Tuesday, 11 December 2007

A Canadian Investor's Christmas Wish List

It's the time of year that Santa comes around and this year I'd like him to bring me these small gifts:
  • the capability to hold foreign cash in registered accounts like RRSPs and LIRAs, starting with US dollars but why not other currencies like GBP, EUR and JPY, to avoid having to settle trades back into Canadian dollars and then to repurchase USD again to re-invest, which incurs foreign exchange commissions on each end and 2% extra trading costs. I had suggestions from one discount brokerage (not one of the big five banks) that it was finally about to launch such accounts this month - fingers still crossed.
  • discount brokerage accounts, both registered and non-registered, that enable low cost trading ($10 per trade sounds reasonable) directly on other major world exchanges like London, Tokyo, Paris, Frankfurt; TD Waterhouse, this should be especially easy for you since it already exists in your UK service offering
  • passive index tracking mutual funds with low MERs (0.3% or less is a good target) like those of Vanguard in the US as a competitive alternative to ETFs; this will enable small purchases, re-balancing and will simplify reinvesting and tax returns. Note to TD Canada Trust - start offering your e-Series index funds through other brokerages and not force people to open an account with you ... oh, and lower those fees a wee 0.10% please; at Christmas you will find that if you give something, you will receive too.
  • combined account portfolio reports from my discount brokerage for all types of accounts, into one integrated portfolio, to save me the trouble of copying all the data from my regular trading account, my RRSP and my LIRAs into a spreadsheet; a very useful extra capability would be to enable me to add labels of my choosing for asset classes and to summarize that as well across all accounts; plus, capital gains tracking on the regular accounts, to make it easier to do my income tax return plus plan year-end tax-loss selling or gains lock-in.
  • real tax-exempt savings accounts (wonder if Jim Flaherty reads this blog) from our federal government like the ISAs in the UK, in addition to the tax-deferred RRSPs; it's so much simpler and more flexible - no tax deduction since the funds come from after-tax income but growth is completely tax-sheltered and no tax is due on withdrawal, no matter what the type of investment, one's income or age.
  • again from the federal government, an annual tax-exempt capital gains amount, say $10,000, like that of the UK
That's not a lot to ask is it, only six things? And I've been a good boy all year.

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