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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.


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: I am looking for an index fund that follows the Canadian market, and I have been using XIU for some time. I have funds allocated to each of my two children in the same account, and I want to buy analogous, but unique, index funds to make the bookkeeping simpler. I have come across HXT (claims to follow TSX60) and VCE (claims to follow FTSE Canada index, of which I am unfamiliar), both of which seem to be cut from similar cloth. Can you provide insight on the following:

- Can I consider these three ETFs interchangeable, or are there profound differences between them?

- Do they have similar expense ratios, or is there one that is an outlier (being either more expensive or cost-efficient)?

- Is there another Canadian index ETF that you would recommend above these?

I have separate US S&P ETFs and I feel I have enough selection options, which is why my question is limited to ETFs which follow the Canadian TSX60 index. As always, I appreciate any insight you may have to offer, and I look forward to your response.

Read Answer Asked by Domenic on January 14, 2022

Q: Hi Team,
On your response to M Atal today, I am concern by
"The main issue is the tax deferral set up". ?
Horizons has already had to change its structure to adapt to new tax regulations. Horizon clients knows that, I had HXT & HXCN before the change structure. The change structure was made smoothly.
Can you develop "The main Issue" ? Do you mean Horizon will not be able to maintain the TRI structure in future ?
I like TRI structure for deferred gains.
Best Regards

Read Answer Asked by Djamel on December 03, 2021

Q: How do you think the European markets will do vs the US markets going forward 5+ years? Do you think the US market will outperform Europe or would you be in both markets? If so, what would the % split be?
Thanks for your service?

Read Answer Asked by Ozzie on April 06, 2021

Q: I follow the conservative portfolio from the ETF Newsletter because I prefer a total return to interest and dividend income.Please suggest some tweaking to this portfolio to reduce the volatility, but still maintain the equity/income ratio. As an alternative how would you tweak the ETF Newsletter income portfolio to less interest and dividend income and more total return while keeping the overall volatility somewhat in check. Thank you

Read Answer Asked by Richard on March 31, 2021

Q: A few questions re best index ETFs for safety, total return and tax efficiency:
(1) S&P/TSX 60 (unregistered account): Is XIU, XIC or another ETF better?
(2) S&P 500 (RRSP/TFSA): What CAN listed ETF is best for long hold: ZSP, XSP or other ETF? If held in an RRSP (ie US dividend tax except), can you recommend the best US listed ETF for the S&P 500?
(3) NASDAQ 100 (RRSP/TFSA): What CAN listed ETF is best: ZNQ, ZQQ or another ETF? Is QQQ the best US listed?
(4) Ex-North America index (RRSP): Can you list the best CAN listed ETF index fund? Would you stick with large caps or all? XEF? VIU?
(5) Emerging market index ETFs (RRSP): ZEM, VEE or other?
(6) MISC: Has HXT, HXS and HXQ permanently resolved gov't issues and are these ETFs safe for long term hold?
Thank you!!

Read Answer Asked by Grant on February 08, 2021

Q: Thanks for all your good advice.
I have set up In Trust Accounts for my grandchildren invested equally in HXS and HXT - to avoid tax implications to me. However, due to the swap change introduced Nov 2019 and effective in 2020 - I have been issued T5008 slips seemingly indicating capital gains as a result of the swaps. Is this just for record purposes or is there a need to account for this at tax time?

Read Answer Asked by Stephen on February 08, 2021

Q: Hi 5i Team. Other than Horizon with HXT, HXS and HBB what other ETF providers (Canadian or US listed ETF's ) offer or have in their portfolio mix, Total Return ETF's that use swaps to reinvest dividends instead of paying them out. I'm looking for some tax efficiency with capital gains instead of payment's from dividends. Thx Steve.

Read Answer Asked by Steve on October 01, 2020

Q: Good morning,
My grand childrens' (8 years old) in trust accounts each have $60K in CASH and would appreciate your thoughts and comment on the merits of my following investment plan:
Q1. Investing $20K in each of these funds (HXS, HXT and HXQ) and not selling any of them until the children are 18 years old at which time they would each open a TFSA account and start transferring each year the maximum annual TFSA contribution allowable from their non registered account to their newly opened TFSA account; and
Q2. Assuming that you are ok with the above plan and given that there may well be still a further sell off in all three sectors, when would you recommend initiating a full or partial position in all three sectors? Thank you.

Read Answer Asked by Francesco on March 31, 2020

Q: 25 per cent of my portfolio includes the above ETF’s. Are there other ETF’s that I should consider to replace any of these. The returns have not been exactly stellar compared to many of the individual stocks that you have recommended. Thanks

Read Answer Asked by Dennis on February 20, 2020

Q: I have a larger cash account with a 10+ year horizon and would like generate capital gains only and no significant dividends. I like the Horizon TRI funds but would also like to invest in some individual stocks. Could you recommend some good stock (or other ETFs) that pay out little or no dividends.

Read Answer Asked by Grant on February 19, 2020

Q: Hi Peter

Yesterday Horizon launched HULC and HXCN total return ETF's. Will appreciate your expert opinion on them against available ETF options from other providers.

Read Answer Asked by S on February 11, 2020

Q: I have a non-registered account, with 8-10 years before the funds are needed. To minimize tax, we would like focus on 100% capital gains, if possible. Can you recommend some ETFs or individual stocks? We have been looking at Horizon's corporate class ETFs. Thanks for your continued excellent non-biased reports!! Grant

Read Answer Asked by Grant on January 24, 2020

Q: Good morning,
This is a follow up to one of my previous questions re: Horizons Total Return Index ETFs and more specifically HXT:CA and HXS:CA that I intended to purchase as long term core investments in my grand childrens' in trust accounts prior to recent proposed changes in the recent federal budget affecting the favourable tax treatment of Horizons Total Return ETFs (No distributions).
It is my understanding that Horizons ETF Management Canada plans to soon (end of Nov 19) restructure HXT-CA and HXS.CA along with several other of their ETFs into Corporate Class funds.
Given that one of the main benefits of Corporate Class funds is its ability to minimize and defer taxes, would you consider these Corporate Class funds and the Horizon Corporate Class funds in particular, to be a suitable long term hold investments for my grand children's non registered in trust accounts and if so would you please provide a few recommendations?
Thank you for thoughts on this.

Read Answer Asked by Francesco on October 24, 2019

Q: Good morning,
This is a follow up to my previous question re: Horizons Total Return Index ETFs and more specifically HXT:CA and HXS:CA that I intended to purchase as long term core investments in my grandchildrens' in trust accounts prior to recent proposed changes in the recent federal budget affecting the favourable tax treatment of Horizons Total Return ETFs (No distributions).
I'm still searching for a few great investment ideas that would be suitable as a long term hold in my grand children in trust accounts. IWO and QQQ were mentioned as potential candidates given their relatively low distributions but given that the in trust accounts are already set up to hold investments in CDN $$$ and to offset currency risk, could you please recommend three or four ETFs, stocks or combination thereof that distribute little or no distributions and that you believe would be suitable as a long term hold in my grandchildren in trust accounts. My intention is to invest approximately $50K in each in trust account. I thank you in advance and look forward to your specific recommendations.

Read Answer Asked by Francesco on April 29, 2019

Q: Since the tax benefits for HXT, HXQ, HTB, HXS have or will be diminished, is there any reason to continue to hold them or should we be switching to other etf's, is so which ones would you recommend?
Thanks for your service.

Read Answer Asked by Ozzie on April 24, 2019