By Staff | September 10, 2008 | Last updated on September 10, 2008
3 min read
Previous Brieflies this week: | MON | TUE | WED | THU |

(September 10, 2008) While the financial services industry prepares for the advent of the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) in January, the real challenge may be to explain the account to the general population.

According to a survey by ING Direct, three-quarters of Canadians either don’t know what the TFSA is, or have only limited knowledge about it. Even among those who professed some or full knowledge, some 30% were not familiar with key details of the accounts, such as the $5,000 annual contribution limit, or the fact that they can withdraw assets tax free.

“We feel there’s a lot of education that needs to take place between now and January, so that Canadians are fully aware of their options for saving come peak investment season,” said Peter Aceto, president and CEO of ING DIRECT. “The tax-free account really is a gift that every Canadian should embrace, regardless of the amount they are able to contribute.”

The survey found that about 20% of respondents would use the accounts to save for a major purchase, such as a car or home. Another 19% said they would use the account to save or invest.

The survey also found that interest in the TFSA was weakest in Quebec, where 32% said they will not contribute to the account in 2009.

• • •

Wellington West opens Montreal branch

(September 10, 2008) Wellington West Holdings has announced its expansion into Montreal, making it the firm’s second office in la belle province and the 47th location nationwide.

“The expansion of our Quebec team is an important step toward achieving our goal of becoming the leading independent wealth management firm in Canada,” said Kish Kapoor, president, Wellington West. “This is a unique market with a cultural appreciation for entrepreneurialism and independence. We feel we can provide a home for many of the province’s top investment advisors and we are prepared to invest in our commitment.”

The Montreal office will start out with two teams of advisors: the Richard Walsh and Paolo Di Stefano team and the Glenn Maclean and François Richard team.

“We will continue to seek advisors of the highest calibre,” said Annamaria Testani, senior vice-president, business development, who heads the firm’s Quebec expansion. “Our goal is to find the best people in the market, support them with Wellington West’s award-winning reputation and ultimately offer a different kind of investment firm to the people of Quebec.”

• • •

Fidelity launches online volatility demo

(September 10, 2008) If your phone is ringing off the hook, chances are it’s another jittery client wanting to know what you’re going to do about these volatile equity markets. Odds are your answer is “Nothing. We have a plan and we can ride out the rough spots.”

Of course, that advice is easier to offer if you can demonstrate why they shouldn’t bail out of the markets, so you might want to sit clients down in front of Fidelity’s new volatility website.

The site includes four easy-to-use online tools that illustrate how global markets and asset classes have reacted and recovered from major upsets, including the Asia Crisis, the tech meltdown and Black Monday in 1987.

“Investors are besieged daily by news about the global economy, recession fears, the credit crunch and oil hitting record highs. Sometimes too much information can lead to loss of perspective,” says Peter Drake, vice-president, economic and retirement research, Fidelity Investments Canada ULC. “But acting out of fear for what might happen to the markets can cost an investor thousands of dollars.”

(09/10/08) staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.