Universities and colleges employ hundreds of thousands of people, educate and train over two million students annually and drive research that improves the lives of all Canadians. In cities and communities across the country, they are regional economic drivers and social and cultural centres. Our world-class post-secondary education system is critical to our prosperity, underpins our democracy and finds solutions to key challenges, be it COVID or climate change.
All of this is in peril — and not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public funding for post-secondary education has been stagnant for more than a decade. COVID-19 has brought the system closer to the edge. Strategic investments in universities and colleges must be made now to ensure a strong economic recovery and a more resilient future for Canadians.
COVID-19 has strained resources and reduced revenues, especially from international student fees. For decades, in the absence of sustainable government funding, students and their families have been asked to pay more. Private sources of funding now make up over half of university revenues, up from just 20 per cent when the parents of students may have once been on campus.
Since the last recession in 2008, provincial government spending in the sector has decreased by one per cent in real terms. Meanwhile, student enrolment has grown by more than 20 per cent over the same time, and income from tuition by nearly 70 per cent. With more than half of all university students already taking on an average of $28,000 of debt to get an education, reliance on student fees to solve the funding crisis simply isn’t sustainable.
There are three areas that need immediate action from the federal government to put post-secondary education on stable footing and improve quality, affordability and accessibility.
First, we need a national strategy for post-secondary education with goals to tackle education inequality, enhance affordability and strengthen research capacity. The last time the federal government increased the base funding to the provinces and territories for post-secondary education was in 2008 under Stephen Harper and this came with no plan of action to address key challenges.
Secondly, we need to accelerate research through enhanced investments in fundamental research. The government’s own advisory panel recommended funding levels 40 per cent higher than what we are investing today to keep Canada competitive.
The pandemic has also put much research on hold. In a survey of Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) members, two out of three have seen their research stop or stall as a result of the pandemic. This hiatus in research will have a significant downstream impact on the innovation and knowledge that supports Canada’s economy.
Finally, we need to secure opportunities for youth and the unemployed by decreasing upfront costs and moving to a free tuition model for working- and middle-class Canadians. The government’s temporary doubling of the Canada Student Grant this year will help students cover costs this term, however it is still less than the average tuition.
It is also an unsustainable approach.
While we have seen increases in student financial assistance, we have also seen increases in tuition. As some provincial officials half-joke, the best way to leverage federal funding for post-secondary education is to raise tuition, as this will increase demands for federally funded student financial assistance.
Some of the necessary changes to the funding model for post-secondary education could be met by redirecting the $900 million in unused federal funding from the failed Canada Student Service Grant program. The government could also repurpose the Canada Training Benefit to ensure that Canadians have more meaningful and timely access to educational opportunities.
There are many public services and sectors that need strengthening to get us out of the current crisis and be better for it. Post-secondary education is an essential foundation for social cohesion, science, innovation and economic success in Canada, and must not be taken for granted. We cannot let it languish now, when it is so critical to the well-being of our country.
A new era of low-cost investing has arrived for Gen Z and millennials – The Globe and Mail
Words they live by in the investment industry: Small accounts get small consideration.
So it follows that the record of investment firms in welcoming young people as customers was pretty terrible until recently. The rise of digital investing – taking orders and sometimes providing advice online or via mobile device – has changed all that for the better by making small accounts more economical to serve.
Suddenly, there are all kinds of ways for young adults to get started as investors while keeping their costs to a minimum. There’s a free stock-trading app, and another app with zero commissions for investing in exchange-traded funds. Several online brokers offer special pricing for young clients that can reduce their costs significantly, and there are also robo-advisers to consider.
With a six-figure portfolio, paying $5 to $10 to buy stocks or exchange-traded funds is nothing to complain about. But for a young investor with a small portfolio, these costs are prohibitive. Biweekly purchases of a balanced ETF (more on these in a moment) at $9.95 per trade works out to an annualized fee of 1.7 per cent on a $15,000 account. For context, the bonds or bond funds in a portfolio might yield about 1 per cent these days.
Further costs for young investors might include annual administration fees of $100 or more for registered retirement savings plan accounts or $100 in account maintenance fees per year (often charged on a $25 per quarter basis).
Special deals for young investors are available at several online brokers, but they’re not well-publicized and thus easy to miss out on. Some examples:
- For students, CIBC Investor’s Edge reduces its regular flat $6.95 commission for trading stocks and ETFs to $5.95 and waives the $100 annual fee on registered and non-registered accounts.
- For investors 30 and younger, National Bank Direct Brokerage provides 10 free trades a year and then lowers its regular price of $9.95 per trade to $4.95; also, account admin fees are waived.
- For investors aged 18 to 30, Qtrade Investor offers a flat commission of $7.75, down from the usual $8.75, as well as waiving quarterly admin fees.
- For clients 25 and younger, Scotia iTrade will waive the $100 annual admin fee on RRSPs and the $100 per year maintenance fees on small non-registered accounts.
- The Kick Start Investment Program at Virtual Brokers allows an investor to buy (or add to) up to five ETFs each and every month, for no commission. Normally, the cost is $50 a year for this service, unless you’re a student or have graduated within the past two years.
Do-it-yourself investing happens to make great sense for young investors. Investment advisers are notoriously uninterested in young clients for the most part, unless they happen to be the kids of rich clients. Also, the needs of young investors may be too small-scale to justify the fees advisers charge.
Bank mutual funds are an easy way to get started investing, and they’re friendly to rookie investors because they can be bought at no cost. On the negative side, bank mutual funds too often combine lacklustre returns and hefty fees.
The ideal product for young investors? Consider the balanced ETF, with fees as low as 0.2 per cent (mutual fund management expense ratios are typically in the 2-per-cent-plus range).
Balanced ETFs hold underlying funds that produce blends of stocks and bonds suitable for conservative, middle-of-the-road and aggressive investors. A twentysomething could easily choose an aggressive approach, with the understanding that there will be rotten years on the way to good long-term results. Long term, by the way, means 10 years or more.
The Wealthsimple Trade app is a zero-commission way to buy and sell balanced ETFs, as well as other ETFs and stocks. The lack of commission costs invites frequent stock trading that eventually does more damage than good, but a disciplined investor could use it to stuff money into balanced ETFs on a regular basis.
TD GoalAssist, from Toronto-Dominion Bank, is another app for mobile devices that offers a cost-effective way for young people to invest. Pick one of TD’s own balanced ETFs and contribute money whenever you like with no commissions to pay. GoalAssist also lets you set investing goals and track how you’re progressing.
Robo-advisers are another way for young adults to get help in building diversified ETF portfolios. For a fee starting at roughly 0.5 per cent, a robo-adviser will assess your needs with an online questionnaire and then suggest a diversified grouping of ETFs. Investing is a simple matter of electronically transferring money to your robo-adviser, which then contributes it proportionally to the ETFs in your portfolio.
Robo-advisers typically have lower fees for larger accounts, but a young investor still gets a fair deal.
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Enforcement Notice – Decision – IIROC Sanctions Montréal Investment Advisor Naghmeh Sabet – Canada NewsWire
MONTRÉAL, Jan. 22, 2021 /CNW/ – On January 19, 2021, a Hearing Panel of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) accepted a Settlement Agreement, with sanctions, between IIROC staff and Naghmeh Sabet.
Mrs. Sabet admitted that she recommended the purchase and holding of securities that were unsuitable for a client, pursuant to this client’s investment objectives, and that she engaged in personal financial dealings with a client by accepting the offer of a short-term loan by the client for an imminent real estate transaction.
Specifically, Mrs. Sabet admitted to the following violations:
(a) In March and April 2016, the Respondent recommended the purchase and holding of securities that were unsuitable for a client, pursuant to this client’s investment objectives, thus contravening IIROC Dealer Member Rule 1300.1(q);
(b) In December 2015, the Respondent engaged in personal financial dealings with a client by accepting the offer of a short-term loan proposed by the client for an imminent real estate transaction, thus contravening IIROC Dealer Member Rule 43.
Mrs. Sabet agreed to the following penalties:
a) An aggregate fine in the amount of $25,000, as follows:
- a $10,000 fine for Count 1;
- a $15,000 fine for Count 2.
b) The obligation to pass the Conduct and Practices Handbook Course exam, within sixty (60) days following acceptance of this Settlement Agreement by the Hearing Panel.
c) Costs in the amount of $2,000 payable to IIROC.
The Settlement Agreement is available at:
IIROC formally initiated the investigation into Mrs. Sabet’s conduct in August 2017. The alleged contraventions occurred while Mrs. Sabet was a registered representative with the Montréal branch of Scotia Capital Inc., an IIROC-regulated firm. Mrs. Sabet is still employed with Scotia Capital Inc.
Documents related to ongoing IIROC enforcement proceedings – including Reasons and Decisions of Hearing Panels – are posted on the IIROC website as they become available. Click here to search and access all IIROC enforcement documents.
* * *
IIROC is the pan-Canadian self-regulatory organization that oversees all investment dealers and their trading activity in Canada’s debt and equity markets. IIROC sets high quality regulatory and investment industry standards, protects investors and strengthens market integrity while supporting healthy Canadian capital markets. IIROC carries out its regulatory responsibilities through setting and enforcing rules regarding the proficiency, business and financial conduct of 175 Canadian investment dealer firms of varying sizes and business models, and their more than 30,000 registered employees. IIROC also sets and enforces market integrity rules regarding trading activity on Canadian debt and equity marketplaces.
IIROC investigates possible misconduct by its member firms and/or individual registrants. It can bring disciplinary proceedings which may result in penalties including fines, suspensions, permanent bars, expulsion from membership, or termination of rights and privileges for individuals and firms.
All information about disciplinary proceedings relating to current and former member firms is available in the Enforcement section of the IIROC website. Background information regarding the qualifications and disciplinary history, if any, of advisors currently employed by IIROC-regulated firms is available free of charge through the IIROC AdvisorReport service. Information on how to make investment dealer, advisor or marketplace-related complaints is available by calling 1 877 442-4322.
SOURCE Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) – General News
For further information: Enforcement Contact: Claudyne Bienvenu, Vice-President, Québec and Atlantic, 514 878-2854, [email protected]; Media Contact: Andrea Zviedris, Manager, Media Relations, 416 943-6906, [email protected]
European start-ups are attracting record levels of investment – Innovation Origins
Investments in European start-ups rose to record levels during the final three months of 2020. In the fourth quarter of last year, a total of US$14.3 billion was invested in European start-ups. This was revealed in a report brought out by KPMG.
Seventy percent growth
This figure corresponds to an increase of seventy per cent compared to the last three months of 2019. It also marks the highest quarterly increase in 2020, although the other three have also fared extremely well. Total investment in European start-ups reached US$49 billion last year, that was US$7 billion less in 2019.
However, emerging start-ups and even companies that are already generating a certain amount of turnover are struggling to raise funding.”
Karina Kuperus, KPMG
The figures highlight a number of developments. While investments were up, the number of deals made fell sharply, from around 7,500 in 2019 to just over 6,000 in 2020. “Investors have focused on technology-driven solutions and on start-ups that are highly capable of responding to the changing needs of employees and customers. This means that early-stage start-ups and even companies that are already generating some revenue experience great difficulties in securing funding,” says Karina Kuperus, a partner in KPMG’s Emerging Giants advisory group.
Late-stage start-ups are most in demand
Financiers have been particularly interested in late-stage start-ups that have a proven business model. In a number of sectors, including fintech, logistics technology and educational technology, this has led to consistently higher valuations. In general, technology, healthcare and biotechnology are popular with investors.
There is no shortage of funds. Due to the availability of a lot of ‘unused money’ among investors ( as a result of low interest rates, among other factors), there is a lot of competition. Although this is mainly concentrated on promising start-ups in their later stages. For example, during the last three months of 2020, a number of companies managed to attract more than US$100 million, including Germany’s ATAI Life Sciences (US$125 million).
Investments are also set to increase in 2021
Globally, there has also been an appetite for funding start-ups. KPMG tallies a total of US$300 billion that has been invested in start-ups around the world. That is US$18 billion more than in 2019. The tendency towards a decline in the number of deals also applies beyond Europe’s borders. By the way, the United States accounted for more than half of all global investments last year.
The volume of investments is unlikely to drop in 2021. “The pandemic has also revealed the pressing need to modernise key aspects of the existing healthcare system and to harness new technologies, such as artificial intelligence in the development of new medicines,” Kuperus stated.
More information can be found in the latest version of Venture Pulse, KPMG’s report on their research into global investments in start-ups.
Atomico, another European tech investment company, also recently came to a similar conclusion.
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