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Cryptocurrency is a tool for speculation – not an investment – The Globe and Mail

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Dan Hallett is vice-president and principal of Highview Financial Group

I have often criticized the investment industry for pumping out products designed to sell rather than build wealth for investors. I have also worked to raise investor awareness of how gimmicky products destroy wealth. The battle against such products took a step backward recently with an Ontario Securities Commission panel’s decision to allow the launch of a bitcoin investment fund.

The OSC’s Investment Funds Branch was initially opposed to the fund; citing several concerns pertaining to public interests. The panel’s decision document clearly lays out the OSC’s legal limits when it comes to approving products that are considered risky and speculative. Ultimately, the panel concluded that the fund will be able to reliably value the fund’s assets, secure the holdings (from hacks/theft) and complete a full financial audit.

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Many look to bitcoin – and other assets such as gold and other commodities – to provide diversification from traditional financial assets. An investment must meet two basic conditions for it to effectively diversify a portfolio. First, it must be weakly correlated with other investments. Second, it must produce a positive return. Bitcoin passes the first test with flying colours. But the second – a positive return – is quite a leap of faith, and violates the warning attached to virtually all investment products.

Regulators have long required every investment fund prospectus to be stamped with a statement reminding investors that past performance is no indication of the future. And yet, it seems that any assumption that bitcoin offers portfolio diversification is implicitly based on bitcoin’s performance during its one decade in existence. This is a drop in the bucket of financial market history. But there are two problems with this assumption.

First, we have no idea – even using history – how bitcoin will behave in a recession, financial crisis or bear market. History can be useful to gauge behavioural patterns and worst-case scenarios. But bitcoin hasn’t existed through any such environment.

Second, by claiming that bitcoin can diversify portfolios, I wonder what basis is used for assuming positive future returns. As I stated for a Globe and Mail article on the panel’s decision:

“We design client portfolios to achieve a specific goal – a specific long-term return target. I can take each component of the portfolio and give you a very good ballpark estimate of how each piece will contribute to achieving that long-term goal. I have no idea how anyone can do this with bitcoin or any cryptocurrency. It can’t be done.”

We have designed an algorithm to forecast long-term asset-class returns. (The method is summarized in a 2012 blog post and has been pretty accurate.) But bitcoin doesn’t fit into this or any other sensible model that facilitates a confident return forecast. I’m certainly not comfortable blindly relying on 10 years of data to form any type of future return expectation; particularly since that decade overlapped a very long economic recovery and bull market.

Bitcoin and other crypto or digital currencies are likely to have a future. And blockchain technology seems destined to change some industries – e.g., the way we handle legal documents. But investment assets require fundamental characteristics upon which to base some value assessment and, in turn, return expectations. In the absence of such characteristics, buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies either for attractive returns or portfolio diversification is speculating – not investing.

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Teaming Up To Accelerate Justicetech Startups And Investment – Forbes

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Justicetech is at a pretty nascent stage. While there are some startups and investors in the area, much of the activity has happened in bits and pieces, without a comprehensive community or network, or even an agreed-upon understanding of what justicetech is. (One definition: technology startups focused on addressing problems faced by people who have been arrested, are incarcerated or are formerly incarcerated).

For that reason, impact accelerator Village Capital and impact investor American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact recently started teaming up to research and assess justicetech startups and investors and find ways to address their most pressing needs.

What they’ve found is that the most urgent need these startups face is raising capital.

“Our ultimate goal is to determine how we can mobilize capital toward justicetech solutions and startups,” says Marcia Chong Rosado, director, economic opportunity at Village Capital.

Assessing the Landscape

Their work started over the summer, when the two organizations got to talking about justicetech and what it means. Village Capital was looking closely at the sector, while, at the same time,  AmFam Institute had started to make VC investments in the area, but was having trouble identifying  the companies that best fit. “We were both struggling in our own worlds with the same issues,” says Nyra Jordan, AmFarm Institute’s social impact investment director. So they decided to work together.

The first phase included conducting a research and market assessment of the justicetech landscape. A report with those findings is slated to be released in March. Researchers identified six verticals within the sector, as well as different stages of the justice system, like incarceration and re-entry,  that startups focus on. The verticals include:

  • Financial health. Helping justice-involved people and their families achieve financial security and the ability to thrive.
  • Future of work. Expanding access to education and employment.
  • Government. Focusing on government systems—for example, making court systems more accessible and efficient.
  • Healthcare. Supporting the physical and mental health of justice-involved people.
  • Legal. Expanding access to civil and legal resources, as well as legal representation.
  • Communications. Helping people in the system stay connected with family and friends and also link up with other service providers.

Money, Not Mentors

Conversations with advisory board members revealed that by far the biggest challenge startups face is finding funding. That is, entrepreneurs don’t need mentors. They need money. And, because many are BIPOC, groups that typically have trouble finding investors, the problem is particularly acute.

That finding seemed to cry out for the need to convene existing investors, as well as new ones looking to learn more about the area, and build a justicetech investor network, thereby addressing the highly fragmented nature of the current ecosystem. To that end, in April, the team will seek out 10-12 mostly pre-seed and seed-stage investors to join the network.

Part of the work after that will involve creating a justicelens investing framework, starting by investigating such issues as appropriate business models and exit strategies, as well as how it all fits into the broader set of tools in impact measurement and management systems.

Vote of Confidence

The findings they’ve so far uncovered have, in fact, already changed how Jordan is approaching working with early-stage companies. Shortly after AmFam Institute was formed in 2018, the folks there began sponsoring local accelerator programs and boot camps aimed at what they called justicetech or criminal justice reform, though without a more-formulated definition. But the recent research caused them to rethink how to provide financial support. “People are saying we don’t need any more mentorship. We need capital,” says Jordan.

That’s meant, for example, re-assessing when to give grants vs. equity investments. Thus, while awarding, say, a $10,000 grant might be helpful in certain situations, in others an equity investment might be more useful. “If you invest with equity, you’re supporting that startup for the long-term and banking on that business,” she says. Such a message also might be likely to attract more money from other investors who would be influenced by that vote of confidence.

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Which Is a Better Investment Account: TFSA versus RRSP? – Yahoo Finance UK

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IMAGE OF A NOTEBOOK WITH TFSA WRITTEN ON IT

Are you considering investing and searching for the top stocks to buy? Before doing so, you should know that whatever money you earn from investing entails a tax. You get a T5 slip which gives you a summary of your investment income. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) encourages Canadians to save money by offering many registered savings accounts with tax benefits. Two popular accounts are Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) and Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs).

TFSA versus RRSP

The purpose of TFSA and RRSP is different, and the CRA designed them accordingly. If you use them optimally, you can make the most of them.

The TFSA, as the name suggests, encourages a savings culture. Hence, it levies a tax on your contribution but allows your investment to grow tax-free. Moreover, you can withdraw partial or complete amounts anytime without adding them to your taxable income.

As there is a tax benefit involved, there is a cap on how much you can invest. For 2021, the contribution limit is $6,000, which you can carry forward next year. If you were over 18 years of age in 2009, when the TFSA started, you can invest a lump sum of $75,500, the accumulated contribution of all these years.

The RRSP is the exact opposite of the TFSA. The RRSP promotes retirement savings, which require you to stay invested till you retire. For that, the CRA deducts the RRSP contribution from your taxable income but adds the withdrawals to your taxable income. And if you withdraw before age 71, it deducts an additional withholding tax of 10%-30%.

Similar to the TFSA, the RRSP also has a contribution limit, which is 18% of your income or a maximum amount the CRA decides. For 2020, the maximum amount is $27,230, which you can carry forward next year.

In both the accounts, over contribution brings a 1% tax. The TFSA and RRSP combined allow you to invest $33,000/year in a tax-efficient manner. You can also check out other registered accounts for more tax-efficient investing.

Maximize returns and tax savings using the TFSA and RRSP

Now that you understand the mechanics of the TFSA and the RRSP, you can maximize your returns and minimize your tax bill. You should look at three aspects when choosing the savings account:

  • Will the security you are investing in yield high returns?

  • What is your tax bill for the year?

  • How much can you save for the long term?

The TFSA investing strategy

Use the TFSA to invest in high-growth and high-dividend stocks, which can grow your money multiple folds in few years. This is because your investment income will be higher than your contribution, and the TFSA will exclude the investment earnings from your taxable income. TFSA is popular among households with after‑tax income under $80,000, according to the 2016 Census.

The iShares S&P/TSX Capped Information Technology Index ETF (TSX:XIT) is a good choice for the TFSA. The ETF has surged 267% in the last five years, converting $10,000 into $36,700. It gives you exposure to the top tech stocks trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. This 267% growth is when the sector was at a nascent stage. It has now entered the growth stage, and the cloud, 5G, and artificial intelligence revolution will drive the wave. The ETF has holdings in some top stocks like Shopify and BlackBerry, which even tops the Motley Fool Canada recommendations.

The RRSP investing strategy

While high growth stocks are good, they come with high risk, so balance your portfolio with some resilient stocks with stable returns using RRSP. Choose this account when the tax-saving trade-off is worth it.

If your taxable income is $105,000, around $8,000 of your income falls under the 26% tax bracket. But if you put this $8,000 in RRSP, you will save over $2,062 in the federal tax bill. Now that is a good trade-off. You can invest this amount in Canadian Utilities and earn $440 in annual dividend, bringing your total savings for the year to $2,500.

Optimize the benefits of the TFSA and the RRSP and plan your investments in a tax-efficient manner.

The post Which Is a Better Investment Account: TFSA versus RRSP? appeared first on The Motley Fool Canada.

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Fool contributor Puja Tayal has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Tom Gardner owns shares of Shopify. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Shopify and Shopify. The Motley Fool recommends BlackBerry and BlackBerry.

The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool Canada’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Motley Fool Canada 2021

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Onex fourth-quarter profit rises helped by private equity and credit investment gains – The Globe and Mail

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Onex Corp. ONEX-T reported its fourth-quarter profit rose compared with a year ago, helped by gains in its private equity and credit investments.

The Toronto-based private equity manager, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, says it earned a net profit of US$597 million or $6.61 per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31.

The result compared with net earnings of US$187 million or $1.86 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2019.

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Onex reported segment net earnings — which exclude certain items — of US$708 million or US$7.72 per diluted share for its fourth quarter, up from US$211 million or $2.04 per diluted share a year earlier.

Onex manages and invests money on behalf of its shareholders, institutional investors and high net worth clients.

It also owns wealth management firm Gluskin Sheff.

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