Managed Money Reporter Newsletter — Issue 245, July/August 2008


Editors: Carl Spiess & Allan McGlade


Featured Articles



Looking Back 10 Years

Carl Spiess

By Carl Spiess, CFP, CIM, FMA, FCSI, MBA, Director, Wealth Management

The summer issue of this newsletter from 10 years ago is interesting reading. Back then, we had RSP (Canadian) and 20%-RSP (Foreign) eligible funds. The top performing Canadian funds were mostly financial and dividend funds, with the worst performers being precious metals and resource funds. For example, the Dynamic Precious Metals fund (see chart, below) had a 10 year average return of only 1% and was a bottom 10 performer from June 1988 to June 1998 and had negative 1, 3 and 5 year returns. From June 1998 to June 2008 it however returned 18.4% a year. Similarly, global funds and US equity funds were outperforming many Canadian funds.

Dynamic Precious Metals

How times have changed since then! Over the last 10 years, the average global fund, has returned 0.7%, and many investors are thinking about giving up on global markets and only investing in Canadian (resource) stocks. I have been cautioning clients against this. While Canada was the last market standing at the end of June, it has now also dipped into negative territory, year-to-date. There is still good value in holding onto international investments for diversification. Looking at the fund performance from 10 years back shows that what might have seemed like a "dog" was actually a "rising star" (and vice versa). And since you never know what the next rising star will be, it pays to keep your money spread around, both geographically and sector-wise.

One last item of note in the issue of the newsletter from 10 years ago. We featured 3 fund managers: Kim Shannon of Spectrum Canadian (merged into CI Canadian fund), Dick Habermann of Fidelity Canadian Asset Allocation, and Mark Holowesko of Templeton Growth Fund (see chart and table, below). While in each case, managers on the funds have changed, the funds have been good performers in their categories (Canadian Balanced, Canadian Equity and Global, respectively) and all 3 remain on our recommended list, 10 years later.

10-year fund comparison

10-year fund comparison

But what of Templeton Growth? Sir John Templeton passed away recently, 20 years after turning over management of the Templeton Growth fund to his successors. Does the 1.5% average return over the last 10 years mean the fund is now a failure? Quite contrary, it simply illustrates how the rising Canadian dollar, and high global valuations from 10 years ago have made global investing very difficult. The fund (after all expenses) has beat the index return of 0.8% (and beat the global index funds or ETFs) over the same period. It's a strong performer in its category.

It is interesting to see what the managers were worried about 10 years ago, namely the crisis in Asia, stagnant energy prices, and a weakening manufacturing economy in the US. Some issues turned out to be very short term. Others continue to this day.

We continue to recommend all 3 of these funds from 10 years ago within their categories.

If your June statement was a shock (and July may well be too), please contact us to review your account. It may be time to add to your equity holdings if you have cash on the sidelines and are a long term investor, or it may be time to become more conservative if you are close to retirement. Or if the volatility in the equity markets has really got you worried, we can always lock in a rate with GICs (4.5% currently). We would be pleased to review your personal situation so don't hesitate to call us.

More on looking back 10 years

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Scotiabank's Corporate Social Responsibility

Scotiabank defines corporate social responsibility (CSR) as the way we interact with all of our stakeholders - our shareholders, customers, employees and communities - to meet our social, economic, environmental and ethical responsibilities. CSR is a fundamental part of the way we do business, and an essential element of our success.

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BCE Deal Looks More Likely Again

The buyout of Bell Canada is looking much more like a sure thing, after the latest Ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada. We expect shareholders to receive $42.75 in December. For those clients with significant Capital Gains, please contact us to review tax minimization strategies as we get closer to year end. The following summary is a good starting point for familiarizing yourself with the tax issues, including the benefits of using the shares in your charitable giving.

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Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund Suspends Redemptions

Last month, Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund (CMDF) announced that effective immediately, they have suspended redemptions and sales of their fund until further notice.

The fund's board of directors is in the process of exploring options to maximize returns for all unitholders. The fund will continue to be valued each day for current unitholders. A decision should be reached by the end of the year as to which direction the fund will be moving. We will continue monitor this situation for your accounts and will provide information on the status of the fund as information becomes available.

While a few Labour Sponsored Investment Funds (LSIFs) have generated positive after tax returns, most have not. However, their tax benefits have still made them profitable in many cases. The benefit is not as clear cut going forward since the Ontario government has started its phase out of the provincial tax credit. We have been reviewing these on a case-by-case basis. For clients who have any labour funds, we will continue to monitor when yours are clear of the required holding period and be in touch with you directly or at the time of an annual account review.

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Morningstar Conference

Carl was pleased to be a panelist at the recent Morningstar conference. Details of the advisor panel and the conference are on the Morningstar website:

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Summertime

We hope you are enjoying your summer. Your investment team, spouses and children enjoyed a family BBQ recently. The rented rock wall was a terrific team building adventure. See the photo, and visit our team page to learn more about your team.

We are also pleased to announce that Claudia Ochoa has joined the team full time. Other than that, your associates have remained unchanged for the last 5 years.

Spiess McGlade Team BBQ 2008

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Recommended Link of the Month

We call your attention again to Scotia Online. You now have the ability to access your statements in electronic format instead of receiving them by mail. In April, paperless record keeping, known as eRecords, was launched through Scotia Online. This new service means that you no longer have to wait until your statement arrives to view your account balances and transactions. eRecords will be available days in advance of traditional mail, and statements are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not only is it convenient and economical to go paperless, there will be one less paper to file and a few more trees still standing.

ScotiaMcLeod Online users can sign up for this service through the Accounts and Transfers tab under Investing. Use the Document Preferences link at the bottom of the left menu (see graphic, below).

If you are not yet registered for ScotiaMcLeod Online and would like to learn more, please see our online access page.

Go paperless

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Contact Us

T.  416.863.RRSP (7777)
     1.800.387.9273
F.  416.863.7479
E. carl.spiess@scotiawealth.com
    allan.mcglade@scotiawealth.com

ScotiaMcLeod is a division of Scotia Capital Inc., member of CIPF.

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