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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 am wondering what your thoughts are on annuities for a retiree, assuming no need to leave wealth on passing. Also assuming two scenarios: (1) putting all one's money in annuities, and (2) a small portion to ensure not ending up homeless while investing the rest in high risk growth stocks. Okay let's add a third one, a well balanced portfolio all in equities a little light though on dividends, with a floor protection of annuities. Talking about a straight life annuity, nothing fancy. Thank you.

Read Answer Asked by William on November 25, 2022

Q: I want to invest in the S&P 500 in my unregistered accounts with HXS. Are you comfortable holding this total return ETF? Are there any known government issues with total return ETFs - I recall the Fed Government challenged these in the past? In registered family accounts I plan to use VFV and/or ZSP - do you prefer one over the other? For safety, would it be a good idea to use both?

Read Answer Asked by Grant on November 15, 2022

Q: Hello,
I am trying to understand how Horizons S&P 500 Index ETF tracks the index. At the moment I'm typing this message, the S&P 500 sits at 0% daily change, SPY at -0.03% while HXS is at -1.09% and HXS-U is at -1.08%. Why do we see such significant deviation from the index in $3.5B ETF with very high trading volume and close spread between bid and ask? Thanks.

Read Answer Asked by Michael on July 13, 2022

Q: Seeking clarity on corporate class etfs. Does this structure exist using US dollars and does it exist in the US? Is there any other provider other than Horizons? Does the structure result in dividends being reinvested in the etf thus becoming taxable as a capital gain when the etf is sold and therefore not taxable as dividend income while the etf is held? So does this structure assist an investor who wishes to reduce income for tax purposes during the period the etf is held? THANKS

Read Answer Asked by Ken on June 06, 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: Hi Peter, Ryan, and Team,

Two questions; please deduct credits accordingly.

Question 1 - I plan to sell one ETF (HXS) and two stocks (SJ & TCN) for a tax loss and then buy them back after 30 days. Please suggest proxies for each that I could buy as a replacement for the 30 days. These are held in a margin account.

Question 2 - I own WCP in my RRIF, and find that its volatility is harder for me to handle than I had thought. (Its beta is 3.26). Now that I'm in the black with it, I was thinking of two alternatives; selling WCP and adding to an existing profitable position in TOU (beta = 1.62), or starting a new position in XOM (beta = 1.07). XOM would increase my US exposure which needs to be increased, according to Portfolio Analytics. What's your take on this strategy?

Alternative ideas for each question would be welcome, and as always, thanks for your insight.

Read Answer Asked by Jerry on May 24, 2022

Q: Hi Peter, Ryan, and Team,

In reading answers to questions posed by others, I get the impression that 5i isn't in favour of averaging down as an investment strategy, due to the potential for further losses. These possible losses are of course greater for individual stocks and less so for ETFs, according to what I've read.

However, if a non-registered account contains some cash, and the holdings are ones that 5i has made positive comments in the past, in what order might you consider adding to the following?
HXS (down 8.86%)
SJ (down 18.7%)
TCN (down 12.62%)

Thanks for your guidance and respected advice.

Read Answer Asked by Jerry on May 11, 2022

Q: I'm a new subscriber to your services this year and much appreciate your independent thought on investments. What is a good fully diversified ETF that is capital gains oriented over dividends? I've focused on dividend paying stocks over past 30 years, and while I'm enjoying working - want to avoid paying more than 1/2 my dividends income to gov. When I stop working I would convert back to dividend based investments to provide my income. Thank you.

Read Answer Asked by Glenn on May 11, 2022

Q: Hi 5i.
Thanks for your continuing great service.

I am trying to find a way to hold US stocks without being subject to US Estate Tax or the need for T1135 tracking.

Are CDRs on US stocks subject to US Estate Tax?

Are CDRs on US stocks subject to T1135 reporting?

Are there other vehicles, besides selected Canadian- company-managed ETFs, that enable ownership of US stocks without exposure to US Estate Tax or T1135 exposure?

Which Canadian companies managing US stock EFTs are not subject to these issues?

Are the Canadian branches of US companies that manage US stock EFTs deemed by CRA to be US or Canadian?

Any additional comments or suggestions that you may have on these topics would be greatly appreciated.

Please deduct as many question credits as appropriate.

Many thanks !

Read Answer Asked by David on March 31, 2022

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.


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: My wife has set up a small non registered account. She has chosen the above ETF's. She would like to add an ETF that covers the Dow Jones. Long term hold. Your suggestions. Thanks

Read Answer Asked by David on January 07, 2022

Q: Good day team,

Please excuse me if this question has been asked before but is there an international focused etf I can contribute to in my tfsa where I don't have to pay withholding taxes? If so, can you list a few please?


Read Answer Asked by Seamus on October 15, 2021

Q: I would like to hold a S and P 500 ETF for a long term hold in a non registered account


1. Are there any tax advantages one over the other.
2. VFV seems to hold the American ETF NOT THE stocks themselves. What impact does this have for me?
3. please confirm for each their respective MER, AUM and daily trading volumes.
4. if either is held in a TFSA does it change anything?


Read Answer Asked by Ernest on August 18, 2021