Have you looked at your Financial Advisor’s statement lately?
Effective June 2017, all investment statements in Canada (such as with a Financial Advisor through your bank, Mutual fund, or independent investing group) must contain two new mandatory statement:
- How much the financial advisor or dealer was paid (by you and others) for handling your investments, in dollars.
- Benchmark performance in dollars and percentages.
This new information would have first appeared on the statement you received in January 2017, for December 2016. (Many institutions, including CIBC, chose to show the fee disclosure on the year end statement) or on any month through June 2017 (TD Canada Trust). Typically it only shows on a single statement per year.
Take a look — how much did your investment advisor’s company earn last year from your portfolio — $2000? $5000? More?
What did you get in return — did you beat the Canadian Couch Potato Index of 9.34% last year (agressive mix)?, a portfolio which could have cost you less than $250 per $100,000 invested (inclusive of trading, MERs, rebalancing and brokerage fees).
Go take a look now. I can wait. I think some of you may be in for a shock. Remember, this does not include any upfront sales commissions you may have paid previously.
So, what value did you get for your fees? Was it worth it? Many will say “yes”, they get frequent updates from their advisors, who manage all the trades, recommend new positions, and/or provide them with returns that are better than passive index investing. They may even get financial planning on goals unrelated to investment planning and retirement, such as insurance risk, tax advantaged strategies, or how to save for a parental leave. If you are getting great value… Awesome. There are terrific Investment Advisors out there, you just need to find them.
Others reading this, — may be experiencing what I have with 4 out of 6 of the advisors I have ever worked with:
- no financial planning other than the required “know your client” forms,
- no contact other than when they wish to sell more investments,
- only giving advice to buy target retirement date funds or company wrap funds (not tailored for your situation), and
- zero phone calls for over two years because I had paused my regular contributions with that company. (and they were still getting $2000 a year in trailer fees from me!)
If you are not happy with the value you are getting for your money, you need to make a change.