Category: Blog

There is more to risk than meets the eye

The  term  risk  often  gets  thrown  around  in  the  investment  world.  But this  term  goes  far  beyond  market  volatility.  Here  are  five  types  of  risk  to  consider  and  you  put  together  a  portfolio:    

Interest  rate  sensitivity  risk   
As  bond  yields  have  been  on  the  decline,  this  has  become  an especially important type  of  risks  for  investors.  It  is  a  measure  of  how  much  the  price  of  a  fixed-income  asset  will  fluctuate  in  response  to  interest  rate  changes.  Securities  sensitive  to  this  risk  tend  to  have  larger  price  fluctuations  than  other  securities.    

Political  risk 
A  hot  topic  lately,  especially  with  new  trade  directions  out  of  the  US,  but  overall  it’s  the  risk  associated  with  government  or  social  action  that  could  result  in  loss  of  value.  Political  risk  can  impact  an  investor  both  nationally  and  internationally.

Credit  risk 
Since  bond  yields  have  fallen  they  have  decreased  in  popularity  which  means  the  credit  curve  is  affected  as  well.  The  lower  the  credit  curve,  the  more  a  portfolio  risk  increases. 

Purchasing  power  risk 
Using  bonds  as  an  example,  if  inflation  rises  and  an  investor  has  invested  in  shorter  duration  bonds  with  a  lower  return,  it  is  likely  they  are  trading  equity  market  risk  for  inflation  and  overall, losing  purchasing  power.    

Sector  risk 
A  portfolio  that  is  based  on  an  investment  style  that  includes  a  focus  on  one  sector  can  be  extremely  vulnerable.  If  this  sector  experiences  any  kind  of  downturn,  a  portfolio  could  be  significantly  negatively  impacted.    In  conclusion,  while  investing  is  not  a  game  of  certainty,  understanding  the  fuller  spectrum  of  risk  helps  ads  some  important  safeguards.   

Trends: Riding investment waves

Trends come and go in every aspect of life, including the markets. Trends spike media attention and huge amounts of public interest– everyone looking for a get rich quick solution. Now in vogue is marijuana and cryptocurrencies. Wanting to be part of this, or other trends, is fine but here are some pointers to keep in mind while trying to ride the wave.

The greater fool principal

Essentially, this means buying into something risky and uncertain with the hope that down the road, it will sell it at a higher cost than it was purchased for to a greater fool. This is the case for cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin. No one is intending to hold onto it, rather to buy it up and then sell it off when its market valuation shows greater worth. It is more of a game of timing than it is an investment strategy.

Sky high valuations

Trendy investments tend to carry huge valuations that do not always make sense. Take marijuana stocks, in Canada the value of shares are huge, especially for companies who have yet to turn a profit. The attention, rather than the value, is what is driving up stock price in what can easily be an artificial market.

Pushing the boundaries affordability

 When a share is hot, the price is high and the media is talking about it, it creates a perfect storm of temptation for an investor to buy quickly. The issue with this is that many investors end up pushing their traditional boundaries of what they consider affordable because they want to get in the game at any cost. The result, dangerously, is often extremely overpriced eggs in one flimsy basket.

There is success in boring

There is a reason patience and diversification seem to always win in the investment field. There is no instant solution to getting rich and if there is, it probably lacks longevity. There is value in getting rich slowly and steadily, that may just win the financial race.

Want to learn more? Check out or perspectives section (link) where we dig deeper into the markets on a monthly basis.

Five Investment Mistakes

This month we look at some of the common investment mistakes made by DIY investors. Some are new, but most are not. Here are some traps to avoid:

  1. Don’t think “Invest big or not at all”

    While it is great to be able to invest a large amount at once, this is not always feasible and this should not be a deterrent. Investing what is possible early on may not yield big returns, it will start building a portfolio. Start early. As income increases, so will your investments.

  2. Don’t rely on past performance

    Past performance is no guarantee that an investment will continue with the same trajectory. Evaluate each investment individually and understand how it fits into your overall portfolio.

  3. Don’t focus on looking only for the next Apple or Amazon

    Everyone wants to be the first to discover the next big thing. The truth is, there is no quick fix for investment success. It is nearly impossible to identify the next huge stock so don’t get preoccupied with this task. Investing for the long-term and practicing patience will almost always provide desired results.

  4. Don’t get stuck looking only locally

    Many investors are afraid to invest abroad because of the perceived risk. Yes, there is some risk involved in currency, but global investments is another way to diversify a portfolio and lower risk. All investments bring an inherent level of risk, understanding what best suits your personal situation is the key both locally and globally.

  5. Don’t think higher fees mean better performance

    This is often a myth we tell ourselves to justify high fees but it isn’t always true. If a person pays three per cent fees, the fund would need to generate eight per cent returns to make a five per cent profit. If that fund, on the other hand, underperforms and remains below the benchmark the high fees are now an added cost on top of the loss. Seek a service that ensures excess fees are only charged when the portfolio shows gains – in essence make sure you only pay for performance.

Tips for reaching your retirement goals

It’s February which means thinking about the future and how much you contribute to your RRSP next month needs to be top of mind.

Here are some thought starters that are key to reaching long-term financial goals.

  1. Plan what your future looks like from all angles

    We are often planning what our financial future looks like, hoping to have a certain amount saved up by the time we retire. But, to help your financial plan it is important to picture what your life will look like in retirement from all aspects. Are you going to be in the same home? Will you want to spend more time with family? Will you spend time travelling? Your retirement lifestyle will be the best indicator of your financial needs.

  2. Create a retirement income plan

    People are busy ensuring they have saved enough for retirement but fail to create a plan to ensure their savings are providing a steady stream of income. Investing smartly before retirement should ensure that even though you are drawing from your investments there is still a stream of income that provides increased longevity to those investments.

  3. Don’t forget about taxes

    People often fail to realize that one of the biggest expenses for a retiree is taxes. These tax bills often appear as a result of transitioning your RRSP into an income fund. While, they are unfortunately unavoidable, they should always be taken into consideration in planning, to ensure you know exactly what your eventual financial situation looks like.

  4. Seek help

    This is the biggest financial transition in your life and you do not have to make it alone. Seeking active advice from a professional ensures you are maximizing your investments for your future. It is never too early to have a retirement conversation. If you dream about it, start strategizing on how to save for it.

Good goals: they aren’t just for clients!

It is not a surprise that when January is mentioned, “goal setting” is often also used in the same sentence. Yes, it seems like a cliché to set goals as the new year rolls around, but there is something to be said for starting a new year with a solid new plan.

As advisors, we are often setting goals with our clients. We use our expertise to assist them in creating a well thought out plan that will help them achieve success. When you are so busy helping others with their goals, it is undoubtedly difficult to take a step back and set some of your own.

We know people who give advice for a living are not usually the best at taking it, which is why we created this short list of tips to set good, attainable goals this year to improve yourself and your business in 2018.

Tip #1

Your business goals need to align with your personal goals. This means that your goals for your business must make sense for where you are in your personal life. For example, if you are at the retirement stage of life, your goals should reflect this and be based upon the smooth transition out of your business. In contrast, if you are new to the business and just starting out, your goals need to be challenging but not out of the realm of possibility.

Tip #2

Let your team know about your goals. Make communicating to the team a priority. This not only helps keep you accountable, but it also inspires those around you to do the same. Keeping everyone motivated is key to any businesses success and a great way to do this is to encourage those around you by sharing your own plans for improvement.

Tip #3

Good goals are widespread; they do not just focus on one area. It can be difficult for someone with an entrepreneurial inclined mind to not limit your goal setting to numbers; trying to achieve a certain volume of sales. This would be doing yourself and your business a disservice. Yes, they are important, but it is also important to improve other areas of your business, such as your communication, administration and work environment.

Tip #4

Review your goals often. It can be easy, as work piles up and the months go by, for the goals you set in January to become forgotten. Setting time aside each month can be difficult, but it is so important in ensuring you are successful. It is not enough to set goals and forget about them. Active goal management should be part of your agenda to consistently review your progress and set you up for attainability.

Instead of letting another goal-less year go by, cease your opportunity this January to set yourself up for success. Being proactive in this endeavour improves yourself and your practice. Good luck and all the best in the year to come!

Understanding tax loss harvesting: tips and tricks

We are reaching the end of 2017 and for retail investors that also marks the end of another tax year. As we look forward to 2018, we prepare for tax time and dread it as we may, understanding the options is the best way to ensure investors are minimizing their taxes owing.

Tax loss harvesting

One tactic investors hear about during this time of year is tax loss harvesting. Tax loss harvesting is a method by which an investor purposely incurs capital losses to offset the taxes they would otherwise pay on capital gains. Essentially, the investor makes the best of a bad situation.

The process involves:

  1. Selling shares on which a loss has been incurred.
  2. Potentially reinvesting, if there is faith in that sector (or in a similar sector, but not too related as to not drastically alter their market exposure).  
  3. Claim capital losses incurred to offset capital gains on the tax return.

There are some important considerations to keep in mind prior to implementing this strategy:

Purchase a similar security: If an investor feels that the investment in which there has been a loss still has potential for growth in the future, it would be wise to reinvest in a similar security whose performance is close to the stock being sold.

Utilize tax loss harvesting as a secondary option: A primary investment plan should always take precedence.

Use capital losses for past and future returns: Losses must first be applied to 2017 taxes, but if the amount allows for it, they can also be applied to the previous three returns, or carried forward indefinitely.

Do not use this method for registered accounts: Successful tax loss harvesting can only be performed in non-registered accounts and may not be used for investments within a TFSA or RRSP.

Ensure this is not a superficial loss: CRA rules prohibit the rebuying of the same shares that were sold off to incur a capital loss right away. An investor must wait 30 days after selling a stock before repurchasing. This includes purchases made by a spouse and purchases made from different accounts owned by the investor.

Start early: Official transfer of shares occurs approximately three days after the trade is executed. Also, don’t forget that there are several statutory holidays near the end of December that impact trading dates. If using this tactic, it is best to do so before December 20.

Triggering losses to decrease capital gains taxes could be the right approach for you this tax season. Determining if this method fits your needs is one way we can help.

Change is in the air: 1 year anniversary of Pay-for-performance

We can’t believe it’s been a year since we launched Canada’s first pay-for-performance investment model. We listened to investors over the years and the message was clear: Canadians are tired of paying high investment costs that aren’t tied to results. So we responded to the overwhelming overpriced asset management landscape with our Transcend platform.

What is it?  Watch our video here.

Investors pay an extremely low base fee of 0.25% (this covers admin costs for various funds).  From there, if a fund performs better than the benchmark, a performance fee equal to 20% of the fund’s return above the benchmark is applied.  You pay one of the lowest fees on the market and nothing more until you see results.

Where is it going?

We’re proud to announce that on September 30 Transcend is launching a fixed income fund!

The past year has been a whirlwind and the response has been great.  We’re now moving into the fixed income space with the Provisus Multi-Strategy High Yield Fixed Income Fund. Continuing the belief that investors should only pay a nominal amount unless performance results dictate otherwise- our new fund will open up more earning possibilities for investors and will charge the same low pay-for-performance fee.

Join the movement
Join the movement of empowered investors who are demanding transparency and advisors striving for freedom and independence.

Don’t just save – secure your retirement

Retirement savings. The two dreaded words we’re all forced to embrace. No matter where you turn, another article promising the best retirement savings advice stares back at you. Do I invest? How much risk do I take? What if I want to pass on my money? There’s no cookie cutter formula out there that will apply to you, your neighbour, and your boss simultaneously. All you need to know when (and if!) that last day of work rolls around, is that your money will last- no matter what your golden days look like. Whether you plan to live it up, or lay low- remember the 4 L’s:

Lifestyle & Longevity
Before starting off asking how much you need to save, what are you even saving for? Step 1 is to think of your lifestyle goals for your post-work years. Do you plan to travel the world? Would you rather lay low and live simply? All of this, in conjunction with your current resources, has to be considered to determined how long your money will last and where it can take you. Step 2 is to see an advisor so they can help manage the run-up phase (accumulation) and the de-accumulation phase of your money’s life cycle.

Legacy Goals
If you want your money to last beyond your lifetime, typical low-risk strategy doesn’t apply. You may
look to adapt more aggressive investments that carry higher risk, yet likely greater returns.
With this goal in mind, you have to stop thinking of the money as yours; think of it as theirs and what
you could be doing to maximize it for their future benefit.

Liquidity Goals
Retirement is like a big vacation; you can never know what to fully expect. Liquidity goals are about
maintaining additional assets that can be tapped into quickly no matter what the situation, whether it
be supporting family members, major repairs or unexpected illness. Keeping a nest egg of easy cash is
always a good idea, but there’s also clever ways to create liquidity from “non-liquid” items. For example,
the laddering strategy involves purchasing GICs varying in maturity, which gives you staggered access to
your money every few years.

Do you have an advisor you trust? Learn how to choose the right one.

How to travel often & maximize your investments

men in suit in front of airplane

We’re finally in travel season.

The last thing you want now amongst your wanderlust is a hard hit to your wallet. But a simple trip to the doctor’s office in a foreign country can eat away multiple paycheques.

Whether you’re an ex-pat for work or a perpetual avid lover of travel (and even if you’re a snowbird), there’s small steps you can take to always ensure your money is always traveling with you…

If you’re an expat

Always file a report with the government. In other words, just let them know. It’s important so they can establish a timeline of your departure. File the report, avoid future fines. Reason enough.

What to do while you’re away:
⦁ Open bank accounts
⦁ Keep your investments in those accounts

What to remember:
⦁ If you wire in more than $10,000, banks are legally required to disclose the info to the CRA
⦁ You’re required to report assets in excess of $100,000 on your income tax return (you don’t get taxed, they just want to be aware).
⦁ Let them know you’ve returned: Seems simple, but forgetting to do this means you’re not considered Canadian and unable to contribute to certain accounts, like a TFSA. And if you do, contribute without notifying, those funds will meet an unwelcoming fine.

If you’re an avid traveler

⦁ Before you go, look at the banking relationships between your native country and the one you’re traveling to. This will help ensure you don’t run into issues with ATMs and withdrawing funds from your account(s).
⦁ Always have US dollars with you – it’s one of the most readily transferable currencies
⦁ Keep half your money denominated in local currency
⦁ Buy local currency at a favourable rate as much as you can from your local bank
⦁ Have expense prepaid or predebited so you don’t have to worry
⦁ Arrange money to be deposited into a US dollars account from your investment portfolio
⦁ This allows you to take debit cards in US currency

This strategy is a lot easier on your money given the current exchange rate. If you can minimize exchange costs, you’re ahead of the game. Everytime you exchange you can lose 2-5% of your dollar; that adds up to a big loss over time. Example: Exchange $5000 at a time and say hello to a 5% hit on your debit or credit card.

If you’re a snowbird

Most people who travel often, have a balanced portfolio already on auto-pilot. If this is you and your investments aren’t steady, stop what you’re doing and consult a professional first. If you’re in the clear there, you’re likely set up for a vacation that never worries about nickels & pennies.

Your biggest concern should be your health insurance. Health care in another country can be completely devastating to your wallet.

Make sure to:

Shop around
Compare various health insurance options to see which fits best for your lifestyle

Find the best policy
Once you’re happy with an option, make a purchase as soon as possible and remember to keep all proofs of purchase + always keep a copy on you at all times while traveling.

Understand the country where you’re headed
Do some research and understand the basics around health care and legalities in the country you’re visiting

Start off healthy
In case of any accident or illness while traveling, starting off with a clean bill of health is one of your best lines of defense to staying healthy and wealthy.

Meet the team: Our President

Chris is Transcend’s President and the heart and soul behind the company. To say he’s passionate about revolutionizing fees in the investment industry is a gross understatement. “[I] believe that linking investment management fees to the quality of performance achieved is a good way to align our clients’ interests with ours, ensuring that we are successful when our clients are successful”. He’s the kind of guy you always want on your team. Read on for more about Chris:

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What is your favourite investment strategy?

You have to look at the big picture of your life. It depends where you are, what you’re trying to accomplish and what your individual goals are. A square peg in a round hole will never work.

If you had to choose, what is your one piece of personal finance advice or your “motto”?

I like to say, “a rut is just a shallow grave with both ends kicked out”

No matter what kind of financial rut you’re in…if your investment portfolio is a mess and doing nothing for you, there’s always strategy to make an easy fix and a positive change.

What is the best part of being on the Transcend team?

The diversity of what we offer, seeing and learning new things constantly, and never experiencing the same thing day in and day out. The thought-provoking opportunities I face every day keeps it interesting.

What’s your next big finance goal?

Honestly, just to continue to build on what I’ve already accomplished. Eventually it adds up!

I’m more about current consumption than far-off dreaming. It’s not about where you’re going but how you get there.


If I were a client, why would I want to work with you?

Because I’m exceptionally witty.

But seriously, were a very personable, service-oriented firm and we’re not full of ourselves. We always deliver on what we say we’re going to do.

Do you consider yourself conservative or a risk-taker?

You have to take risks occasionally, but always keep one foot close to the sidelines.


At what point would you tell someone they need professional finance help?

The best time is when you’re thinking about making a change

Going from debt-mode to accumulation mode, single person to a couple or family? Seek the help of an advisor.


 In your opinion, what’s the biggest financial fail someone can make?

Relying on rumours and peoples suggestions (hot stocks, anyone?)

Don’t be a trend-follower – there’s no quick fix. If you want a quick fix, buy a lottery ticket or go to the casino.


What were some early leadership lessons for you?

When I had my first job, I was always dumbfounded by how little I actually had in the bank.

Spending and consumption seemed important until I realized it wouldn’t get me anywhere. Everything changed when I created a temporary budget. It might seem a little boring, but it’s pay me now or pay me later.


If you could have lunch with any three people, living or dead, who would they be?

The French philosopher Voltaire, the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Walt Disney.