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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: My wife and I treat our individual accounts as a single portfolio. Based on the Portfolio Analytics we are significantly underweight on the US and rest of the world. We have on RRSP representing 12% of the portfolio that will be converted to a RRIF next year that we would like to simplify. We will maintain 40% - 50% in fixed income, but would like to invest the rest in equity ETFs with holdings outside of Canada. Could you please suggest one or two ETF for exposure to each of the US and the rest of the world. Thank you.

Read Answer Asked by Richard on May 31, 2022

Q: Peter,

I look at the S & P 500 index as the gold standard for performance measurement. It has been my theory that any portfolio performance should be compared to this index first. Do you agree?

For diversification purposes please list your top 5 indexes & associated ETF codes that you feel would be relevant whenever looking at an equity portfolio. This can be anywhere in the world. { Fixed Income I strictly take a ladder approach.} I would be interested in ones with a lower correlation , if that is realistic. It may not be.

Thank you

Paul

Read Answer Asked by paul on May 11, 2022

Q: I have a small position in each of the above listed ETFs. I believe one must be invested in more than just North America but, I am concerned with the Geopolitical situation in Russia (re Ukraine) and China (re Taiwan). Additionally, these ETFs have been down lately and I'm thinking of selling them. What percentage of each ETF is invested in Russia/China? What would you recommend to replace these ETFs in order to exclude or have minimal exposure to Russia/China?

Thanks!

Read Answer Asked by Sean on March 01, 2022

Q: Are you aware if there are mounting pressures on ETF providers (Vanguard, Black Rock, etc...) to exit the Russian equity markets? I own VEE, VXC and VEQT for my international exposure, and realized I own about 1500$ worth of Russian stocks. I am not morally confortable anymore with that exposure even though it's a very small weighting. I would gladly write it off of my portfolio... I know this is personal to every investor and that's OK, but some principles come before returns for me...
If it's unlikely Vanguard would make any move towards ETF ex-Russia, I am seriously thinking of selling all (fortunately my exposure is mostly in registered accounts) and buying international alternatives.

What ETFs would you then suggest to get similar international exposure ex-Russia?

Thank you

Read Answer Asked by Julia on March 01, 2022

Q: I have enough exposure to the Canadian market but I need additional global equity exposure for the next 10 years.

Would you please recommend an ETF for each of the following categories:
US
International
Emerging markets

Thanks

Read Answer Asked by Don on January 25, 2022

Q: Hello. I have ~$50K cash to deploy for investing. Given current volatile market, I am thinking of investing all in ETF (which might be safer), unless you feel strongly about some undervalued stocks. I'd like expose to world economy including the US, Canada and perhaps others. The investment can be long term as I don't need these money right away. But in case of decent gain in a short term, I probably would take money out for real estate purchase. Can you please recommend 3-5 ETF? I understand you don't timing the market. But given the outlook for rising interest rate, would it be better just hold them as cash for now?

Thank you.

Read Answer Asked by Yiwen on January 24, 2022

Q: I am extremely low in International and US stocks, I would like to have an ETF for each that I can put in either my RRSP or TFSA. I know you have mentioned in the past that you like IWO for small caps, is that still the case or is there a better choice.
Thanks for all the excellent help

Read Answer Asked by James on January 17, 2022

Q: In what way is it advantageous to buy VEE vs. the underlying VWO? VEE indicated yield is 2.16%, VWO is 2.62%.
I realize one is Canadian listed, the other American, and it may depend on the holding account. Please explain the mechanics.
Thanks, love your service.
Len

Read Answer Asked by Leonard on January 09, 2022

Q: Hi, Happy new year!!

When looking at the long term rates of return of Emerging markets, developed INTL markets, Canadian and US stocks, the US has outperformed by a mile. I hold mostly stocks that are Cdn and US and I have global international and developed exposure through the mentioned ETF's, which only account for around 6% of my total portfolio. My questions are:

1. What is the simplest way to break down portfolio exposure without getting too overly complicated and detailed? Currently I break it down by where they trade. But for example, I hold stocks such as BAM, SLF, GOOG, JPM, V which are more global. How would I go about classifying some of these stocks? Would I allocate some % of these towards international exposure based on the company revenue breakdown, etc? any other metrics? Any good sites that easily summarize this info. or do I need to go looking through the companies financial statements?

2. Is there any mean reversion long term between CDN, US, INTL, and EE markets? So since INTL and EE has underperformed so much lately, is it time to rebalance equities from US to CDN/INTL/EE? Or for a long term growth investor, is the US still the best place to invest for growth whereas INTL/EE look cheap and have better value, although slower growth? Thoughts?

Read Answer Asked by Keith on January 04, 2022

Q: Hi, currently holding these Cad ETFs in RSP. What would be the best equivalent ETF's to buy in the US if I were to convert my holdings to USD and buy the US ETF. Looking for equivalent exposure with lower MER, better tax efficiency, etc... I've included some of my choices, would these be the best ones to switch to? Other ETFs are welcome if I haven't listed them below. Thanks and Happy holidays, looking forward to a great 2022!

VGG to VIG
XEF to either VXUS/VEA/IEFA
VEE to VWO
ZUH to either XHC/VHT/XLV
VUN/VUS TO VOO

Read Answer Asked by Keith on January 03, 2022

Q: Do you have some suggestions for ETFs that have the following characteristics, with a very long-term hold in mind:

- do not include Canadian or US stocks
- could be focused on Europe or Latin America
- could be focused on Asia, preferably with little or (better yet) no exposure to Chinese stocks
- could be focused on other geographic areas you think have excellent potential

Read Answer Asked by Doug on November 22, 2021

Q: Hello, in the answer to a member’s question about “fraudulent activity” you say: “We would exercise more caution on foreign entities due to accounting differences. Over the counter small companies should essentially just be avoided.” My question is related to the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Market VEE ETF that contains 5250 stocks, out of which 37% are from China. Is it possible that many of the VEE stocks fall into the category stated above? Thank you

Read Answer Asked by Gervais on November 19, 2021

Q: I have these ETF's in a TFSA with a primary goal 8 to 10% annual return. I'd like your opinion if there is overlap in this portfolio and if there would be another ETF to add. This is a smaller portfolio and I don't think it would be efficient to buy the individual stocks in your balanced equity model portfolio.
Thanks!

Read Answer Asked by George on November 11, 2021

Q: What are your top 10 ETF’s to hold forever?
Would you buy them on the US or Canadian markets if available. I know some of the US listed ETF’s are more liquid. Thanks

Read Answer Asked by Ben on November 05, 2021

Q: I would like to invest 50 thousand in a etf or two investing outside of Canada. Please give a couple o f recommendations and a specific country or investment idea you would consider attractive at this time as well. I already own US banks through ZBK as well as Alibaba. Do you consider XID attractive at this time? THANKYOU I have been well pleased with 5i over the years and consider your advice a good investment.

Read Answer Asked by John on November 03, 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: 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: There is some thought that emerging markets might be a good place to invest at this time, especially when compared to USA markets. What is your opinion and why? If you concur, what ETF (s) would you suggest? I have recently come across an ETF with the symbol CIEM; could you factor this ETF into your analysis and opinions please. Thanks

Read Answer Asked by John on October 04, 2021