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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: Hello,
I will be switching to an indexing strategy in the near future and have a few ETFs that I would like your comparisons/advice/opinions. All ETFs will be held in TFSAs or RRSPs over a long term.

1)S&P/TSX: XIU, XIC, HXT*

2)S&P 500: ZSP, HXS*

3)Emerging Markets: ZEM, XEC*

*denotes commission free trades.

4) In registered accounts, is there a long term advantage to having capital gains vs dividends distributions as is the case for HXT and HXS? I would reinvest any potential dividends in other ETFs.

Thank you.

Read Answer Asked by Dave on January 25, 2022

Q: What Canadian ETF would you recommend that follows the S&P 500 index. Of your top choice please suggest a hedged and unhedged ETF and which would you recommend, hedged or unhedged. Is your recommendation solely based on the ETFs MER. Thanks … Cal

Read Answer Asked by cal on January 14, 2022

Q: FTEC now makes up almost 12% of my portfolio and wondering if you would recommend trimming a bit and investing in an ETF like ARKK? I also hold ZSP which is about 10% of my portfolio now and maybe there is a bit of overlap between the two ETFs? Looking for growth in my RRSP, 10+ years and I don't need any dividends.

Do you think there is still some upside left to an industrial ETF like VIS? And do you have any other sector ETF recommendations that will complement FTEC and ZSP?

Thanks in advance. Please deduct credits as required.
KD

Read Answer Asked by K on November 05, 2021

Q: What are the Can ETFs that cover the main US ETFs, like SPY? And what are their mers?

What are the advantages of using these Canadian versions?

Do you still require W-BEN forms if you buy these?

Thanks for all your help.

Read Answer Asked by Mark on October 28, 2021

Q: I would like to exit my brokerage RRSP to a self directed RRSP and I am looking for 4 to 5 Canadian EFT's to provide balanced diversification across sectors, nations, Portfolio Analytics suggests 70 equities/30 fixed income. Other ideas you have to create a balanced diversified ETF RRSP would be appreciated.
Are there any strategies( eg time of year) to make the switch or just do it.
Thank you for your service.

Read Answer Asked by Mike on October 28, 2021

Q: My 28yr old son is looking to build a diversified ETF portfolio with 100% equity exposure with a bent towards growth given his long investment horizon.  These will be spread across his TFSA, RRSP and Non-Registered accounts.  Since he will be contributing smaller amounts on a regular basis a zero commission platform such as Wealthsimple is appealing.  However, they charge 1.5% fee for all currency conversions making it only practical to hold Canadian traded ETF's.  As a result he is considering the following:

ZSP 40%
XIC 25%
TEC 20%
VIU 10%
VEE 5%

ZSP + XIC + VIU + VEE together create a mix of ETFs that are globally diversified and very similar to the structure of XEQT/VEQT.  Versus XEQT/VEQT This portfolio has a slightly lower weighted-average MER at 0.16% and also has 20% in TEC (in place of something like QQQ) which is more growth oriented. Here are how the sectors would be weighted with this portfolio:

Info 31%
Financial 15%
Cons Disc 11%
Industrial 9%
Healthcare 8%
Communica 7%
Cons Staples 5%
Energy 5%
Materials 4%
Utilities 2%
Real Estate 2%

These would be the top 10 holdings with this portfolio and these top 10 would account for 24% of holdings in this portfolio:

AAPL5.1% MSFT4.9% AMZN3.2% GOOGL1.8% FB1.7% GOOG1.7% TSLA1.5% SHOP1.4% RY1.2% NVDA1.2%

If this was you at 28, can you please comment on
- are the 5 ETFs he has chosen ones you would go with given his objectives, if not, what changes/substitutes would you make along with recommended % allocations?
- is his % allocation across the 5 appropriate or would you make changes? For example I thought there might be too much overlap between ZSP and TEC as they are both highly invested in AAPL, MSFT, AMZ and FB and he is looking at 60% going into these 2 ETF's. That may well be what you want at his age but  I wonder if he is better served by reducing ZSP to 25% -30% and TEC to 15% and add  the remaining 15-20% to CDZ or VGG (or something else?)
- given he will be making contributions to his TFSA, RRSP and Non-registered, which ETF would be best in which account and why? 

Thanks for all your help, 
Scott

Read Answer Asked by Scott on October 22, 2021

Q: My grandson has been financially responsible and soon to be mortgage free. He has made some investments with with a financial advisor who has him in high MER mutual funds. He doesn't feel competent to have a self-directed stock account but he would like to invest using ETFs. Can you recommend where I might start in searching for an advisor who would be willing to invest in ETFs for a relatively small ($40,000) account to start. My grandson lives in Greater Vancouver.
With appreciation,
Ed

Read Answer Asked by Ed on October 19, 2021

Q: Can you recommend a sort of Rip van Winkle portfolio for an 84 year old lady who just sold her house? We're talking in the neighbourhood of $400,000. She has little need for the money right now and is not worried much about volatility. She has an pension which helps too cover the need for bonds.

Read Answer Asked by Fred on October 18, 2021

Q: About 1 year ago you provided some general guidance on a retirement portfolio and I’m wondering what changes, if any, you might recommend given another year has passed. I’m not looking for specific guidance but rather suggestions for me to investigate further given how the investing landscape has changed this past year. Retirement horizon is 5 years and the portfolio has the following holdings: ZAG(26%), ZSP (3%), CDZ(65%), ZEA(6%). We have a large cash position that we’re ready to deploy. First, what is your take on the viability and allocation of the current holdings? Second, what are some ETF suggestions for the cash - add to existing ETFs or do you have alternative funds you’d recommend for us to investigate. Thanks so much!

Read Answer Asked by Warren on October 04, 2021

Q: Can you recommend your top-5 ETFs ? I am looking for medium-to-high risk/growth positions.

Thanks!

Read Answer Asked by Susan on September 28, 2021

Q: Hi,
I currently have these stocks in my TFSA CAD account. They are almost all equally weighted. Do you think there needs to be any adjustments?

I understand they are all growth stocks except ZSP. Is it a problem if I only have these growth stocks?

Thank you!

Read Answer Asked by Yongwei on September 20, 2021

Q: I recently asked a question about recommended ETF holdings in my RRSP for coverage of the US market. You had suggested converting my holdings to USD and purchase VOO direct on the US market rather than the CAD ETFs I currently hold. This would eliminate withholding taxes.
How much of a drag on performance would these withholding taxes represent?

Read Answer Asked by Bruce on September 09, 2021

Q: I hold the US portion of my portfolio in my RRSP. It represents roughly 20% of my total investment. I do not need to convert to RRIF for another 5 years and at that time will be taking the minimum required.
I currently hold ZQQ; ZPAY; ZDY; ZWH; ZSP.
I am thinking of switching my holdings to the following in roughly equal amounts: ZPAY; VUN; ZSP; ZNQ; XSU.
The objective is to get better coverage of the total US market through XSU and VUN. Maintain coverage of S&P 500 through ZSP. For Tech switching to non hedged via ZNQ. ZPAY will still provide good income with perhaps some downside protection through its options strategy.
Your thoughts and recommendations of alternatives.
The rest of my portfolio in my Non-Registered account and TFSA follow a mixture of your 3 portfolios which by the way have provide me with a return of 12 - 15% in the past 6 plus years.

Read Answer Asked by Bruce on September 08, 2021

Q: Good afternoon,

Looking for some general guidance.

I currently have 25% of my portfolio in CAD-listed US ETF's - 14% XUU, and 11% ZSP. I have a few questions for you guys....

1. Would you ever put just 25% in (either) ETF or do you like that fact theyre different (I think you recommend no more than 15% per ETF max? is that correct?). I'd see the advantage of all-in one being better for DRIP'ing but think you (and me) prefer diversification.

2. I would like to add more American holdings in general (maybe 8% more to get to 33%). I am mostly interest in CAD-ETF's to achieve this. Would you view XQQ or XUS as a way to add some 'torque'?

Thanks for your help.

Read Answer Asked by Jeff on August 20, 2021

Q: Hi
in regards to the Balanced ETF model portfolio, which ETFs that trade in USD would you recommend in place of VGG and ZSP?
I assume that both of these ETFs provide dividends and would best be held in an RRSP - is that right?
thanks

Read Answer Asked by Mary on August 16, 2021

Q: Hi Peter, Ryan, and Team,

We need to increase our US exposure and wish to do this in our non-registered account. We're considering CUD and VGG as we'd rather use ETFs. (Our broker allows us to buy and sell CUD with zero commission, and not so with VGG, but this wouldn't be a 'make or break' reason for choosing one over the other). What would your recommendation be when considering tax efficiency, performance, volatility, and other important metrics? I do like that CUD has a relatively low weight in Technology, as our Canadian holdings like CSU, ENGH, KXS, TOI, etc. have done so well, and we're now overweight in this sector, thanks to 5i. :) Also, if there are any other US ETFs sold on the TSX that you think we should consider, we'd appreciate that info as well.

Thanks in advance for all your assistance and wise counsel.

Read Answer Asked by Jerry on August 06, 2021

Q: My 35 year old daughter would like to start investing 150$ a month in an ETF. She would like to set up an automatic monthly transfer to an institution , any suggestions? thanks, JEan

Read Answer Asked by Jean on August 05, 2021

Q: I'm looking for a ETF holding US stocks that will work well with ZWH.CA
This would be in a RRSP.

Read Answer Asked by Stephen on July 09, 2021