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Insurer Co-operators Group branches out to investment sector with launch of mutual fund business – The Globe and Mail

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Property and casualty insurer the Co-operators Group Ltd. has expanded into the investment sector with the launch of its own mutual fund division that will offer clients funds from some of Canada’s largest independent asset managers.

The Guelph, Ont.-based insurer has launched Co-operators Financial Investment Services Inc., a financial services arm with more than 600 advisers licensed to sell mutual funds and a product shelf that includes funds from nine independent fund providers, including AGF Investments, Fidelity Investments Canada, Franklin Templeton Investments and CI Financial.

“When we looked at our landscape, it was really clear to us that many of our existing clients and many Canadians weren’t getting the advice that they needed to be able to make the best financial plan that they could,” Co-operators president and chief executive officer Rob Wesseling said in an interview.

Mr. Wesseling said the company is looking to fill the gap for middle-income Canadians who typically cannot gain access to financial advice because they do not have enough investable assets.

The shift into wealth management is a first for the insurer, which has largely been focused on home and auto insurance since its inception in 1946.

Mr. Wesseling said the insurer explored several options for entering the wealth management business, including the possibility of obtaining a securities dealer’s licence with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization. But the company ultimately decided to apply with the Mutual Fund Dealers Association in early 2020 for membership that would allow it to offer the funds to clients.

“The majority of the needs that our clients have can be met with the mutual fund dealer structure,” he added.

With more than $61.5-billion in assets under administration, the Co-operators currently has 6,000 employees, including 2,500 representatives with insurance licences. In addition to home and auto insurance, the company provides business, travel, farm and life insurance.

Along with its new lineup of mutual funds, the company will continue to offer investments in the annuities and segregated funds provided by insurers. Exchange traded funds are not currently part of the new product shelf, but may be included in the future, Mr. Wesseling said.

“The [COVID-19] pandemic has made it incredibly clear that planning is really important and focusing on protection is really important,” Mr. Wesseling said. “COVID has shaken people up in Canada – across the globe – and caused people to step back and think about where they have financial risks and physical risks.”

Over the past decade, Canadian banks and insurers have been boosting their focus on wealth management as $1-trillion in personal holdings are set to be passed down by elderly investors to younger generations in the coming years.

The new Co-operators platform, which offers access to a wide array of independent fund companies, happens to coincide with new regulatory rules that prompted several Canadian banks to try to halt sales of independent third-party investment products from their financial planning arms recently.

“Along with annuities and segregated fund products, Canadians need to have the full picture to protect what they have today and plan for tomorrow,” Mr. Wesseling said.

But unlike some wealth management firms that are targeting Canada’s ultrarich families, Co-operators is aiming to provide financial plans to an underserved population with lower savings.

In a recent survey commissioned by the Co-operators and conducted by Angus Reid, 55 per cent of Canadians said the pandemic made them realize they need to revisit their financial plans, while 69 per cent confessed to never being properly educated on financial security and planning as they headed into adulthood.

Co-operators chief marketing officer Emmie Fukuchi said many “everyday Canadians” are not well served within today’s marketplace and the gap was one of the key drivers for the company to pivot into asset management.

“For too long,” Ms. Fukuchi adds, “Canadians have been made to feel like a number, having been bracketed into data sets, subsets and averages. “

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Bitcoin hovers near 6-month high on ETF hopes, inflation worries

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Bitcoin hovered near a six-month high early on Monday on hopes that U.S. regulators would soon allow cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETF) to trade, while global inflation worries also provided some support.

Bitcoin last stood at $62,359, near Friday’s six-month high of $62,944 and not far from its all-time high of $64,895 hit in April.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to allow the first American bitcoin futures ETF to begin trading this week, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, a move likely to lead to wider investment in digital assets.

Cryptocurrency players expect the approval of the first U.S. bitcoin ETF to trigger an influx of money from institutional players who cannot invest in digital coins at the moment.

Rising inflation worries also increased appetite for bitcoin, which is in limited supply, in contrast to the ample amount of currencies issued by central banks in recent years as monetary authorities printed money to stimulate their economies.

But some analysts noted that, after the recent rally, investors may sell bitcoin on the ETF news.

“The news of a suite of futures-tracking ETFs is not new to those following the space closely, and to many this is a step forward but not the game-changer that some are sensing,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone in Melbourne, Australia.

“We’ve been excited by a spot ETF before, and this may need more work on the regulation front.”

 

(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo and Tom Westbrook in Singapore; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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These are the only times it's smart to make changes to your investment portfolio – CNBC

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Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We may receive a commission when you click on links for products from our affiliate partners.

Recent market volatility has many investors wondering if now is a good time to alter their investments.

The short answer experts generally advise? It’s rarely actually a good time to make changes to your investment portfolio.

“Most investors who jump in and tweak their portfolios typically do it in response to market conditions and history has shown us this just doesn’t work out in their favor,” says Tony Molina, a CPA and senior product specialist at Wealthfront. “What often feels right when it comes to investing, is usually wrong.”

Though you may feel tempted to modify your investments when the market dips, you’re often better off leaving them alone for the long haul. The reality is, downturns happen but your money is safer if you ride out the storm. Just as quickly as the market can go down, it can also go up — and keeping your cash invested throughout these fluctuations is what helps your money grow over time. This is especially true when investing in index funds and ETFs.

But, we wondered, is there ever a good time to adjust your investments? Turns out, there are a couple conditions when it’s OK.

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When it’s a good time to make changes to your investment portfolio

While it’s typically best to leave your investments alone, you may want to change course if there has been a change in your investing goals’ time horizons, and consequently, your risk tolerance, advises Ivory Johnson, a CFP and founder of Delancey Wealth Management.

On one hand, you may find that you have extended the number of years until retirement and can take on more risk. Or, on the other hand, perhaps you’re retiring sooner than you thought and shortening that timeframe means that you need to put your money in lower-risk investments.

Using a robo-advisor is an effective workaround to avoid having to worry whether your investments match your risk tolerance. Robo-advisors have users fill out a brief questionnaire that helps them know how to best allocate your cash depending on your investment goals and the top robo-advisors will regularly rebalance your portfolio for you as needed.

Betterment, for example, will recommend a stock-and-bond allocation based on your goals and adjust automatically whenever you make a deposit, withdraw funds or change your target allocation. Betterment’s algorithms will also check your portfolio drift (how far you are from your target allocation) once per day and rebalance if necessary.

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The automated investing platform through SoFi Invest® automatically rebalances investors’ portfolios as well, but on a quarterly basis. SoFi is a good option for investors also looking for lending products as SoFi members receive a 0.125% interest rate discount on SoFi’s student loan refinancing and personal loans.

Johnson adds that he would generally change an investment allocation when a big event has taken place, such as a severe illness or a large economic windfall (like an inheritance). In both of these cases, an investor’s need for capital appreciation reduces, he says.

Molina agrees that a good time for investors to make changes to their portfolios would be in response to major life events. Specifically, he means events that put the investor in a position where they would need to access their investments in the near future (three or so years). Examples include marriage, a family emergency or as an investor nears retirement.

“This would be a good reason to reduce their investment risk or pull out their funds altogether,” Molina says.

Much of an investor’s decision to change their portfolio in this scenario depends on how soon they may need to withdraw their funds. “In general, if you need the funds within the next three years or less, you may want to consider changing your investment strategy,” Molina adds.

When it comes to investing in individual stocks, keep in mind that you should be using money that you are comfortable having tied up for at least the next five years. While individual stock investors are advised to hold for the long term (especially during times of volatility) in order to best maximize their returns, they may choose to sell a losing stock if it is more risk than they can handle and it generates significant financial loss. Investing in index funds and ETFs are an easy way to take on less risk and diversify your investments.

Bottom line

If you’re thinking of adjusting your investments, most of the time it’s probably not the best move for your long-term growth in the market.

The exceptions to this rule are if your time horizon and risk tolerance suddenly change. Another exception is if there has been a major life event where you no longer need your money to be invested, or where you could be better off financially with the cash accessible in your wallet.

Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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Cushman Investment in WeWork Rests on Successful Stock Listing – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Cushman & Wakefield Plc agreed to invest $150 million in WeWork Cos., contingent on the flexible work company successfully completing its forthcoming stock listing, a person familiar with the matter said. 

The investment was born of a partnership the two companies unveiled Aug. 9. They said at the time that they were discussing a potential investment but hadn’t signed a definitive agreement.

A spokesman for Cushman said the company was pleased with the progress of the WeWork partnership but declined to comment on the investment. A spokesperson for WeWork also declined to comment on the investment. WeWork is preparing to go public via a $9 billion blank-check merger in late October.

The companies cited the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic as a catalyst for their accord. For many businesses, the return to the office has been a stilted process. Widespread vaccines in the U.S. brought some workers back, but the return stalled, along with vaccination rates, and outbreaks of new variants played a role.

“The partnership we announced with Cushman & Wakefield in August is a testament to WeWork’s long-term value proposition and we remain incredibly excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as we team up with one of the leading real estate firms in the world,” WeWork said in a statement Sunday.

The deal represents a marriage of old real estate and new. Cushman & Wakefied is more than a century old and one of the largest commercial real estate services companies in the world. WeWork is barely a decade old.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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