Research Articles

CPP/QPP Benefits: To Defer or Not to Defer

Is it worthwhile for a 65-year-old retiree to defer CPP or QPP pension until, say, age 70? On the one hand, deferral increases the pension amount per year by 8.4% (up to age 70). On the other hand, it means that the retiree will receive fewer pension payments in total. Without delving into the complexity of an individual’s financial and tax situations, we provide some guidance based on a simple criterion: Does deferral result in a larger dollar amount in total?

Decomposing Risk: How Popular Holdings Analysis could be Misleading

When it comes to evaluating a portfolio’s sector risk exposures, analysts typically take stock of a portfolio’s holdings, and then group them by sector. In the pie chart below, we show the breakdown of the S&P 500 constituents by sector. This type of holdings analysis (or breakdown approach) provides a useful point-in-time snapshot of a portfolio. However, we think that it can give an incomplete - or at times, even a misleading - picture of a portfolio’s risk exposures. In this article, we use the energy sector to explain why.

Not All Risks are Created Equal

If you ask investment advisors to quantify risk, they are mostly likely going to refer you to a well-known statistical concept called standard deviation. Standard deviation in this context measures the dispersion of an investment’s returns over time.However, two portfolios with the same standard deviation (and other overall risk characteristics) may have very different risk drivers.

Actively Trading Passive Vehicles

I have been teaching a course on investments at the Schulich School of Business, York University, since 1998. I have noticed an increasing trend of ETF usage amongst my students, be it in the stock market simulation game in the course, or in their personal portfolios. This should not come as a surprise. After all, we would expect millennials to embrace new technology and products more readily, and to have an appreciation for the benefit of low costs and transparency.

To students of finance, portfolio diversification is one of the most fundamental concepts in the discipline. Harry Markowitz, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences in 1990, is credited for operationalizing the concept using mathematical statistics. To fans of Shakespeare, the idea of diversification should not be foreign either...

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