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ADVISOR FOCUS - a newsletter from
07 Jan 05

Current Issue | Subscribe to Advisor Focus | Back Issues

SPOTLIGHT: Illuminating 2005

RRSP Season Opens with Back to Basics Campaign

This RRSP season, don't expect TV hits featuring a golf-club swinging Spider-Man or a star fund manager promising meteoric returns, writes investment reporter Keith Damsell. The central sales message from fundcos in 2005 is earnest, sincere and, well, kind of dull. The focus will be on the virtues of financial planning and expert advice. Read Damsell's full report.

  • Reality Check: Financial World Now Catering to Chicken Little
    The hot spots of 2004 include principal-protected notes, income-oriented mutual funds, income trusts and musty old dividend stocks. The dud category of 2004 was equity funds, even while the stock markets notched their second consecutive year of good gains. Bulls and bears, meet a new breed of investor called The Chicken. Read Rob Carrick's acute reality check.
  • Growth in Housing Prices Seen Slowing in 2005
    The average price of a house in Canada is expected to rise 4.5 per cent to a record $236,588 next year, but that rate of appreciation will be down sharply from recent years, a report by Royal LePage Real Estate Services indicates. View the full story, including the nation-wide forecast.
  • It's Time for Investing Spotlight to Shine on ETFs
    The flourishing of ETFs is an investing trend of 2004 that didn't get as much attention as it deserved. Did you know, for example, that you'll find an excellent alternative to bond funds, a new option for playing the Chinese market and a new way to invest in gold through ETFs? Rob Carrick explains.

MANAGER PROFILE: Eric Sprott, the Notorious Bear

  • How Sprott Scored Big in 2004
    Eric Sprott, one of Bay Street's best-known market bears, triumphed again last year. His decision to shun blue chips and make a big bet on energy and resources paid off handsomely for investors in 2004. The Sprott Canadian Equity Fund blew away the mutual fund competition, reporting a princely 38-per-cent return last year. Over the past five years, the fund has been a repeat top performer, returning an average of 39 per cent annually and an average of 30 per cent since its inception in 1997. Keith Damsell reveals how he did it:


A Year-end Guide to Maintaining your Portfolio
One way to gauge how clients did in the past year is to benchmark their portfolios against major stock and bond indexes. If a portfolio did as well or better, mark 2004 down as a fine year. A slightly worse performance is rarely something to worry about, but a lot worse requires a post mortem. Surprisingly, a portfolio that far surpasses the benchmarks may also be a cause for concern. Read up on benchmarking blended portfolios.

  • A Buy-Low Guide for Quality Funds
    When managing a portfolio, knowing when and what to buy makes a substantial difference to the bottom line. Have the guts to buy quality funds when they're down. Read Rob Carrick's full report.

PLUS: Internet Chockful of Tools that Can Turn a Novice Investor Into a Pro

IPOs in 2004: Highs and Lows

  • IPO Market Hits Four-Year High in 2004
    There were 87 IPOs in Canada last year worth $6.16-billion, according to the review by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The 2004 figure was not far off the record set in 2000 when a robust technology sector contributed to 101 IPOs worth $6.8-billion. Paul Waldie prepared this report.