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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: Can you tell me the approximate P/E of ZEM? The fact sheet dated Dec 31/23 gives a P/E of 20.66 for ZEM. But can that be right, when for the same date VEE lists a P/E of 7.8x and XEC 12.39x?
Read Answer Asked by Grant on February 14, 2024
Q: can you tell me if holding VEE, ZEM, or XEC has any advantage over the other in terms of tax efficiency? Also, can you rank order in terms of which account emerging market etf should be held for tax efficiency (please rank best to worse).
Read Answer Asked by Mary on January 09, 2024
Q: I hold a significant percentage of my portfolio in XEC and am happy to have the exposure to add diversification. It has been a bit of a drag on returns for a while now however, and it has me wondering — what are some plausible scenarios moving forward where emerging will outperform? Have there been significant episodes in the past 100 years or so where emerging was at the top of the index return lists?
Read Answer Asked by Andrew on July 06, 2023
Q: Emerging market indices have been underperforming for some time now and are ostensibly quite undervalued relative to peers in aggregate. I happen to hold a fairly sizeable portion of my portfolio (~15%) in XEC. As such, I am curious as to your opinion on whether or not holding emerging market exposure is a valuable form of diversification in today's landscape. Finally, acknowledging you lack a crystal ball, do you anticipate emerging markets reverting to the mean in the foreseeable future?
Read Answer Asked by Andrew on July 18, 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: Hi 5i, I started my stock market investing in March 2020 in order to get 'skin in the game'. I am a daily learner whose investing personality is that of an 'individualist'. I have determined my investing goal to be for income (mostly through dividends) and growth (for capital appreciation). I have found lately that my risk tolerance feels lower due to increasing volatility, talk of market decline/crash, increasing inflation, shortages, rising rates etc. As a result I would like to cash in the individual stocks I own that have given me good capital appreciation and replace them with ETF's and/or Index Funds. Income and growth plus diversification to my portfolio is my objective here. Since I hold more than enough physical precious metals and an emergency stash in US dollars I feel I have enough insurance/hedge against a worst case scenario happening in the economy. Please comment on these following ETF's. I am also open to other suggestions you might have as well. Please note that my entire TFSA is in my brokerage account so taxes are not an issue for me. Thanks

ZCN BMO S&P/TSX Composite Index
CIC CI First Asset Canadian Bank Income Class
ZWB BMO Covered Call Canadian Banks
RIT CI First Asset Canadian Banks
ZDV BMO Canadian Dividend
CDZ iShares Canadian Aristorcrats
XRE iShares Capped REIT
XEC Emerging Markets ETF

P.S. I assign an equal dollar amount for each investment in my portfolio. The ETF part of my portfolio are for long term holds.
Read Answer Asked by Lucy on November 02, 2021
Q: The above ETFs represent my current holdings for Intn’l Equity exposure and are held in my RRSP. I am able to add to my Intn’l exposure in my RRSP and would like your recommendation for a C$ ETF that might fill in any gaps that my current holdings don’t cover or alternatively I could just add to my current holdings.
I do not need to RIF for 8 more years but some dividend yield would be preferable as I do draw out my div/int earnings annually.
Read Answer Asked by Bruce on October 14, 2021
Q: I have an ETF portfolio and a portfolio of CDN and U.S. stocks.

I am building my ETF portfolio and plan to take my gains from my individual stocks and add to my ETF portfolio during market downturns. I don't plan on making any sales from my ETF portfolio and I expect that portfolio to provide my funds for retirement.

The ETF portfolio is divided globally and I was wondering if which order you would add since I am building my portfolio. The ETFs I have selected on XIC (30%), XEF (15%), XEC (10%), IVV (15%), XJH (5%), XJR (5%), QQQ (5%), XLF (5%) and 10% fixed income. I have already established my 5% positions in XJH, XJR, QQQ and XLF over the summer.

My questions are:

1 - I know weighting is personal, but do you have any glaring concerns with my weightings?

2 - In which order would you add to XIC, XEF, XEC and IVV?

Thanks for your help,
Read Answer Asked by Jason on September 27, 2021
Q: Can you suggest a few good ETF’s which should form the basis of one’s portfolio.

Also please suggest ETF’s for specific applications like..... high risk/ growth, dividend, US equities, Canadian equities, dividend stocks, tech stocks, emerging markets ..... and your choice of basket of ETF’s which a person could use to build a portfolio ( with % allocations)
Read Answer Asked by HARRY on May 10, 2021
Q: I'm currently trying to diversify my RIF account for 2021. I've trimmed some over weight holdings to free up some cash. I have NA covered with stocks in Canada and a couple of ETF's for the US but, nothing for the rest of world.
How would you currently rate the above now, hopefully for the coming recovery post COVID. I note, South America is not represented. do I need to consider it separately?
I'm inclined to go with 2 positions @ about 6% ......your opinion please!
All the best to you and everyone at 5i for the new year!
Read Answer Asked by Henry on January 04, 2021
Q: I have about 8 grand of my portfolio allocated for these 2 ETFS. Just wondering how you would weight them. For a 20 year hold. Maybe lean toward Japan as they are more allied with the US, but then again Japan is drowning under Debt.

XEF = Japan, UK, France, Switzerland, Germany,
XEC = China, Taiwan, Korea, Brazil, India

Read Answer Asked by Gordon on November 16, 2020
Q: HI, I just recently made the switch from mutual funds to ETF’s and a DIY strategy and am looking to lock down 4 low cost ETF’s that I will invest in for the long term (30 + years) and leaning more toward the aggressive side for these. I am looking to take advantage of some dollar cost averaging to enter the ETF market for some broad market index ETF’s in my TFSA and was looking for you opinion of some that I am trying to choose between.
Canadian Market – I am trying to choose between XIC, VCN & ZCN. They all have significant overlap and same MER so I don’t see a whole lot of difference between the three, although I am leaning towards XIU, thoughts on which one you would choose for your portfolio?
US Market – I am trying to decide between VUN & VFV. The VFV has lower MER than VUN and has outperformed VUN as of late. Smaller and mid-cap companies historically had higher volatility than the large-cap companies found in the S&P 500, and so the trade-off is potentially higher growth, for potentially more volatility if you go with a total market index like what is found in VUN. The S&P 500 has outperformed the total market index as of late so I guess the question is will this continue, I am leaning towards VFV, thoughts on which one you would choose for your portfolio?
International Developed – I am trying to decide between XEF & VIU, both have similar MER, thoughts on which one you would choose for your portfolio?
Emerging Markets – I am trying to decide between XEC & VEE for a small percentage of my portfolio, thoughts on which one you would choose for your portfolio?
These are some ETFs’ I have come across from doing build wealth Canada course and reading other materials and listening to podcasts that seem to fit my long-term outlook. I am by no means experienced in this matter and just looking to hit the ground running so If you have better suggestions for certain markets that I may have missed feel free to outline them.

Read Answer Asked by Sean on April 13, 2020
Q: I'm looking for tax-loss harvesting guidance with some ETFs. Can you provide alternatives to hold for XEF, XEC, and VUN that would likely be accepted by the CRA as non-wash? Thank you!
Read Answer Asked by Andrew on March 23, 2020