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FP Answers: What's the difference between a financial plan and an investment plan? – Financial Post



Don has $800,000 in investments. He wants to set lifestyle goals, but also have a road map to the right investment strategy for the long term

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By Julie Cazzin, with Doug Robinson


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Q: What does it cost to get a financial plan drawn up? What about an investment plan? And what exactly is the difference? I’m 39 and have liquid assets of roughly $800,000 (excluding my house) and feel it is time for me to have both. — Thanks, Don P.

FP ANSWERS: You ask an insightful question, Don. It seems straightforward, but there will be a lot of different answers from different companies and advisers in our industry.

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All too often, an investment manager is hiding in advisory clothing. More specifically, clients have the illusion they are getting a complete plan when they are simply buying a manager’s investments. The confusion this creates leads to great questions such as the one you have asked and fuels a debate about the level of fees charged. In addition, there is a regulatory concern in the industry surrounding this issue, leading to title reform measures for advisers that are intended to provide more clarity for consumers.


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Let’s start with defining a financial plan by what it is not. It is not a 50-page printout from a financial planning software package containing charts and graphs beside templated text written by someone you or the adviser has never met. It is not buying insurance products. It is not being sold a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or tax-free savings account (TFSA) in a retail banking location, nor is it a portfolio of mutual funds you buy from a nice person.

A financial plan may involve any of these elements, but an effective plan is one you both generally understand and implement. You don’t need to understand all of it. Typically, very few people want to know all the details. Some people appreciate having everything in writing, but many only want a concise summary and enough in-person meetings to have the relevant points explained in understandable terms.


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A complete financial plan should address all financial planning components:

  1. Cash management plan: income, savings and spending, plus effectively dealing with debt;
  2. Estate planning: having proper wills and power of attorney documents that accurately reflect your wishes, and reviewing asset ownership structures and beneficiary designations to ensure they are not conflicting with these documents;
  3. Investment planning: building an appropriate investment plan that aligns with your willingness to assume risk and considers your need for taking the risk;
  4. Retirement plan: planning how much to save for retirement and spend in retirement, and utilizing the optimal vehicles (RRSPs, TFSAs, corporate savings, non-registered savings) to reach the targets you set;
  5. Risk management plan: it is generally best to use insurance for events with a low probability of occurring, but very severe consequences. Events such as disability or death require income replacement for your family;
  6. Tax plan: every Canadian has the right to organize their affairs to pay the lowest amount of tax possible while complying with the country’s tax code.


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Other planning areas may need to be addressed over a lifetime and include education for children or grandchildren, marriage, divorce, second marriages, multiple families, charitable giving and business succession planning.

A financial plan starts with the planner knowing all the current details about every component and building your net worth statement. But, most importantly, the client and planner need to define each person’s priorities and goals. Unfortunately, doing so is rarely straightforward because most people have not given this task detailed thought or defined their future well. (I don’t even know when I plan to retire.)

You can hire a fee-only planner who will charge for this service, and you may find a flat fee for all the components ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 or more. Some planners offer a component service and may charge for, say, a retirement plan only. Other planners will charge an hourly rate, which will widely vary, but $100 to $400 an hour would cover most of the range.


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  1. It is tough to make a case for opting out of a defined-contribution pension plan.

    FP Answers: What’s the best long-term strategy for investing in a pension plan versus a TFSA?

  2. Expert says Annie should invest her monthly mortgage payment in an RRSP.

    FP Answers: How should I invest the extra $2,000 a month now that my mortgage is paid off?

  3. None

    FP Answers: How do I know if I’m saving and investing too much?

Don, you asked about the difference between a financial plan and an investment plan. First, you will note an investment plan is simply one component of a complete financial plan. The price of an investment plan is typically built into the cost to manage the assets. A good asset manager will create an investment plan and charge 0.75 per cent to one per cent of the assets to manage the money. The problem is that fees are often much higher (1.25 per cent to 2.5 per cent and more), and little additional financial planning advice is delivered for that extra money.


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As well, the industry is fragmented. Banks offer cash management and debt financing, lawyers do wills and powers of attorney for estate planning, and everyone offers investment advice because this is where they make the most money. Certified financial planners (CFPs) provide a wide array of retirement planning value, insurance agents prioritize insurance and accountants prepare taxes. Most of these are one-time events, but financial planning is an ongoing relationship that should last years.

At 39, with $800,000 of investment assets (well done), you have enough money to have both an investment and financial plan. The price you pay should not be the focal point; the value you receive should be. A financial planner should have the CFP designation. An investment manager should have the chartered investment manager (CIM) designation or, better still, the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation.


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I suggest finding a firm with people who hold those designations and who you can build a relationship with for years to come. You must feel at ease with your adviser(s) and trust them, and they need the ability to explain complex issues in terms you understand.

You are on the right track. I wish you success finding the right firm or adviser(s). Set your standards high, be patient and don’t settle until you find the right partner.

Doug Robinson is a certified financial planner and wealth adviser with Veritable Wealth Advisory in Peterborough, Ont. Veritable Wealth Advisory is a full-service financial planning and investment firm that employs multiple certified financial planners and portfolio managers with offices in Burlington, Kingston and Peterborough.  Veritable has advisers specializing in retirement planning, tax planning and estate planning, and most commonly works with professionals, business owners and affluent retirees.


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Bitcoin investors dig in for long haul in ‘staggering’ shift



As bitcoin heads into 2022, a growing cohort of long-term investors is doubling down on its stashes of the cryptocurrency, hoping a December dip was merely a festive blip.

Some industry watchers point to the underlying stability of such long-term investments as potentially promising indicators for the capricious cryptocurrency.

Since last July, for example, the amount of bitcoin held in digital wallets with no outflows for more than five months has been steadily increasing, according to digital currency brokerage Genesis Trading.

In addition, the amount of the bitcoin held in “illiquid” wallets – which spend less than quarter of their inflows – is also rising, meaning fewer coin are being actively traded, it added, citing wallet data across several exchanges.

“The number of bitcoins that haven’t moved in over a year has been climbing since July,” said Noelle Acheson, head of market insights at Genesis Trading. “That’s pretty staggering.”

Many investors were nonetheless sent diving for cover in December when the world’s most popular cryptocurrency sunk almost 20%, roughly the same as the second-biggest coin ether, with risk appetite hit by inflation fears and a quicker pace of interest rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

While bitcoin and ether both posted gains last week – up 2.9% to $43,107 and up 6.3% to $3,350, respectively – they are still some way off their 2021 highs of $69,000 and $4,868


Many cryptocurrency experts caution that no one has been known to reliably predict bitcoin’s characteristically wild price swings. In 2017, for example, it went from about $1,000 to around $20,000. In early 2020, it sunk below $4,000 at one point before beginning a dizzying rise.

Yet advocates of bitcoin and other coins say the increasing acceptance of cryptocurrencies in mainstream financial and investing in recent years has shored up the sector.

Cryptocurrency research firm Delphi Digital said their research showed a similar shift towards bitcoin being held for longer period by investors, which it said “illustrates a transference from shorter-term ‘weak hands’ to long-term ‘strong hands’.”

Crypto data platform Coinglass’s bitcoin Fear & Greed index, has wavered between 10 and 29 since the start of the year, which could be an indicator of a possible market bottom and buying opportunities, according to Will Hamilton, head of trading & research at Trovio Capital Management.

“Previous market bottoms in July 2021 and March 2020 correlated with Fear and Greed scores of 19 and 10 respectively,” he added.

For the uninitiated, 0 indicates “extreme fear” and 100 is “extreme greed”


There were, meanwhile, more headlines for cryptocurrencies last week.

Meme-based dogecoin stole the spotlight after Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company would accept it as payment for select merchandise.

The tweet sent dogecoin up nearly 12%.

“If more people are looking to buy Tesla merchandise with dogecoin then there’s more demand,” Acheson said, adding that this move could improve fundamental factors for dogecoin.

Cryptocurrency Solana was another altcoin in focus, with Bank of America analysts saying the Solana blockchain could pull market share away from ethereum and “could become the Visa of the digital asset ecosystem”.

Elsewhere, bitcoin miners bounced back from mining crackdowns in China and the recent unrest in Kazakhstan, one of the world’s primary centres for bitcoin mining.

Bitcoin’s mean “hash rate” a measure of the power of the bitcoin computing network, touched an all time high of over 215 million terahashes per second on Thursday, according to blockchain data provider Glassnode.


(Reporting by Medha Singh and Lisa Mattackal in Bengaluru; Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and Pravin Char) (more…)

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The Daily — Canada's international transactions in securities, November 2021 – Statistique Canada



Released: 2022-01-17

Foreign investors acquired $30.1 billion of Canadian securities in November, the largest investment since April 2020. At the same time, Canadian investors increased their holdings of foreign securities by $17.5 billion, led by purchases of US shares.

As a result, international transactions in securities generated a net inflow of funds of $12.6 billion in the Canadian economy in November.

Chart 1 

Canada’s international transactions in securities

The largest foreign investment in Canadian securities since April 2020

Foreign acquisitions of Canadian securities totalled $30.1 billion in November, the largest investment since April 2020, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. In November, foreign investment targeted federal government debt securities, and to a lesser extent, private corporate debt securities. A foreign divestment in Canadian equities moderated the overall acquisition activity in the month.

Foreign investors added $31.4 billion of debt securities to their portfolios in November, up from a $20.4 billion investment in October. This activity mainly reflected purchases of federal government debt securities, both bonds ($8.6 billion) and money market instruments ($6.5 billion). In addition, investors added $9.8 billion of private corporate debt securities to their holdings in November, a seventh consecutive monthly investment, for a total of $87.6 billion. In November, Canadian long-term interest rates rose to the highest level since February 2019. Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar depreciated against the US dollar.

Chart 2 

Chart 2: Foreign investment in Canadian debt securities, by sector of issuer

Foreign investment in Canadian debt securities, by sector of issuer

Non-resident investors reduced their overall exposure to the Canadian equity market by $1.3 billion in November, after three consecutive months of investment. The reduction reflected retirements of Canadian portfolio shares resulting from cross-border merger and acquisition activities. Foreign purchases of Canadian shares on the secondary market, led by shares of chartered banks, moderated the overall reduction in the month. Canadian share prices, as measured by the Standard and Poor’s/TSX composite index, were down by 1.8% in November after reaching a record-high level in October.

Canadian investment in foreign securities rebounds

Canadian acquisitions of foreign securities reached $17.5 billion in November, up from a $5.4 billion investment in October and similar to the average investment observed in August and September. The investment activity in November was led by acquisitions of US shares.

Canadian investors added $7.4 billion of US shares to their holdings in November, following an investment of $652 million in October. The activity in November focused on shares of large capitalization technology firms and investment fund shares tracking broad market indices. US stock prices, as measured by the Standard and Poor’s 500 composite index, were down by 0.8% in November. In addition, Canadian investors purchased $4.0 billion of non-US foreign shares, after a divestment of $2.5 billion in October. November’s investment mainly targeted British companies’ shares.

Chart 3 

Chart 3: Canadian investment in foreign equity and investment fund shares

Canadian investment in foreign equity and investment fund shares

Meanwhile, Canadian investors added $6.1 billion of foreign debt securities to their portfolios, mainly in US dollar-denominated instruments. This activity represented the 10th straight month of investment in foreign debt securities for a total of $47.4 billion. Investment in November mainly focused on US corporate bonds ($2.8 billion) and US government bonds ($1.6 billion). In November, Canadian long-term interest rates exceeded their US counterpart with the largest value increase since August 2011.

Chart 4 

Chart 4: Canadian investment in foreign bonds

Canadian investment in foreign bonds

  Note to readers

The data series on international transactions in securities covers portfolio transactions in equity and investment fund shares, bonds and money market instruments for both Canadian and foreign issues. This activity excludes transactions in equity and debt instruments between affiliated enterprises, which are classified as foreign direct investment in international accounts.

Equity and investment fund shares include common and preferred equities, as well as units or shares of investment funds. For the sake of brevity, the terms “shares” and “equity and investment fund shares” have the same meaning.

Debt securities include bonds and money market instruments.

Bonds have an original term to maturity of more than one year.

Money market instruments have an original term to maturity of one year or less.

Government of Canada paper includes Treasury bills and US-dollar Canada bills.

All values in this release are net transactions unless otherwise stated.

Next release

Data on Canada’s international transactions in securities for December 2021 will be released on February 17, 2022.


The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-607-X) is available.

The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-606-G) is also available.

The data visualization product “Securities statistics,” part of the series Statistics Canada – Data Visualization Products (Catalogue number71-607-X), is available online.

The Canada and the World Statistics Hub (Catalogue number13-609-X) is available online. This product illustrates the nature and extent of Canada’s economic and financial relationship with the world using interactive graphs and tables. This product provides easy access to information on trade, investment, employment and travel between Canada and a number of countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, China and Japan.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (

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Singapore REITs Double Their Overseas Investment to $12 Billion – BNN



(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s property managers are accelerating their push abroad as a slow reopening and diminishing returns at home force them to look for growth opportunities elsewhere.

Foreign acquisitions by real estate investment trusts in the city-state jumped to an all-time high of 61 last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The total value of such deals also more than doubled from 2020 to $12.3 billion.

Property managers in Singapore — which boasts the most REITs in Asia outside of Japan — have long shown global ambitions, with overseas investments picking up during the pandemic. But a limited reopening coupled with the anticipated omicron surge is adding impetus to this drive, even as investor concerns over a slowing recovery grow.

“Singapore’s commercial REITs may continue to rely on overseas M&A to achieve income growth in 2022, especially if omicron brings more uncertainty on further easing of social and traveling curbs to boost retail and office leasing demand in the country,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Patrick Wong.  

A $3.1 billion merger of Mapletree Commercial Trust with Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust proposed last month is the latest in a series of moves that have seen managers long comfortable with a domestic presence favor a more global footprint. Also in December, another REIT targeting retail outlets in the city-state, CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust, made a foray into its second overseas market with office acquisitions in Australia.

Investors like the stability a local focus can offer, Sharon Lim, the chief executive officer of the manager of Mapletree Commercial to told reporters last month, but her trust needs to be better placed to take on new opportunities overseas and achieve “meaningful long-term expansion.” Lim’s REIT, which she described as the “last of the Mohicans” with only Singapore-centric assets will see its domestic holdings shrink to 51% within the new merged entity.

Increased Risks

Overseas diversification may alienate some investors, however, with Mapletree Commercial’s shares having declined more than 8% since the merger was announced. “Investors whose mandate demands only Singapore exposure may look at other counters,” said Krishna Guha, a senior analyst at Jefferies Financial Group Inc, adding that execution and foreign exchange risks may rise.

Still, while the CEO of Singapore’s tourism board Keith Tan has warned that a full recovery in visitor numbers is unlikely until 2025, a reopening dividend might yet emerge. Officials in the financial center have affirmed their determination to live with the virus and keep its borders open, while easing some restrictions, including allowing some workers back into offices.

Singapore’s latest property investment manager Capitaland Investment Ltd. — a spinoff of one of the country’s largest developers — said it will remain committed to local investments despite a growing foreign portfolio.

Singapore will continue to be a “core market” and is attracting strong interest from wealthy individuals, including a growing number of family offices, said CEO Lee Chee Koon in an emailed response to questions about its plans. “But given the physical growth constraints, the relative size of our Singapore business within our portfolio will become smaller over time, as we expand and deepen our interests in overseas markets.”

Investors have validated this strategy so far, with Capitaland Investment emerging as the second-best performer on the benchmark Straits Times Index since its trading debut in September last year, having advanced by over 21%.

The overseas growth fervor is unlikely to dim. A limited pool of good quality assets as well as increasing competition from global funds have also pushed yields lower, said Vijay Natarajan, a real estate analyst at RHB Research Institute. Capitaland’s Lee also expects stronger Asian-based competition to emerge over time.

Instead, deep liquidity pools in overseas markets like the U.K., U.S. and Australia, as well as more alluring freehold and longer lease terms will maintain the draw of markets abroad, said Natarajan. “We expect this trend of overseas acquisitions to continue.”

Footnotes to second chart: 

  • Chart displays % of foreign AUM of top eight REITs by market capitalization
  • Excluded names are Capitaland Integrated Commercial Trust, created through a merger in 2020, while Mapletree Commercial Trust and Frasers Logistics & Commercial Trust are pure geographical plays
  • Mapletree REITs’ financial years end in March (E.g. For FY 2020: March 2021 rather than Dec. 2020)

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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