield and risk?

2. ZUP is in CAD$ and US$. Can you please recommend two more (CAD or US) etfs that are similar to ZUP in terms of yield and risk?

Thank you for the great service.

Read Answer Asked by Ahmed on October 14, 2021

Q: Given current markets and in the near term, I'm considering a 1/3 position in Equities, Fixed Income and Cash. Are these levels reasonable and what is your view of the above ETF's making up my fixed income allocation? You guys are awesome, thanks for your help.

Read Answer Asked by Curtis on February 17, 2021

Q: Hi 5i research team - Can I have your opinion on the ZCM, ZCS, HFR ETFs?
I am looking for ETFs in the bonds category that do not fall much if the market tumbles (relatively safe) and at the same time pays a good interest compared to money market funds. I dont have any in the US market.
Any other ETFs you can think of in the CAD and US markets?
Thanks for your input!

Read Answer Asked by Ahmed on December 23, 2020

Q: What are the best bond etfs to own in Canada and US in your opinion? Please provide several options in both countries. Thank You.

Read Answer Asked by Mirjana on October 14, 2020

Q: There were a couple of questions today on BMO's ZCS. Both your replies suggested not too much concern holding the short term corporates over a longer period of time. Do you have differing thoughts on ZCM and ZLC? BBB rated bonds in ZCS, ZCM, ZLC are 36%, 58%, and 39% respectively.

Also of note all three seem to have a large discount to NAV. Yesterday between 4.3 to 5.5% (ZLC being the highest). Not sure that is normal, or not, as I don't look that closely and BMO doesn't appear to post the info.


Read Answer Asked by on March 16, 2020

Q: I own all of the above in roughly equal weights in my TFSA. I am attempting to replicate your Balanced Equity Portfolio. I am also trying to get more defensive. I think I am overweight in the Info Tech sector. I am looking at a 5 year hold. I have cash to buy another position. What would your advice be - hold the cash or make a purchase. If purchase what would be your recommendation for defensive position?

Thanks for your help.

Read Answer Asked by Ron on February 22, 2019

Q: I have a question about fixed income ETFs and the bond market. Is this the time to be putting large sums of money into fixed income ETFs like ZAG, VAB and ZCM? What risk do these ETFs pose in a rising interest rate environment? Should one even be concerned with the price fluctuations over a month, 6 months or a year?

Read Answer Asked by Jeff on January 10, 2019

Q: I am looking for a good intermediate-duration corporate bond ETF, and was favouring ZCM, until I learned that BMO has come out with ZCB. The duration for ZCB is slightly shorter and the fees are lower. Which do you think would be the better choice for a long-term hold for consistent income, or is there a different intermediate-duration corporate bond ETF that you would prefer to these two? Do you think with the introduction of this ETF, that similar funds from iShares and Vanguard will see their MERs drop accordingly to match the low MER of ZCB? I also hold VSB as part of my fixed income allocation. Thank you very much.

Read Answer Asked by Walter on April 16, 2018

Q: Dear 5i,

I am aiming to configure a fixed-income allocation that is an equal compromise between safety/security and long-term total return potential. I would like to choose ETFs that are versatile enough that they may continue to be reasonably held irrespective of changes in market, interest rate, inflation, and economic conditions. Which configuration do you think would be most appropriate for fulfilling this mandate:

1. 100% VAB
2. 50% VAB, 50% VCB or ZCM
3. 25% VAB, 25% VSB, 50% VCB or ZCM
4. 50% VCB or ZCM, 50% intermediate-duration (~5 years) Canadian government bond ETF (does one exist?)
5. another configuration (please suggest)?

I would prefer to avoid the higher risk XHY and CPD. Why does 5i prefer CLF (VSG is cheaper and similar) and CBO (VSC is cheaper and similar)? VCB is relatively new and has only $12.7M in net assets at this time, is this a problem? Or should I opt for the costlier but similar ZCM?

I realize there are actually many embedded questions in this 'question', so please deduct as many credits as appropriate. I am sure your answer will be well worth it.

Thank you.

Read Answer Asked by Walter on June 26, 2017

Q: I am considering this ETF. What would be the principal drivers of performance for this ZCM? My understanding was that the return of corporate bonds more closely parallel equities compared to government bonds, but I see that in 2015, ZCM still managed to eke out a positive return despite the overall decline in Canadian equities. I also note that it has produced a positive return every year since inception. How closely correlated to stock returns do you expect ZCM to be? What is the likelihood of this product generating a negative return in any one calendar year, and what kind of scenario might have to play out in order for that to happen?

Read Answer Asked by Walter on May 15, 2017

Q: Good morning Peter, Ryan, and Team,

I submitted this question about a week ago, but guess that it must be "floating" in cyberspace! Here it is again:

There was an article in the July 18th Globe & Mail called "It’s time
for investors to reassess their rainy-day funds". The author
believes that too many investors keep too much money in low-
interest bank accounts and money-market funds. Instead, he
states that "intermediate-term bonds, over the long run, are
superior not just to cash but to long-term bonds as well. So when
thinking about where to invest your fixed income assets,
remember Goldilocks: The best place to be is not too long and
not too short. The place to be is what is essentially a large “sweet
spot” between short and intermediate. That’s where the reward-
risk trade-off is at its greatest."

Assuming that one agrees with this thesis, what fixed-income ETFs would you recommend that could fit the bill?

Thanks as always for your valued advice.

Read Answer Asked by Jerry on July 27, 2016