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Split the EAFE for better returns?

By Justin Bender · July 11, 2016 - 0 comments

The MSCI EAFE Index is arguably the most popular international index on the block. Many active fund managers’ returns are benchmarked to this index (and the majority of them fail to outperform it). Couch potato investors also tend to allocate a portion of their portfolios to ETFs that track the MSCI EAFE or a similar index.If we pop the hood on the MSCI EAFE Index, we can see that it curr...

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Perfecting the Perfect Portfolio (Part II)

By Justin Bender · June 30, 2016 - 0 comments

In my last blog post, I showed Couch Potato investors how they could reduce the foreign withholding tax drag in their RRSP accounts by holding US-listed ETFs. I’ll admit that the proposed ETF changes required investors to roll up their sleeves a bit, but the cost savings could not be ignored. But what if an investor wanted to implement the Couch Potato portfolio in a taxable account &ndas...

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Perfecting the Perfect Portfolio

By Justin Bender · June 20, 2016 - 0 comments

The Couch Potato portfolio has it all – low fees, broad-diversification, and simplicity.  There’s not a whole lot of room for improvement, but with a few tweaks, investors can lower their costs even further.One such improvement can help mitigate the drag from foreign withholding taxes levied on dividends paid from US and other international companies.  If we look at the Co...

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Ask Bender: Diversification of iShares ETFs vs. Vanguard ETFs

By Justin Bender · June 13, 2016 - 8 comments

Q:  “Why do some people still use XEF/XEC vs. VIU/VEE, since both VIU and VEE are more diversified?”As new ETFs are released, it’s natural for index investors to succumb to what I like to call “ETF envy”.  I often witness it when an ETF provider lowers their fees below that of their competitors’ – this is usually met with investor excitement a...

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Foreign Withholding Taxes in International Equity ETFs (Revisited)

By Justin Bender · June 2, 2016 - 2 comments

In August 2014, BlackRock Canada announced that they were changing the investment strategy of the iShares Core MSCI EAFE IMI Index ETF (XEF) in order to reduce the overall amount of foreign withholding tax levied on the fund.  XEF would no longer gain its international stock exposure by holding the iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (IEFA) (a US-listed ETF) – it would instead hold the underl...

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