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February 2016

PWL is Celebrating: 20th Anniversary in 2016

By: Anthony s. Layton / Cameron passmore / Brenda Bartlett / James Parkyn

 IN 2016, PWL CAPITAL WILL CELEBRATE ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY. AS WE ENTER OUR THIRD DECADE, WE’VE REACHED AN IMPORTANT STAGE IN OUR EVOLUTION. Although we’re welcoming new clients every week, we’re hardly the plucky start-up we were back in 1996. Having weathered everything the markets have thrown at us since then, we’re confident that our disciplined, long-term a...

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A CRM2 Update: Powerful Performance Reporting

By: Nancy Graham

In our July 2015 PWL Perspective, Cameron Passmore and James Parkyn described the continued implementation of the Client Relationship Model, Phase 2 (CRM2). Since then, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) extended portions of the requirements to December 2016; we hope this will be the last extension before increased disclosures become the law of the land.

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A Tax Break for Retirees

By: Dan Bortolotti / Shannon Dalziel / Justin Bender

 THE NEW YEAR TRADITIONALLY MARKS THE START OF RRSP SEASON IN THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY, AS CANADIANS ARE ENCOURAGED TO MAKE THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS BEFORE THE DEADLINE. This year the deadline is February 29, after which your contributions cannot be deducted for 2015. If you’re no longer socking away money for retirement you might be tuning out the chatter about RRSP season. But change...

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Maximizing Income for Retirement

By: Graham Westmacott / Susan Daley

 WE SAVE DURING OUR WORKING YEARS TO SPEND IN RETIREMENT. DEMOGRAPHIC AND MARKET CHANGES ARE MAKING THIS MORE OF A CHALLENGE. A 65 YEAR OLD CANADIAN IS LIVING 40% LONGER TODAY THAN A 65 YEAR OLD IN THE 1970’S AND FUTURE INVESTMENT RETURNS ARE EXPECTED TO BE LOWER THAN HISTORICAL AVERAGES BY ABOUT 40%1. THIS MEANS THAT A RETIREE WHO WANTS TO HAVE THE SAME LIFETIME INCOME AS THEIR COLL...

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Playing the Long Game

By: Peter Guay

 AFTER YEARS OF SOLID MARKET GROWTH, THE MANY UPS AND DOWNS OF 2015 CHALLENGED US ALL TO TUNE OUT THE DAILY NOISE AND TRUST OUR INVESTMENT PLANS. When markets dip, it’s human nature to second-guess your investment decisions.  People naturally wonder whether it would be better to hold their money in cash rather than risk losing it in a volatile market.  At times like th...

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What if investing right before a market crash isn’t that bad?

By: Benjamin Felix

 SITTING ON THE SIDELINES IN FEAR OF A MARKET CRASH IS COMMON BEHAVIOUR; EVEN PROFESSIONAL FUND MANAGERS CAN BE SEEN HOLDING HUGE AMOUNTS OF CASH IN AN ATTEMPT TO AVOID SHARP MARKET DECLINES AND KEEP THEIR INVESTORS HAPPY. BUT WHAT IF INVESTING BEFORE A CRASH ISN’T REALLY THAT BAD, AND NOT INVESTING AT ALL IS WORSE?Of course, preference would be given to avoiding all market declines ...

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PWL Capital Loses a Dear Colleague and Friend

 This year, on September 21, 2015 we lost our dear colleague and friend, Kathleen Clough. Kathy joined the PWL Capital team in 2003, and headed the Toronto branch with a successful career as both a Financial Planner and Portfolio Manager. Kathy ensured the Toronto office ran smoothly, with good humor and openness to new ideas and inspiration. Kathy was adored and trusted by her c...

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New Additions

Jules Boucher  Born August 13, 2015 Proud parents: Ugo Boucher & Karine St-Amour, PWL's Chief Financial Officer Noah Benjamin Felix  Born Octobre 21, 2015 Proud parents: Liam Sullivan & Rebecca Solyom, Executive Assistant & Communications (layton-guay team)  

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Congratulations to Shannon Dalziel

 It’s been an eventful year for Shannon Dalziel in PWL’s Toronto office. Shannon, who joined us in 2011, has since then completed the final requirements to earn her Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. She was featured in Wealth Professional magazine’s Young Guns 2015 issue, which recognized the country’s top advisors under the age of 40. Shannon also rais...

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PWL is advancing the industry

In Waterloo, PWL Capital’s Graham Westmacott and Susan Daley are advancing the industry by sharing their thought leadership through a Continuing Education course they are giving on retirement portfolios. Successful completion of this course will earn participants 3 credits from IIROC, 3 from FPSC, and 2 from The Institute.

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PWL is Growing. Welcome to our New Team Members

At PWL’s Ottawa office, we welcome Matthew Gour to the Passmore team. He will be working closely with Max Lane on the cash management of client portfolios, meet client requests and ensure a seamless investment process. Matt is a finance graduate of Carleton University with over 2 years of experience in financial services. He is looking forward to helping clients achieve their financial go...

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Ottawa’s 580 CFRA “Experts on Call”

 “Experts on Call” In Ottawa, 580 CFRA’s “Experts on Call!” audience gets to ask questions to various experts and professionals about their services. Who better to explain the benefits of our services than the people who provide them. In 2015, Cameron Passmore, Nancy Graham and Benjamin Felix have been recurring guests answering callers’ questions f...

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July 2015

CRM2: Shining a Light on Cost and Performance

By: Cameron Passmore / James Parkyn

  UPCOMING CHANGES IN THE INVESTMENT INDUSTRY WILL MAKE IT HARDER FOR ADVISORS TO HIDE HIGH FEES AND GLOSS OVER POOR RETURNS. SEVERAL YEARS AGO, REGULATORS ANNOUNCED A SERIES OF NEW RULES REQUIRING MORE DISCLOSURE AROUND COSTS AND INVESTMENT PERFORMANCE. THE SO-CALLED CLIENT RELATIONSHIP MODEL, PHASE 2 (OR CRM2), IS BEING IMPLEMENTED GRADUALLY, WITH MORE CHANGES COMING THIS SUMMER....

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The Power of Simple

By: Dan Bortolotti / Shannon Dalziel / Justin Bender

  The investment industry has long tried to add value by hand-picking winning stocks and funds, or by moving money among asset classes in an effort to outsmart the market. Problem is, decades of research show that this is extremely difficult after accounting for costs. That’s why most investors are better off simply accepting market returns. But that doesn’t mean skilled...

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#1 Rule for DIY Investors

By: Peter Guay

  With any Do-It-Yourself project, it is important to know when to call in a professional. I have met a handful of potential clients who are well suited to manage their own portfolio. They are agile with numbers and have the time and discipline to rebalance their portfolio regularly. However, as savings accumulate, the cost of DIY investing eventually becomes higher than that of hir...

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2015 Budget Provides Benefits for Investors and Retirees

By: Max Lane

  The strategic use of tax-advantaged accounts plays an important role in optimizing the long-term savings of Canadians. the 2015 federal budget has updated rules for some of these accounts with the intention of benefitting investors and retirees.  The most notable changes were an increase in the annual TFSA contribution limit and a decrease in the mandatory minimum RRIF payment ...

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Message in a Bottle

By: Graham Westmacott

  Reflecting on the investment performance of art & collectibles Last year, PWL’s Waterloo office supported a series of lectures at the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery on collecting contemporary clay and glass artwork. Gallery owners and collectors spoke of the many pleasures of supporting artists and owning some unique objects, but it is fair to ask whether owning art (...

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The Terrible Truth about Dividend Funds

By: Raymond Kerzérho

  The SPIVA Scorecard published annually by Standard and Poor’s documents the performance of active equity mutual funds relative to market indices.  Every year, the report unfailingly delivers the same conclusion: over five years, the vast majority of active funds underperform. Of particular interest among the various fund categories for 2014 were the results for Canadian...

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NBCN My Portfolio+

By: Laura Spencer

 The NBCN My Portfolio+ Service has been available for almost a year now. This article shares a few tips and hints that might make the online experience easier. Once your account is activated:Delivery preferences  Accounts tab, Electronic Documents, Delivery PreferencesChoose your preferences for:  Trade confirmation  Portfolio statement   Tax slipYou can choose a...

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Sunnybrook Fundraising Event

Kathy and Frank together with the PWL gang.Our wonderful colleague, Kathleen Clough, hosted a highly successful 65th birthday and fundraising event on May 21, raising $50,000 for the Sunnybrook Foundation. There were 68 friends, family, clients and PWL colleagues who joined her in Toronto at the renowned restaurant North 44 for the celebration. Kathy would like to extend her heartfelt than...

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CONGRATULATIONS TO Dan Bortolotti

Dan recently won the TSX Private Markets Award for Outstanding Internet Presence at the WP Awards Ceremony. He also won silver at the National Magazine Awards in the Service: Family, Health & Personal Finance category.

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Dan Solin in Waterloo

New York Times bestselling author and investor advocate, Dan Solin, spoke to a Waterloo audience about why U.S. investors are increasingly using the same investment philosophy espoused by PWL and how to avoid common investing mistakes. A video interview of Dan by Susan Daley at PWL’s Waterloo Office is in preparation.

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PWL OTTAWA IS Busy

Leonard Mlodinow, an American physicist, screenwriter and New York Times bestselling author was a keynote speaker for PWL Ottawa’s sold-out guest event. Leonard focused on psychological barriers and barriers arising from misguided intuition about probabilities and chance. He also explained how an understanding of randomness reveals a tremendous amount about our daily lives, our investment...

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February 2015

The Next Gen

By: Brenda Bartlett / Anthony S. Layton

In our last newsletter in July we announced that we were closing in on $1 billion in assets under management. We’re pleased to report we reached that milestone in November, thanks to strong markets and a steady stream of new clients who are discovering our investment philosophy and our commitment to personal service.We’re proud of our growth, but we’re staying true to our root...

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How We Handle Stock Market Corrections

By: Dan Bortolotti / Shannon Dalziel / Justin Bender

During the last couple of years it was easy to forget that stock markets can actually go down. But we got a wake-up call in late summer: o​n the heels of a long upward trend, the Canadian market plummeted more than 10% between Labour Day and mid-October, marking the first correction we’d seen since 2011.Whenever markets hit a rough patch, the media is abuzz with suggestions on how investo...

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Financial Planning of an Employment Termination

By: Anik Bougie

Recent government statistics show that employees aged 25 to 54 work an average of 38.6 hours a week. Extrapolating this statistic over an entire life, this means that until retirement at age 65, the average Canadian will work about 87,000 hours.Considering the importance of work in our lives, it’s normal that an employment termination raises a lot of questions. Whether it’s due to r...

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Focusing on What We Can Control

By: Benjamin Felix

2014 capped off a six-year-long bull market that could make anyone look like a star investment manager, but PWL’s value goes far beyond capturing investment returns.We work for our clients. To avoid the common conflicts of interest present in the financial services industry, we are paid directly by you for the unbiased advice that we give. Our sole motivation is providing the excellent ad...

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Looking beyond Our Borders

By: Peter Guay

If you spent time around the punchbowl with family and friends during the holidays, you may have heard a conversation that went like this: As Canadians, we’re naturally exposed to news from the home front, and our stock market did have a difficult autumn. Oil and gas stocks have had it particularly rough lately, and who doesn’t own a few blue-chip energy stocks? Canadians, on a...

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Serving Young Professionals, Translating Human Capital into Financial Wealth

By: Susan Daley

Student debt, employer pension plans, RRSPs, TFSAs, mortgages, travel. These are just some of the things vying for young people’s money. With little experience and insufficient formal education on finances, it can be confusing and overwhelming. Just because young professionals don’t have many assets, this doesn’t mean they don’t deserve quality advice. They have an ...

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Permanent life insurance as an estate planning tool

By: Peter Harrison

Most people buy life insurance to reduce the risk of financial hardship if a loved one were to die prematurely. A simple term life policy is often enough for this purpose, and the affordability of the premiums makes it a popular choice. But term life insurance is temporary, and the cost rises significantly with every renewal. Sometimes a permanent life insurance policy is more appropriate.Perma...

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Kathleen Clough retiring

After a dozen years with PWL’s Toronto team, portfolio manager Kathy Clough has announced her retirement in 2015. Kathy was a founder of the Toronto office back in 2003 and earned a reputation for superior client service, particularly in the areas of financial planning, estate planning and taxes. Kathy’s clients are already in good hands with the Toronto team of Justin Bender, ...

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Jennifer Vachon joins PWL

In August 2014, Jennifer Vachon joined PWL Capital as Senior Director of Operations and Compliance. Jennifer plays a vital role in the company’s day-to-day operations, monitoring all of the firm’s investment-based activities. She ensures that all policies and procedures are followed so PWL operates with the strongest oversight and compliance practices. Jennifer’s knowledge, in...

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Cameron Passmore runs the NYC marathon!

We’ve always said our advisors are focused on the long run. Our very own Cameron Passmore took that literally when he completed the New York City Marathon on November 2, 2014. The New York Marathon is the largest in the world, with more than 53,000 participants from over 100 countries.Cameron’s day started at 5:30 a.m. as he made his way to the starting line on the Verrazano-Narrows...

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New Additions

Theodore Robson Guay Born September 28, 2014Proud parents: Kelly Moore andPeter Guay, PWL Portfolio Manager (Layton-Guay Team) Noah Benjamin Felix Born December 10, 2014Proud parents: Susan andBenjamin Felix, PWL Investment Advisor (Passmore Team) 

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July 2014

We’re Growing With You

By: Brenda Bartlett

PWL has a new look—and a new outlook on the futureOver the past five years, PWL’s growth has been consistently strong, but the last 12 months have been exceptional with total assets increased by 40%. We may even break through $1 billion in assets under management this year! This is all thanks to you. Being in a strong business position allows us to build our client service teams, ad...

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Introducing a New Look and Mobile-friendly Website for PWL

By: Maggie Alongi

PWL’s Brand evolutionSince PWL’s inception in 1996, our brand or visual “personality” has evolved with the company’s growth. While our core business hasn’t changed, our positioning has evolved. Today, we want clients to know PWL has very clear, yet focused goals for your money. As a result, we are excited to unveil our updated logo and tagline as part of our ...

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Your Right to an Advisor Who Acts in Your Best Interests

By: Anthony S. Layton

What may surprise many investment services clients across Canada is that their advisors are under no legal obligation to act in their best interests. That’s right, they have no fiduciary duty to protect you. We think that’s wrong.The refusal of Canadian regulators and the investment industry to address the fiduciary duty issue is unfortunate since investors are increasingly concerne...

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Replacing Financial Vendors with Financial Advocates

By: Nancy Graham

As soon as we’re in charge of the financial industry, things are going to be different. We’ll start with an overhaul of how investors are served by their brokers – or, more accurately, how they are disserved when sales-driven conflicts of interest take away from what we believe should be a professional advisor’s true calling: advocating for investors’ best interest...

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Know What You Can and Cannot Control

By: James Parkyn

Research shows clearly that certain behaviours can either trip-up an investor or save an investor from critical and costly mistakes. These are simple rules, but not necessarily easy to follow. And, that’s where your PWL Capital advisor can help.After many years of advising clients on investments, I can confidently state there are certain factors you can control and others you cannot. Inve...

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Investment Industry’s Latest Disclosure Rules Already in Place at PWL Capital

New client disclosure rules from the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) on certain types of advisory fees will take effec t July 15, 2014.In Phase 2 of IIROC’s Client Relationship Model (CRM) initiative, part of a three-year reform of client disclosure practices, member firms will now be required to disclose:ALREADY IN PLACE - All fees and charges associated wit...

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Sharing Our Knowledge

By: Dan Bortolotti

We want clients and the public to have a deeper understanding of what we do. Our ongoing series of white papers is designed to help investors stay informed and make better decisions.We believe informed investors are the best clients. That’s why we regularly create white papers on a variety of topics and make them available to clients and the larger community. Each paper includes detailed ...

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Shaping Young Minds for a Fitter Financial Future

PWL Capital believes giving back to the community in a meaningful way is an important part of running a business. To that end, two of our investment advisors have been participating in Junior Achievement programs teaching youngsters the basic (and not so basic) concepts of business, economics and financial literacy.Options. Derivatives. Futures. Believe it or not, these are just some of the top...

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Guest Speaker Apollo D. Lupescu

In May, clients and guests of PWL Capital’s Montreal & Ottawa offices were each asked to estimate how many jelly beans were in the jar displayed on the table. As an example from one of our events, we received answers ranging from 300 to 12,647, the average response in the room was 1,669 — just shy of the correct answer of 1,670.All this went to prove the point of PWL’s spe...

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February 2014

Higher Standards, Unbiased Objectivity, Greater Trust

By: Anthony S. Layton

Why do some wealth management firms prosper in good and difficult times, while others seem to stagnate or struggle? At PWL Capital, we believe it boils down to doing what’s right for our clients every day.At this time of year, it’s customary to pause and gather some perspective on what’s working well and what needs improvement. As I look back over the last 17 years of PWL Capi...

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Fama Wins Nobel Prize in Economics

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Eugene F. Fama on his recent award of the 2013 Nobel Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences. The University of Chicago professor shares the prize with fellow economists Robert J. Shiller and Lars Peter Hansen, each of whom has developed theories explaining how markets work and asset prices are set.Fama’s work, particul...

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Our Evolving Investment Lexicon

By: James Parkyn

Sometimes, we need to change our terminology to shake up our way of thinking about investing. Along that vein, we want to bring some clarity to what sets PWL Capital apart, and toss out the industry’s much over-used references to passive vs. active investing.As a PWL Capital client, you’ve heard us refer many times to our adherence to a science-based “passive” model of i...

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Our World View

By: Dan Bortolotti

Three short years ago, it was hard to find Canadian investors who were excited about global diversification. That was understandable: Canada outperformed both the U.S. and international developed markets in seven of the 10 years from 2001 through 2010. During that period, global investing seemed not only unnecessary, but even a bit foolish.How the climate has changed. Over the three years endin...

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Client Service… Going Beyond Your Investment Portfolio

It’s no secret the use of low-cost, globally-diversified portfolios that are grounded in academic research are among the biggest attractions for our clients. The PWL Capital client experience, though, goes far beyond just our approach to investing. As new members of the PWL Capital team based in Ottawa, we immediately recognized the many extended benefits for PWL’s clients beyo...

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Setting our Standards in Financial Planning

By: Kathleen Clough

Portfolio Manager Kathleen Clough is embarking on a new phase in her 30-year career as PWL’s new leader of the broad financial planning services (PWL Advisors). As she transitions her existing investment client base to Toronto team members, Kathy will be working with Advisors from every office to establish PWL standards, processes and delivery of financial planning services &nbs...

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Larry Swedroe Returns

One of PWL Capital’s most popular guest speakers, Larry Swedroe, author of Wise Investing Made Simple, once again entertained and informed clients at events in Ottawa and Montreal. This was his third time speaking to our clients and, based on our survey during the event, it was his best presentation yet! A fan of his practical insights, PWL Capital has recently collaborated with...

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PWL is Growing. Welcome to our New Team Members

Waterloo: With a BBA from Wilfrid Laurier University (minoring in financial mathematics), Investment Advisor Susan Daley joined us at the start of 2013, and has spent the year leading development of PWL Capital’s DIY Investor Service in Waterloo. She is also working closely with the young client demographic in the community’s technology sector, and is on-track to comp...

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New Additions

You might call them our best dividends of 2013. This year, three of our PWL Capital colleagues welcomed new additions to their families in April, November and December. Congratulations to all! Lambert Boucher Born April 20, 2013Proud parents: Charles Ugo Boucher & Karine St. Amour, PWL Controller and Director of FinanceMaxime Auger Born November 29, 2013Proud parents: Mathieu...

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July 2013

Investing for the long run

By: James Parkyn

What is a safe asset class? What’s risky? In the last few years, perceptions and reality have changed dramatically.The typical Canadian investor has a home market bias — that is, a large Canadian equity component and Canadian bond holding in their portfolios. PWL portfolios by contrast to our competitors are engineered to be globally diversified.More to the point, a globally diversi...

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Welcome Dan Bortolotti

By: Kathleen Clough

In January, we welcomed Dan Bortolotti as a Financial Planning Consultant with PWL Advisors.Dan, aka the Canadian Couch Potato, is a journalist who has written about personal finance for many Canadian magazines, including MoneySense, Canadian MoneySaver and Financial Post. He is an independent investor advocate and a strong proponent of investor education, using his blog to educate his readers....

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RRSP, TFSA, Debt… Where Do I Invest My Money?

By: Graham Westmacott

The eternal question for many Canadian investors is: “Where should my next investment dollar go?” Typical options include an RRSP, TFSA, mortgage or line of credit. While individual circumstances will vary, a simple model can illuminate some general principles.In Where Do I Invest My Money?, my recent white paper on PWL Capital’s website, I calculate the final portfolio value ...

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Emerging Markets: Framing the Discussion

By: Nancy Graham

It is common to hear about the benefits of investing globally. This conversation often includes investing in ‘emerging markets’. What is an emerging market and how does it fit into an investment plan?As with all investment decisions, it is a case of taking risk where there is expected return. As a client of PWL, you are familiar with the importance of investing outside Canadian bord...

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Trend to Data-Driven Decision-making in Investing

By: Passmore / Levine

More people are making investment decisions based on cold, hard data as opposed to anecdotal evidence, such as gut feelings or rumours. For an example, look no further than successful technology entrepreneurs, who are almost exclusively data-driven in their approach to investing.At our recent annual PWL Capital client event, Dan Solin, the New York Times best-selling author and Buckingham ...

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Portfolio Construction and Your Fees: A Positive Trend

By: Peter Guay

PWL Capital is always striving to improve its portfolios, and proof of that lies in a recent review I conducted of the underlying fund fees our clients pay versus those paid by the majority of Canadian investors.First, let me provide some context. A recent Morningstar Global Investor Experience Report looked at the investment and mutual fund industry in 22 countries. This report ranks each coun...

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Think, Act and Invest Like Warren Buffett

Canadian version now available!PWL Capital was recently honoured to collaborate with noted U.S. financial author Larry E. Swedroe to create a Canadian version of his highly rated book, Think, Act, and Invest Like Warren Buffett. In addition to being one of our most popular speakers at recent client events, Larry is a principal and Director of Research for the BAM Alliance, and the author of 12 ...

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Investment Guru Dan Solin

Annual Client EventPWL Capital was proud to present Dan Solin, the New York Times best-selling author of the Smartest series of investing books, as the guest speaker for our annual Ottawa and Montreal client events in May. Dan delivered a hard-hitting message, and didn’t pull any punches in identifying practices in the investment industry that are counterproductive and often work against ...

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Social Responsibility

PWL Capital’s Associated Portfolio Manager Justin Bender took top prize recently in a national competition seeking new ideas for the design of a new exchange traded fund (ETF). His winning entry in the Search for Canada’s Next Top ETF was driven by his own personal interest in funds that offer superior after-tax returns. In fact, he was in the middle of implementing a large client p...

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February 2013

PWL’s Beliefs

By: Anthony S. Layton

When we launched PWL Capital in 1996, we set out to create a new type of financial planning and investment firm — one that stands by its beliefs and principles. I think it’s important for you to understand these beliefs.You may not be aware that when we started PWL Capital, the type of firm we envisioned didn’t exist in the industry — one integrating financial planning a...

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Health Spending Accounts: Little-Known Tax-Saving Secret

By: Cameron Passmore

If you own an incorporated business or are self-employed, a health spending account offers tax-saving opportunities while allowing you to cover 100% of qualifying expenses for employees, owners and family.Known as Personal Health Spending Plans (PHSPs), Health Spending Accounts, or Health and Welfare Trusts, these tax-saving vehicles are little-known among many business owners. Basically, any c...

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What Happens to Your TFSA if You Die?

Many investors in Tax-Free Savings Accounts may not know that earnings accrued in a TFSA after their death will be fully taxable in the hands of estate beneficiaries if no one is designated as a “successor holder.”In the eyes of Canada’s tax authorities, your TFSA is no longer a TFSA when you die unless you take very specific steps to declare it belongs to a sole beneficiary,...

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Sitting on Cash? Could be “Regret Avoidance”

By: Nancy Graham

With news headlines predicting financial gloom around every corner, it is not uncommon for some investors to hold large amounts of cash outside of their investment portfolio — reluctant or even fearful to invest it in the markets. Is this wise?For those of us that follow the science of investing and growing research on investor behaviour, the tendency for some people to sit on cash during...

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“Grey Divorces” Underline Need for Updating Financial Plans

With longer life expectancies and more boomers actively pursuing new interests in their later years, it may come as no surprise the divorce rate among older Canadians is on the rise. What may surprise some, though, is the grey financial outlook ahead for those without a revised investment and retirement plan. *Recent census data from Statistics Canada reveals there has been a 49.7% increase bet...

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Should You Take a Variable Credit Approach to Your Fixed-Income Investing?

By: Justin Bender

With returns from government bonds near record low levels, some fixed-income investors are looking to higher-paying but potentially riskier corporate bonds to make up the shortfall. Is this a smart strategy?Currently, the “credit spread” (the difference between corporate and government bond yields) is around 150 basis points. The strategy of increasing your exposure to corporate bon...

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About PWL

By: Brenda Bartlett

A New Year often brings change and 2013 is no exception at PWL Capital. First, we are pleased to unveil our new website. The new design offers simplified and intuitive navigation, including clearer client access to the secure login portals, PWL Portfolio and TD Statement — all conveniently at the top right corner of every page.The new navigation is all about you and your needs. “You...

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Social Responsibility

Our firm’s members regularly participate in events and causes giving back to our communities. In Toronto, we recently conducted a holiday fundraising campaign for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) through our DIY Portfolio Service. Clients interested in opening an account with a discount brokerage get PWL’s help with paperwork and transfers in return for a donation. ...

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July 2012

Risk Is Not Dangerous

By: James Parkyn

Many people, including clients, are reading the news headlines about
instability in Europe and want their investment dollars as far from the
Eurozone as possible. As a teachable moment, however, this situation
pointedly illustrates the fact that “risk” does not necessarily mean dangerous.

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Reading PWL Market Stats

By: Kathleen Clough

Our monthly Market Statistics report is an invaluable tool in our work with clients. In reviewing marketplace performance over a given period, we can anticipate how a client’s portfolio has performed, in general terms.

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Taxes Are a Drag… Fees More So

By: Graham Westmacott

The typical investment firm likes to talk a lot about pre-tax and pre-fee investment returns, but investors only get to spend what remains after two silent partners — Canada Revenue Agency and investment managers — have taken their substantial (and largely avoidable) share.

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From Our Compliance Corner: New Investment Disclosure Rules Benefiting Investors

By: Michael Simioni

Earlier this year, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) began implementing comprehensive reforms designed to enhance the rules for communications and disclosure between investors and financial advisors — major changes for the industry but, in many respects, have been part of PWL Capital’s operations for years.

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The Pension Plan Bonus for Child-Rearing

By: Passmore / Levine

Some Canadians collecting Canada or Quebec Pension Plan benefits may be missing out on additional payments if they stopped working or received lower earnings while caring for their own children under the age of seven.

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Successful Carl Richards Client Event

PWL Capital was proud to recently present three hugely successful client events with Carl Richards, author of the acclaimed book The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things With Money. We had record attendance in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Carl, a certified financial planner and regular contributor to The New York Times, explained how investors allow an “emotional saboteur&...

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February 2012

In 2012, Focus Long-Term

As we head into another year, allow me to extend our appreciation to all clients for your continued support and patronage. While the past 12 months in the markets were volatile, PWL’s steadfast approach to risk management, portfolio rebalancing and diversification has once again proven its worth.

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Diversify Your Portfolio, Not Your Advisors

Some investors believe that, to have a well-diversified portfolio, they also need to diversify portfolio managers or advisors. Not so. Don’t believe the media hype that multiple advisors can enhance the security and success of your portfolio.

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Asset Location of a PWL Portfolio

By: Justin Bender

While the asset allocation decision (that is, the strategic allocation of your portfolio among broad asset classes) may be one of the biggest considerations in constructing a portfolio, the asset location decision (i.e., the type of account you allocate your assets to) deserves attention as well.

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It’s a Leap Year…

From the tried-and-true Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to the new-kid-on-the-block Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) to the oft-forgotten Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), options for tax advantage savings vehicles have never been more plentiful for Canadians.

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Pop Quiz: Farewell to 2011 - Welcome 2012 Quiz

We decided that quizzes are like portfolios – best kept diverse to maximize return. We could have joined the majority of wealth managers and used this space for a 2012 economic and capital market forecast but there is plenty of evidence that such forecasts are of no value12, as we were unable to find any academic research rejecting the utility of quizzes.

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Teamwork as a Core Value

By: Brenda Bartlett

First, to all of our clients, we extend a sincere thank you for your support and feedback on how we can continuously improve our service. PWL places a premium on delivering exceptional client service — a pledge that extends beyond your advisor team to our operations teams.

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July 2011

Market Volatility: Where Do We Go From Here?

By: James Parkyn

As we mark the third anniversary of the financial market crisis breaking point of September 2008, and although capital markets have recovered, it is important for us to stay tightly focused on the road ahead and be prepared for any renewed market volatility.

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You Spoke, We Listened

By: Brenda Bartlett

Your feedback on the PWL Client survey last year was clear. Based on this, our secure online Web portal and client reports have been greatly improved. The new PWL Web portal features improved access to your investment information and detailed reports of your holdings.

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What Does PWL’s Investment Approach Really Involve?

By: Kathleen Clough

Some may label PWL’s investment approach as “passive”. Does this investment strategy translate into a “lazy” approach to investing? Far from it, as PWL Capital explains what really goes on behind the scenes of its portfolio management strategy.

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Five Investment Characteristics of Large Pension Funds

By: Raymond Kerzérho

A high-level overview of the investment strategies of six of Canada’s largest pension fund managers reveals some surprising data — by and large, they rely heavily on the same investing techniques already employed by PWL portfolio managers within the last decade.

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Will You Outlive Your Retirement Funds?

By: Cameron Passmore

With the realization that many more people are living long, healthy and productive lives, a critical issue for retirees and investment advisors is whether individuals are building sustainable retirement income.

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Retirement Choices: RRIF or Life Annuity?

Many pensioners and retirees are surprised to learn the federal government has rules in place that make Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) an expensive option in retirement. An alternative may be a life annuity.

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Cautions for Executors Executing Wills

By: Caroline Nalbatoglu

Accepting a request to act as the executor or legal representative for someone’s estate who is not your spouse may seem to be a kind gesture or even a compliment, but being appointed to manage the deceased’s assets and obligations can potentially make you personally liable for the payment of their outstanding taxes, interest and penalties.

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OTTAWA – June 20, 2011: Larry Swedroe Client Event

OTTAWA – ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL CLIENT EVENT

June 20, 2011: Larry Swedroe Client Event

PWL Capital was honoured to host a client event recently with noted St. Louis-based financial author Larry Swedroe, whose comments attracted both client and news media attention.

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February 2011

Recommended Reading: What Investors Really Want

By: Graham Westmacott

What Investors Really Want: Know What Drives Investor Behavior and Make Smarter Financial Decisions
By Meir Statman (New York, McGraw Hill, 2010, 304 pp.).

Why is it that the average equity fund investor experienced only 3.17% in annualized returns over the past 20 years, while the S&P 500 annual return was 8.20%? In What Investor’s Really Want, author Meir Statman explains how normal humans deviate from the rational economic person that economists assume us to be, to the detriment of our wealth.

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New TFSA Caveats & Opportunities in 2011

By: Peter Guay

With over $19-billion deposited in the 4.8-million Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) established since 2009, this new savings vehicle is gaining traction as a complement to RRSPs. We predict more Canadians will turn to TFSAs in 2011, however, there are some regulatory changes afoot along with the opportunities.

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Get Peace of Mind with Insured Annuities

By: Nancy Graham

For those approaching or entering their retirement years, recent market activity may be creating extra concern and anxiety over low interest rates, uncertain investment returns or even consumption of retirement capital. An insured annuity may provide some peace of mind and financial security for your family in the years ahead.

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PWL’s Centraide Campaign

We are proud to report on our Montreal office’s tremendous success in raising money for Centraide of Greater Montreal, which funds a network of 360 community agencies.

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PWL Ottawa on the Move

Clients in the Ottawa region, take note. Our Ottawa office is moving up to new quarters as of April 2011. We will remain in the same building, but move up to the 4th floor. Our telephone and email coordinates will remain the same.

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2011 Client Event: Your Thoughts?

We are in the planning stages for our 2011 client event and we want to know who would you like to see as our keynote speaker. From thought leaders to movers and shakers to investment educators, the door is open for your suggestions. Let us know what topic you’d like covered. Have your say, we’d love to hear from you. So, if you have an idea, take a moment to fill out our online surv...

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July 2010

U.S. Financial Reform Update: What it Means for Canadians

By: Cameron Passmore

With one of the strongest financial services sectors in the world, Canadians have been able to watch the recent volatility in the U.S. and other economies at a relatively safe distance. While we may have felt their ripple effects, Canadians largely avoided the trauma of bank failures, scores of corporate bailouts, massive foreclosure rates and decimated investment portfolios.

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Savvy Investment Advice for Women

Boomer women are the first generation to retire with their own financial assets! For women of all ages, it is important to understand that financial planning and investing bring specific challenges.

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Attention Montreal! We’re on the move…

Investing in our own future, PWL’s principals are pleased to announce we will be moving our Montreal office to a new space as of Monday, August 2, 2010.We invite you to visit us at our new location:PWL Capital Inc. Place Alexis Nihon 3400 de Maisonneuve Ouest Suite 1501 Montréal, Québec  H3Z 3B8 Please note:Our telephone numbers stay the same! Tel: 514.875.756...

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PWL Client Events

PWL Client SurveyClients give PWL high ratings!   PWL Industry Benchmark Response Rate 41% 12% to 15% Overall Customer Experience 87% 26%  PWL is listening... We’re analyzing the data and considering your ideas and suggestions to improve our services. Most importantly, know that you have spoken and we are listening...

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Waterloo: PWL Expands with its Newest Branch

The fast-growing city of Waterloo, Ontario is the latest to have PWL Branch representation. The Waterloo region itself is home to literally hundreds of high-tech and other knowledge-based firms, and has an increasingly affluent group of individuals, families, professionals and businesspeople.We are proud to be welcome Graham Westmacott in Waterloo, Investment Advisor and Associate Portfolio Man...

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February 2010

A Strong bond of Trust

As we move into a new year, we’re encouraged by a fresh outlook for the markets.

We can take comfort in the fact that the Canadian economy did not get hit as hard as the US, UK and Europe and has rebounded strongly over the past nine months. While we are seeing positive signs in the global capital markets the other G8 economies are still somewhat fragile and may not have a smooth recovery. We know it’s been a challenging time, and we want you to know how much we appreciate and value your continued support and trust. Thank you for your vote of confidence in us!

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Investment News

In late 2009, two events occurred in the investment world, both of which we see as positive for you and your portfolio.

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Are Our Fees Still Taxable? – An Update

In our last issue of Perspective, we commented on this past summer’s court decision involving the Canadian Medical Protective Association and the tax status of some investment services. The outcome of this case suggested that discretionary investment management services might be GST and QST exempt.It now appears that this will not be the case. In December 2009, Finance Minister Jim Flaher...

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Thoughts on TFSAs

By: Caroline Nalbatoglu

By now, most of you are familiar with the basics of the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). We’ve heard a lot about how it can work as a supplement or an alternative to other savings plans such as RRSPs. Here are some strategies you may want to consider.

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Tax Time is Just around the Corner

When you are organizing all those tax slips to send along to your accountant, don’t forget to include the receipts for your home renov-ation projects. As we covered in the Summer 2009 issue of Perspective, both the federal and Quebec governments introduced financial incentives for home renovation and improve-ment last year. If you are one of the many Canadians who took advantage of this o...

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The Uncertain State of US Estate Tax

U.S. citizens, as well as residents of Canada who own U.S. property, are understandably concerned about the current uncertainties revolving around U.S. estate tax.Back in 2001, through the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA), the U.S. government began minimizing the impact of federal estate tax by reducing the tax rate and increasing the size of the minimum taxable estate...

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Strategic Alliances

MontrealOur Montreal office is very pleased to announce a new formal relationship with M Bacal Group which will provide PWL clients wider insurance solutions.Monette Malewski, President and CEO of M Bacal Group, provides individuals and companies with innovative strategies concerning; life, disability and critical illness insurance, and long-term care. Along with her team, they create the best...

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July 2009

GMWBs: The Price of Security

Investors who purchased products that offered a Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit (GMWB) are now realizing that security has a price, and are now facing changes in the terms of the contract. In effect, customers will be  paying more for fewer returns from the same instrument.

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Are Our Fees Still Taxable?

You may be aware of a recent court decision involving the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), on the tax status of some investment services. The court ruled that discretionary investment management services may be GST and QST exempt.For the time being, the Canada Revenue Agency considers these services fully taxable. We are therefore legally bound to continue to charge GST and QST, ...

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H1N1 Update

There has been no shortage of information in the news recently on the H1N1 virus and the possibility of a pandemic. Business continuity planning in the event of a pandemic is a key concern for private businesses such as PWL Capital. We would like to assure you that PWL has always had a ‘Business continuity action plan’ and we have reviewed it carefully in the light of recent develop...

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U.S./Canada Tax Treaty

Some important changes to U.S. tax law could affect Canadian residents with property or pension assets in the U.S.Capital Gains Tax on Real EstateA special tax break applies to U.S. non-resident aliens who sell U.S. real estate in the tax years 2008 to 2010. The portion of the gain that is normally taxed at less than 25 percent is instead tax-free. This means that the whole transaction is tax-f...

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Spousal Loan Strategies

By: James Parkyn

As of April 1, 2009, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)’s prescribed interest rate for spousal loans dropped to 1%, the lowest level it has been in over 20 years.

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Save-the-date! Client Event - Guest: Leonard Mlodinow

We are thrilled to announce that Leonard Mlodinow, author of The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives, will be speaking to PWL  clients at a series of presentations on September 22nd in Toronto, 23rd in Ottawa and 24th in Montreal. His presentation will vividly demonstrate how our lives are profoundly informed by chance and randomness. When it  comes to investments he...

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PWL’s Cheryl Gillies runs the 2009 Ottawa Marathon!

PWL advisors make the news for their personal as well as professional accomplishments! In  June, Cheryl Gillies, Investment Advisor in our Ottawa office, completed the 2009 Ottawa Marathon, her first, after diligently working towards this goal since 2004. Cheryl’s intensive  and disciplined training regime (running six days per week since January) certainly paid off, as she comp...

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Hélène Gagné’s book, Votre retraite crie au secours gets media attention!

We’re excited to report that Hélène Gagné’s new book, Votre retraite crie au secours (Éd. Transcontinental), has been garnering significant media attention! Hélène, Portfolio Manager and Partner in our  Montreal office, has been interviewed for many publications, as well as radio and TV programs, about her book and how the world of retirement is changing. It started in February...

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February 2009

Lessons from 2008 – Managing risk starts with fi xed income

By: James Parkyn

Last year is very likely to go down as one of the most signifi cant years in capital market history. US large cap stocks delivered their worst returns since 1931, with the S&P 500 reporting a loss of 37%! During periods of extreme volatility, many investors reevaluate the level of risk they’re willing or able to take.

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Tax Time around the Corner

By: Caroline Nalbatoglu

Although it’s been around for a year, the federal government’s provision for pension splitting may be new to you if you started to receive employer pension, annuity, or RRIF income in 2008. Since 2007, any Canadian resident who receives income that qualifies for the pension income tax credit is allowed to allocate up to 50% of that income to his or her spouse or common law partner, as long as the spouse or partner is a resident of Canada.

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Happy New Year from Ottawa!

The new Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) is your new year’s gift from the federal govern-ment! Every Canadian age 18 and older now has the opportunity to invest up to $5,000 each year in an account where their money will grow tax free. That’s right – no taxes to pay while the money stays invested or when it’s withdrawn. And when you take money out of a TFSA, you can re-co...

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PWL in the News

Increasingly, the financial media look to PWL advisors for our investment commen-tary and advice.In July 2008, Anthony Layton was asked to contribute an article on passive investing to Advisor’s Edge, a respected trade publica-tion for financial advisors. As a follow up, sister publication Advisor’s Edge Report interviewed Anthony for a cover article on PWL and our search for new ad...

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PWL is Growing!

We’re excited that, over the past few months, three experienced and highly-regarded wealth management profes-sionals have joined the PWL team in our Montreal office.In September, Marc Stern and Richard Cauchon joined PWL as a “team within a team”. Marc’s depth and breadth of experience in both wealth manage-ment and accounting brings an added dimension to the services he...

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July 2008

Staying the Course Pays Off

As investors, our emotions often work against us. Letting our hearts rule our heads can have many unfortunate economic consequences, including poor investment returns. While irrational investor behaviour has existed for many years, it is only recently that behavioural scientists have begun to study the phenomenon to better understand how we make choices, evaluate risks versus rewards, and calculate probabilities.

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New Creditor Protection for Registered Funds

By: Nancy Graham

During times of uncertainty, it’s important to make sure that your assets are protected against unforeseen events, including personal financial problems. As of July 8, 2008, the federal government has implemented changes to the bankruptcy laws that will protect assets held within RRSPs of all types.

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Changes to Federal Locked-in Accounts

If you have funds in a locked-in retirement account, take note! If the funds came from a pension plan governed by the federal Pension Benefits Standards Act (PBSA), you will have an opportunity to unlock at least some of these funds. The PBSA covers pensions from federally-regulated employers such as banks, transportation companies, broadcasting and telecommunications firms, federal Crown corpo...

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Active Management: You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For

By: Kathleen Clough

Too many investors perceive mutual funds to be a low-cost investment solution. But are they really? Not when you consider the hidden costs and the ongoing management expense ratio (MER) that is paid out of the assets in the fund. Couple this with the fact that the majority of mutual funds underperform their benchmarks, and we have a situation where investors are paying high fees, but not getting high returns to match.

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The Beat Goes on at PWL

By: Brenda Bartlett

Over the past several months, you’ve probably noticed lots of changes happening at PWL. We officially changed our name to PWL Capital Inc., the name that you now see on monthly statements and portfolio performance reports. We developed a new brochure to help clients and others better understand our message. And now, we’re excited to announce some further changes unfolding.

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