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Alexandra Macqueen is passionate about making financial planning available to all Canadians – not just those with money.
The new vice-president of learning, development and professional practice at FP Canada Institute hopes a streamlined approach to the credentialling process for the certified financial planner (CFP) and qualified associate financial planner (QAFP) designations will attract a more diverse group of people who will then advise people from all walks of life.
Globe Advisor spoke recently with Ms. Macqueen about her plans for developing the future of financial planning.
What is your mandate for FP Canada Institute?
We need to distinguish more clearly what is financial planning, what is a financial planner and what is a financial plan. Our focus is not on investment advice; that’s one component of a financial planner’s wheelhouse. Financial planning has a variety of meanings, depending on who you’re talking to.
So, what is your meaning of financial planning?
Financial planning is about people living life confidently irrespective of the level of financial resources they might have. It’s not dependent on becoming wealthy. It’s about having an appreciation for whatever your financial planning reality is and being able to make the right decisions for you.
If you say the CFP is the gold standard financial planning designation, what’s the rationale behind having more designations, such as the QAFP?
People can benefit from advice that’s geared toward common situations in their everyday lives, but it doesn’t necessarily require the expertise of a CFP. We wanted to develop a designation that would work hand in hand with the CFP, where can you go for that everyday financial advice but still refer out to a CFP where necessary.
For example, everybody deserves financial planning support around bread-and-butter issues such as setting up a registered education savings plan.
There are other countries like Japan that have used this approach in which there are two side-by-side designations. They have a CFP designation and then a separate designation that addresses a slightly different population.
You’re bringing all the technical education of these courses in-house instead of outsourcing to external providers. Some practising CFPs will be working directly on the technical content of these courses. Will they be rotating or will it be the same group of people?
I don’t know that yet. We’re working hard to bring together this initial launch of technical education. One of the things on my agenda is figuring out how frequently we will update information and what changes we need to implement.
We just updated FP Canada’s financial planning body of knowledge to include a reference to the First Home Savings Account and the permanent increase to Old Age Security for those over the age of 75 as those studying for our designations need to know how to apply technical knowledge to financial planning scenarios.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
– Deanne Gage, Globe Advisor reporter
Must-reads from Globe Advisor this week
Nine ways to prevent triggering a CRA tax audit
Every year, about 30,000 Canadians will receive a letter or phone call from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) telling them they’re being audited. That begins a lengthy and stressful process – regardless of whether it results in a reassessment with taxes due and penalties. Most candidates for an audit are flagged by the CRA’s risk-assessment systems, which are designed to identify tax returns most likely to be non-compliant. While it isn’t possible to audit-proof a tax return (some audits are random), experts say taxpayers can take steps to reduce the chances. Alison MacAlpine speaks to experts and outlines what clients should avoid when filing taxes.
How investors should play the metaverse as the focus shifts to generative AI
Metaverse-themed investment funds were one of the hottest investment stories of 2022, with dozens of metaverse-labelled exchange-traded funds (ETFs) launched to capture the theme. But now, investors would be hard-pressed to find the word metaverse in the news. The worst tech stock collapse in two decades means that investor interest in areas with an intriguing future but limited short-term prospects has dried up. Still, that doesn’t mean that the development of the metaverse has stopped. Patient investors can still find opportunities as it continues to develop, analysts say, but progress will be gradual and volatile. Adam Mayers looks at the pros and cons of investing in the space, along with the new developments.
Why failure to declare all income from side jobs can have significant tax implications
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Investing ‘where others won’t or can’t’ has helped this money manager beat the benchmarks
Portfolio manager Jason Del Vicario thinks investors should stop guessing if interest rates will drop or stay higher for longer and focus instead on buying companies they want to hold well after the dust settles. “We are long-term focused and pay very little attention to short-term noise, except to keep tabs on when assets we own or want to own fall below our estimate of fair value,” says Mr. Del Vicario of Hillside Wealth Management at iA Private Wealth Inc. in Vancouver, who oversees about $200-million in assets. The buy-and-hold strategy has helped his fund outperform some benchmarks. Brenda Bouw reports on what he’s buying and selling.
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What cooling inflation could mean for the economy in this week’s Advisor Lookahead
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What you and your clients need to know
Star U.S. ARK fund manager seeks distance from Emerge funds
Prominent U.S. investor Cathie Wood is distancing her company, ARK Investment Management LLC, from Toronto-based Emerge Canada Inc. after regulators slapped a trading halt on all of Emerge’s exchange-traded funds, including those branded with ARK’s name. ARK Investments said in a statement that the Emerge Canada ETFs involved in the Ontario Securities Commission’s action are not ARK’s funds, and that ARK is “not affiliated with and has no ownership or role in the management of Emerge Canada, nor its ETFs.” The company said it was “deeply disappointed” with the situation. Clare O’Hara and David Milstead have the latest from the fallout.
How investors can become better forecasters than a ‘dart-throwing chimpanzee’
Are you a good investor? Or, to ask exactly the same question differently, how good are you at predicting the future? Making an investment decision is no more or less than making a forecast. The stock market price of a company reflects the collective expectation of thousands of investors about the future profits of that company. If you are to succeed as an investor, you must do a better job than the other market participants of forecasting those profits. The good news is all investors can sharpen their forecasting skills. Biff Matthews of Longview Asset Management talks about how to do this.
Dividend stocks that may benefit from recent takeovers
An acrimonious takeover bid for Canada’s Teck Resources Ltd. continues to grab headlines. But that offer by mining giant Glencore PLC has likely overshadowed quieter – much friendlier – acquisition deals for other large firms. While these transactions mostly carry some level of risk, many are poised to significantly expand revenue and earnings for the companies that successfully complete them. At the same time, the takeovers have the power to bolster already sustainable dividends for shareholders. Any growth-by-acquisition strategy is inherently riskier than internal growth as it carries an above-average chance of unpleasant surprises. Scott Clayton of TSI Network looks at stocks with sustainable dividends that are ready to benefit from recent takeovers.
– Globe Advisor Staff