How to pick an adviser, your financial co-pilot

How to pick an adviser, your financial co-pilot
News from Globe and Mail:

Thinking of investing your hard-earned money with a wealth manager? Here are some tips to help you make the most of this relationship.

Do your due diligence

Getting good results from managed investments starts with the right wealth manager. As a first step in choosing a manager, check the fundamentals, such as credentials and registration, with the appropriate regulatory bodies, says Brian Smith, vice-president and portfolio manager at Fit Private Investment Counsel Inc. in Toronto.

To do due diligence on a portfolio manager, Mr. Smith recommends investors visit the website of their province’s securities commission. These sites identify investment managers or advisers who are registered, and therefore authorized, to provide investment advice and sell securities and mutual funds in the province.

They also list companies, managers, advisers and companies who have been disciplined by the industry’s regulatory body or are on a warning list. The latter is typically a compilation of companies or individuals who have been reported as soliciting investments without having the appropriate registration in place.

It’s also a good idea to ask a prospective wealth manager for references and to actually follow through with these reference checks.

Find the right fit

Craig Ellis, head of portfolio manag…………… continues on Globe and Mail

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Tips to sidestep the health care-funding surtax
News from Employee Benefit News:

The election results virtually guarantee that key portions of health care legislation passed in 2010 will go into effect next year, as scheduled. Thus, many participants will face a 3.8% surtax on investment income.

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This tax, designed to augment Medicare funding, may affect single taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income over $ 200,000 and married couples with MAGI over $ 250,000.

Bob Keebler, who heads a tax advisory and CPA firm in Green Bay, Wisc., suggests some strategies to reduce the impact of this surtax. On his list:

  • Tax-exempt bonds. Switching from taxable bonds to tax-exempts can hold down MAGI and the net investment income that is subject to the surtax.
  • Deferred annuities. Such investments may defer taxable income to future years when a client’s income will be lower.
  • Life insurance. Again, putting investment do…………… continues on Employee Benefit News

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