President, Ron Graham and Associates Ltd.



In the business

27 years

Number of households



Between GICs and bonds with similar yield to maturity, I’d usually pick GICs for clients who are in a comfortable position to meet their retirement goals. GICs are much safer in this uncertain interest-rate environment.

Clients requiring 3% to 4% before-tax real return are mostly invested in a mixture of GICs, individual stocks and ETFs that own dividend-paying stocks. For dividend-paying stocks, I have a Canada bias due to the tax benefits. For foreign exposure, I suggest ETFs tracking the S&P 500, the EAFE index, or U.S. and international dividend aristocrats.

Direct ownership

I believe in directly owning an investment rather than indirect exposure through packaged instruments like principal-protected notes or index-linked GICs. It’s way cheaper. For example, certain firms sell limited partnerships in farmland they anticipate will be converted to commercial or residential property. A few years ago, a client was considering buying such an LP, and I told him he could buy his own quarter section (160 acres) of farmland for the same amount he’d pay a firm for 16 acres through the LP.

My money

I take more risk with my own money because I’m able to lose 100% of my investment. I own stocks, public and private mortgage investment corporations, private REITs, private LPs and penny stocks. I have no GICs or bonds.


I have an advice-only service; Edmonton doesn’t have many planners like me. If clients want referrals to stockbrokers or advisors, I provide them. If they do their own investing, I facilitate that through low-cost mutual funds or discount brokerages. In addition to tax planning and hourly fee-based advice ($175 per hour), seminars for large and mid-sized corporations are another steady source of revenue and new clients. I typically charge $2,000 for a day, and at least 20% of my clients come through these seminars.

Kanupriya Vashisht is a Toronto-based financial writer.