July 13, 2021

Outlook for stocks dim but gold may shine: survey

Canada's investment managers are getting antsy about stock market returns, according to the latest quarterly survey from BetaPro Management.

Rather than anticipating some relief after the most recent slide, those people entrusted to make decisions about your money are growing increasingly discouraged as to whether they can make any headway in the coming months.

The June survey polled nearly 200 advisors, who collectively oversee an estimated $20 billion in client assets, on their outlook for various asset classes.

Those claiming to be "bullish" about the S&P/TSX 60 fell to 39 per cent in this latest go-around, down from 58% three months ago. Those considering themselves to be "bearish" on the Canadian market rose to 45% from 30%.

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June 30, 2021

Just how safe is your money?

The Taiwanese government is debating whether or not to renew its deposit guarantee scheme after the recently instituted protection expires at the end of the year. Could the same thing happen here?

Highly unlikely. In fact, the coverage offered in Canada on 'safe' investments is really the gold standard around the world.

The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) is a federal Crown corporation that insures Canadians’ savings in case their bank or other CDIC member institution fails or goes bankrupt.

CDIC, however, isn’t itself a bank nor is it a private insurance company. Premiums from member firms finance the fund, backed up by available monies from the federal government.

Right now, the maximum CDIC protection for eligible deposits in Canada is $100,000 per person (prior to 2005, it was just $60,000 however).

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March 11, 2022

New scam targets Madoff victims

As if the poor folks ruined by convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff don’t have enough problems, a new phishing scam is hoping they’ll bite one more time.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is alerting investors about a phony web site that falsely claims to have recovered $1.3 billion in funds hidden by Madoff in Malaysia.

The site claims to be home to the non-existent "International Security Investor Protection Corporation" and bears a convincing likeness to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation's (the entity formed by the U.S. Congress to assist customers of insolvent brokerage firms) own web site, mimicking its look, feel, and content.  

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February 12, 2022

Will this Olympic index deliver gold?

The eyes of the world will turn to Vancouver tonight to see who comes home with the gold.

But long before the top athletes hit the podium, it looks like the major sponsors of the Games are already coming out way ahead of the pack.

If you’d like to join them, keep an eye on the Dow Jones Summer/Winter Games Index, a collection of publicly traded partners, sponsors and suppliers of the Vancouver Games. 

While the event may be global, the current index is anything but. Having dropped the Chinese names that drove it leading up to the Beijing Games, the index is now heavily tilted towards North America, with roughly 60 per cent allocated to the U.S and 30 per cent to Canada. 

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December 21, 2021

A few outrageous predictions for 2010

Among other things, the price of gold is about to drop off the map, says Denmark’s Saxo Bank.

The Copenhagen-based online bank’s 10 economic predictions for 2010 form an annual what-if exercise that purports to predict rare but high impact 'black swan' events beyond the realm of normal market expectations.

Previous predictions have included Ron Paul being elected US president and crude oil prices crashing to $25 per barrel … and you know how those babies worked out.

High on its list for 2010 is the fact that the US Social Security Trust Fund will go bust.

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November 16, 2021

Thinking of switching financial advisors?

Time was, disappointed clients were reluctant to fire their advisors, preferring the devil they knew.

But that’s beginning to change in the wake of deep financial losses and so many “wow, who knew?” scandals.

That’s why, unless you can afford to lose thousands of dollars each year, you need to know how your advisor stacks up, says Warren MacKenzie, whose firm, Weigh House Investor Services, helps investors with unbiased assessments of their portfolios and the advisors that built them.

For a fee, of course. 

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June 12, 2021

Are stocks a losing proposition?

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Retired neurologist William Bernstein has pursued his hobby of statistics and portfolio theory with such passion that he first created an online publication, The Efficient Frontier, and then wrote two popular investment books The Intelligent Asset Allocator and The Four Pillars of Investing.

His latest message to investors who feel betrayed by the devastation of wealth they’ve witnessed over the 18 months: You’re right, it’s not just you, most stocks do actually lose money over time.

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May 19, 2021

Recovery or bear market rally?

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

While Canada took the day off, U.S. stocks rallied yesterday. The S&P 500 jumped 3% after positive news about the U.S. housing market, including an upbeat profit forecast from home-improvement giant Lowes.

Great news ... but investors are still divided as to whether the recent rise in global stock markets is the beginning of a sustained bull market, or just a bear market rally – meaning that these gains could be short-lived.

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May 13, 2021

Are you really a good investor?

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Although you don’t see him as often now, Knight Kiplinger was often a no-nonsense guest on Wall Street Week, CNN and CNBC. Now editor of the Kiplinger Letter, the longest continually published business newsletter in the United States, he recently published an Investor Manifesto that goes a bit further than the usual “buy low, sell high” advice.

As credos go, you could do a lot worse. 

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March 23, 2021

Creating the ideal retirement portfolio

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Sadly, many people have found out too late that stocks are suitable only for money that they won't need for several years. No one knows the ideal time horizon for holding stocks but you can be certain that it's extremely risky for money that you think you'll need in a year or two.

And if you didn’t know this before, 2008’s meltdown brought it home with a vengeance.

Older investors, in particular, need to be wary of market downturns as they enter what York University prof Moshe Milevsky has labelled the "retirement risk zone" — namely, the period just before or after they leave work.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...