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Top savings accounts, Rosenberg’s view of best investments for post-pandemic life, and how to build a better portfolio – The Globe and Mail



While the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of having money safely parked in a savings account, it has also driven savings rates into the ground.

Interest rates have done some funny things since the pandemic hit hard. Central banks drove their benchmark rates down, and the major banks followed along with their prime rates, used to price home-equity lines of credit and variable-rate mortgages. Bond yields fell then started to rise and then eased back again. Savings accounts have basically gone one way – down.

While this trend applies to big banks, alternative online banks and credit unions alike, the extent of the decline differs a lot. Pay attention if you sensibly want to build up savings to see you through tough times ahead.

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Data gathered by the consulting firm McVay and Associates show that big banks have cut their rates since February by an average 0.65 of a percentage point, bringing the average return on a high rate savings account to 0.38 per cent.

The average rate from alternative banks fell by 0.64 of a point, leaving the average return at a much better 1.44 per cent. Credit unions cut their savings account rates the least on average – by 0.6 of a point. But the average return was just 0.76 per cent, well behind alternative banks.

Alternative banks are your best bet for top rates on savings, then. The good news for safety seekers: Many of them are covered by Canada Deposit Insurance Corp., which means eligible deposits of up to $100,000 in principal and interest are covered. Worried about CDIC’s stability in these uncertain times? In a recent column, I explained why you should have confidence in this federally backed agency.

It’s an open question whether alternative banks can maintain rates at current levels, which means around 2 per cent at best. On one hand, these banks need to be aggressive in attracting deposits they can lend out to other customers. On the other, the weak economy is like a lead weight pressing down on interest rates. There is a much bigger likelihood that rates go lower before they turn around and head back to pre-pandemic levels.

Here are the alternative banks listed in the McVay report as having rates at or above 2 per cent at the time of publishing: B2B Bank, LBC Digital, Motive Financial, EQ Bank, Oaken Financial, Alterna Bank (down to 1.9 per cent as of Thursday) and Peoples Trust.

— Rob Carrick

This is the Globe Investor newsletter, published three times each week. If someone has forwarded this e-mail newsletter to you or you’re reading this on the web, you can sign up for the newsletter and others on our newsletter signup page.

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Stocks to ponder

Rogers Communications Inc. Falling profits, dashed expectations and withdrawn forward guidance might look like the perfect triple-whammy of bad news for a company’s investors. But when the source of the bad news is Rogers Communications Inc., investors might want to take a closer look at the opportunity instead. The reason: Although the telecom giant is wrestling with the economic fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic, it looks like a clear survivor – and the stock can still be bought at a substantial discount to its pre-pandemic levels. David Berman tells us more (for subscribers)

The Rundown

Pandemic? What pandemic? One of the world’s leading growth investors embraces the positive

At Baillie Gifford, a 112-year-old investing partnership in Edinburgh, the short-term outlook doesn’t matter all that much – not even at times like the present, when the short term involves a global plague and the worst economic downturn in decades. The important question is still what a prospective investment will look like in five to 10 years. Baillie Gifford has carved out a niche searching for those rare outperformers. It is one of the world’s leading growth investors, managing or advising on US$290-billion in assets for investors around the world. Ian McGugan spoke with one of its investment managers for insight on how its portfolio is positioned for the future. (for subscribers)

The world will look much different once the pandemic ends. These investments will thrive in it

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What the world looks like when the crisis ends is truly anyone’s guess, but economist David Rosenberg says with 100-per-cent clarity that it is going to look a lot different than it did before. Months of isolation and distancing and fear of a return of the pandemic are going to fundamentally alter lifestyles and will have a profound influence not just on the way we live but how we conduct ourselves in our business and commercial lives. And that means certain investments are going to do very well – while others are heading for big trouble. David takes a look at some of them. (for subscribers)

A concentrated or a diversified portfolio – what strategy is best for you?

With global equity markets materially above their March lows and now trading relatively sideways, it’s a good time for investors to begin thinking about rebalancing and strategically repositioning their portfolios. The Globe’s equity analyst, Jennifer Dowty, shares her insight on how to do just that. (for subscribers)

Investors were slow to see coronavirus’s global spread. Are they again too complacent about the economic risks?

In the days immediately before the COVID-19 pandemic slammed into the global economy, investors were calmly pushing North American stocks to record highs. In hindsight, that level of complacency in mid-February seems difficult to reconcile with the outbreak, considering the ravages already inflicted on China’s society and industry, combined with the fact that the virus had spread around the world. Now, after a blistering rally over the past month from the lows of March, are markets repeating the same mistake? Tim Shufelt takes a closer look (for subscribers)

Four key things to know when building a value investing strategy amid the COVID-19 crisis

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Value investing always involves buying companies with problems. It always involves dealing with the uncertainty that the future will look different than the past. That level of uncertainty can vary significantly over time and it is probably close to an all-time high right now. Jack Forehand of Validea outlines some important things to keep in mind when building a value strategy at a time like this. (for everyone)

Others (for subscribers)

The week’s most oversold and overbought stocks on the TSX

Friday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades

Thursday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades

Thursday’s Insider Report: Two executives cash out millions from this consumer stock

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Number Cruncher: Ten U.S. health care stocks leading the pack in 2020

Number Cruncher: Ten sustainable funds that have fared well during the pandemic crisis

Others (for everyone)

The growing worry for bondholders: Getting ‘primed’

Extreme volatility raises questions over WTI

Big Oil investors to look past earnings pain and focus on dividends

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As oil slumps, investors reinforce short commodity currency bet

What’s up in the days ahead

Tim Shufelt takes a look at what’s driving the latest rally in Shopify shares to all-time highs.

Click here to see the Globe Investor earnings and economic news calendar.

More Globe Investor coverage

For more Globe Investor stories, follow us on Twitter @globeinvestor

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You may also be interested in our Market Update or Carrick on Money newsletters. Explore them on our newsletter signup page.

Compiled by Globe Investor Staff

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Foreign Investment Review – A Warning In The Time Of COVID-19 – Government, Public Sector – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts




Foreign Investment Review – A Warning In The Time Of COVID-19

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The Canadian government, concerned about the impact of
COVID-19 on corporate valuations, has issued guidance that it will
pay particular attention to foreign direct investments of any value
(meaning, even investments that are not subject to review under the
Investment Canada Act (the “ICA”)).  The
government’s announcement does not amend the ICA, nor any
thresholds for review.  But it does issue a warning that the
government intends to use the tools it has to review investments,
including the national security review provisions under the

While the enhanced scrutiny is to apply to any acquisition
of an interest in a Canadian business involved in public health or
the supply of critical goods and services to Canadians or to the
Government of Canada, all foreign investments by state-owned
investors, regardless of value, or private investors assessed as
being closed tied to or subject to direction from foreign
governments, are also considered targets for such

One can expect that Canadian companies involved in
manufacturing needed supplies to address COVID-19 healthcare
requirements (for example manufacturers of personal protective
equipment), or companies involved in vaccine research or other
health technology would be of particular concern.  As to
critical goods and services, we can look to the Government’s
own Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada during
the COVID-19 pandemic for assistance.  In that guidance, the
Government cites energy and utilities, information and
communication technologies, finance, health, food, water,
transportation, safety and manufacturing. 

The first real test, however, of the Government’s
application of its enhanced review will be a gold miner, TMAC
Resources Inc., which operates the Doris gold mine in Nunavut’s
Hope Bay.  In a deal announced two weeks ago, China’s
Shangdong Gold Mining Co. Ltd. will pay just over C$207 million for
TMAC, which has been struggling financially.  TMAC is listed
on the Toronto Stock Exchange and has lost significant value since
its IPO.  Control and the majority equity interest in Shandong
is owned by the Chinese Government.  Whether Shandong can
establish that the acquisition is of net benefit to Canada, and
particularly so with such declared enhanced scrutiny, remains to be
seen.  There has been certain concern expressed by the
security community in Canada about Beijing’s control over
critical metals and minerals.  Gold is, in volatile financial
circumstances, a safe haven investment. 

As a general caution, foreign buyers should consider the
guidance from the Canadian government on the ICA.  Foreign
investment is still recognized as beneficial with a compelling case
for the transaction.  But at the least, potential acquirors
should be alive to the potential for a greater degree of review,
and should consider the time-frame for review and when to submit an
application for review, including a pre-closing notification under
the ICA. 

Originally published May 25, 2020

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Government, Public Sector from Canada

COVID-19: Cross Country Update (May 11, 2020)

Miller Thomson LLP

Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced support for large and medium-sized businesses so they can keep their workers on the payroll and survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Should Mark and Meredith invest their surplus or pay off their mortgages? – The Globe and Mail



Mark and Meredith, seen here, should catch up on their TFSAs first, lower the extra payments on their original house and invest the difference.

Lars Hagberg/The Globe and Mail

As a military couple, Mark and Meredith have relocated seven times in the past 10 years, so they’re looking forward to moving back to their original home – now rented out – when they eventually retire.

Mark, an officer with the Canadian Armed Forces, is age 44 and earns about $142,400 a year. Meredith, an employee at the Department of National Defence, is 47 and earns $72,660 a year. Her income has suffered from long spells in places where no work was available. They have a 12-year-old daughter, two houses and substantial mortgage debt.

Mind you, they’ll be well-fixed when they retire from the military. At the age of 55 Mark will be entitled to a defined benefit pension, indexed to inflation, of $116,000 a year plus a bridge benefit of $12,838 to the age of 65. From 65 on, he will get $134,623 a year.

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At 58, Meredith will also be entitled to a DB plan: $35,427 a year plus a bridge benefit of $988 until she’s 65. After that, she will get $39,315 a year.

First, though, they want to pay off their mortgages. They’re not sure which one to tackle first or whether they would be better off investing their surplus funds. “My husband thinks that it would be better to invest extra dollars [in financial markets] because our mortgage interest rates are low,” Meredith writes in an e-mail.

We asked Robyn Thompson, president of Castlemark Wealth Management Inc. in Toronto, to look at Mark and Meredith’s situation. Ms. Thompson is also a certified financial planner.

What the expert says

Mark and Meredith have $2,715 a month in surplus cash flow that they can use for debt repayment, investing, or increased lifestyle spending, Ms. Thompson says. They are using $1,000 of this to make prepayments to the mortgage on their original family home, now rented out.

In addition to their two properties, they have investment assets in their various accounts totalling $305,515, with 60-per-cent equity, 30-per-cent fixed income and 10-per-cent cash. Both have unused RRSP room that they are carrying forward to reduce taxes payable on their retiring allowances (a taxable, one-time payment on retirement in addition to their pensions) – $80,000 for him and $25,000 for her.

The couple would like to retire at the age of 55 with an annual after-tax income stream of $72,000 in today’s dollars (or $106,234 at retirement, indexed at 2 per cent), the planner says. When they do, they plan to move back to their original house and rent out their current residence.

Complicating matters is the fact that they have, at different times, declared one property or the other as their principal residence, Ms. Thompson says. “This will create a taxable capital gain on the property that is eventually sold,” she notes.

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For example, renting out part or all of a principal residence changes its use to an income-earning property. So capital-gains tax may apply for the period during which the property was used to earn income. Mark and Meredith would still be able to claim the principal residence exemption for the period in which they used the house as their primary residence.

“It is therefore critically important for Mark and Meredith to keep detailed records of when and how each property was used along with receipts for any improvements made, no matter how minor,” Ms. Thompson says.

Given their substantial income and relatively modest living expenses, Mark and Meredith will be able to achieve their short- and long-term financial goals, the planner says. “They have some catching up to do with their tax-free savings account contributions and prepayments toward the mortgage, but they are in a rock-solid financial position,” she adds.

The couple’s investments have done well, delivering an annualized rate of return of 8 per cent going back to 2013, Ms. Thompson says. The value of their portfolio shrank somewhat in early 2020 as a result of the stock-market meltdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the planner says. “But they have a long time horizon and view the market downturn as a short-term event.”

Their portfolio consists mainly of Canadian and U.S. large-cap, blue-chip stocks, exchange-traded funds and a small mutual-fund allocation. They use an investment adviser to whom they pay 1.65 per cent a year. The adviser does not provide planning or tax services.

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The registered education savings plan for their daughter is allocated 50 per cent to fixed income and 50 per cent to equities. Using a 4.5 per cent expected rate of return and a 2 per cent inflation rate, at their current contribution rate the RESP will grow to $73,028 by the time their daughter starts university at the age of 18.

Now for the mortgages. Mark and Meredith are paying 1.95 per cent interest on the $468,560 mortgage on their original home (rented out for $36,000 a year). Their current mortgage payment on the original house is $40,685 annually. In addition, they are making an extra payment of $1,000 a month, or $12,000 a year.

When the mortgage comes up for renewal next year, the interest rate could well be higher, the planner says. She assumes a 2.39 per cent interest rate at renewal. Instead of paying $1,000 a month, they could cut their prepayment to $500 monthly and redirect the surplus cash flow of $6,000 a year to their tax-free savings accounts, where they have unused contribution room. There the investments are forecast to grow tax-free with an expected real rate of return of 4.5 per cent annually, the planner says. “They will still have the property paid off by [Mark’s] age 55.”

As for the house they are living in now, they plan to rent it out for $2,000 a month after they retire. Rather than paying off the $215,000 mortgage, the planner recommends they continue with it, deducting the mortgage interest along with the other expenses. They could use the net cash flow first to contribute to their TFSAs and then invest any surplus in a non-registered, balanced portfolio.

“Meredith’s first inclination is to pay off the mortgage as fast as possible,” Ms. Thompson says. “This is not always the best option in a low-interest rate environment.” For Mark and Meredith, using cash flow to maximize TFSA contributions makes more sense at this point, the planner says. “With a properly diversified, balanced portfolio, the after-tax compounded annualized rate of return on their investments inside the TFSA is likely to exceed the compound interest payable on their mortgage.”

At Mark’s age 56, the first full year they are both retired, Mark and Meredith will have after-tax income of $169,160 a year. After-tax lifestyle needs and the mortgage payment on the rental will total $120,408 a year, giving them plenty of room to expand their goals if they choose to.

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Client situation

The people: Mark, 44, Meredith, 47, and their daughter, 12

The problem: Should they invest their surplus or pay off their mortgages?

The plan: Catch up on their TFSAs first. Lower the extra payments on their original house and invest the difference. Leave the mortgage on the second house when they retire.

The payoff: Making the best use of their money.

Monthly net income: $16,160 (includes gross rental income).

Assets: Cash $7,000; emergency fund $20,000; her TFSA $52,300; his TFSA $30,815; her RRSP $96,905; his RRSP $80,375; RESP $38,120; residence $450,000; rental $750,000; estimated present value of his DB pension plan $2.36-million; estim. PV of her DB plan $863,000. Total: $4.7-million

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Monthly outlays (both properties): Mortgages $4,570; property taxes $990; water, sewer, garbage $115; home insurance $150; electricity, heat $215; maintenance $895; garden $100; transportation $780; groceries $800; clothing $180; gifts, charity $315; vacation, travel $1,250; other discretionary $30; dining, drinks, entertainment $700; personal care $30; club membership $15; pets $15; sports, hobbies $120; other personal $450; health care $25; disability insurance $370; phones, TV, internet $130; RESP $200; TFSAs $1,000. Total: $13,445

Liabilities: Residence mortgage $215,000; rental mortgage $468,560. Total: $683,560

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Some details may be changed to protect the privacy of the persons profiled.

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Legault won't rule out another investment in Bombardier – Montreal Gazette



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QUEBEC — Premier François Legault has not ruled out another government bailout of struggling Bombardier Inc., which announced Friday it plans to eliminate 2,500 jobs because a slump in demand for business jets.

But Legault said if his government did proceed, it would not make the same “mistakes” of the former Liberal government, which chose to invest in the C-Series program and not Bombardier in general.

He said he also would obtain guarantees on the preservation of jobs, the head office and make sure the company’s executives not pay themselves fat salaries and bonuses.

The former Liberal government of Philippe Couillard invested $1.3 billion in Bombardier’s C-series program, which was later sold to Airbus. Quebec still holds its shares in the firm, which were valued at $700 million in the last provincial budget.

Legault Friday seemed to suggest in his remarks that the money is lost.

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