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Investment industry insiders provided their insights and opinions on a variety of topics to advisors in 2020.

pogonici/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

The excellent business journalists who write for Globe Advisor live across the country and speak to key players in the investment industry to produce the in-depth advisor-focused articles you read on a daily basis. Yet, some of those movers and shakers are sometimes eager to offer their thoughts to readers directly.

Plenty of investment industry insiders – from asset-management executives to heads of investment dealers to advisors themselves, among many others – provided their insights and opinions to advisors this year on a variety of topics.

Here are 10 of the most thought-provoking columns from investment professionals that resonated with readers:

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Taking a pension’s commuted value can leave some Canadians wealthier

For Canadians who are planning to retire or have perhaps lost their jobs and who have a defined-benefit pension plan, there has never been a better time to review the age-old question of whether they should keep the pension or take the commuted value, writes Matthew Ardrey, vice-president and portfolio manager at TriDelta Financial Partners Inc. in Toronto.

There is no alternative to staying invested

The current investment environment is very challenging. Yet, the biggest risk that most investors with a long-term horizon face is not losing money, but not having enough of it. That’s why there’s no alternative to staying invested in a well-diversified portfolio. Although there’s no magic formula, Jonathan Durocher, president of National Bank Financial Wealth Management in Montreal, provides three simple and proven investment strategies to consider.

How not to invest during a pandemic

The novel coronavirus has brought with it a slate of new acronyms such as SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. Some have emerged in the financial arena as well that highlight the need for caution in these turbulent times and the role advisors can play in shielding investors from their basest instincts. From TINA, to YOLO, to FOMO, to EBITDAC, Lisa Kramer, professor of finance at the University of Toronto, provides insight into how advisors can help investors remain on course.

Why closed-end funds make sense for retirees’ portfolios

Retirees and those approaching retirement, who make up a large, growing proportion of Canada’s population, rely on income-generation strategies to help sustain them financially. But while the need for income has never been greater, the low interest-rate environment has made yield hard to find. Closed-end funds are a potential solution to this problem, writes Adam McCabe of Aberdeen Standard Investments Inc.

Why a fine-tuned hybrid approach will help advisors weather this storm

Advisors faced a huge strategic challenge earlier this year – navigating clients deftly through market turbulence and the impact of COVID-19. There’s no playbook advisors can use in these current market conditions, mainly because fintech was scarce during the previous global financial crisis and the coronavirus pandemic is like no other challenge in living memory. But for advisors who have spent recent years honing a hybrid client-engagement model – part-human, part-digital – there’s no better setup, writes Donna Bristow, managing director, North American Wealth, at Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. in Toronto.

What hindsight bias and the bear market myth can teach us about investing in the next decade

Now that a new decade is underway, it’s important to think about the decade that just ended and the lessons we learned about investing – particularly hindsight bias. Hindsight provides clarity on something that has already happened and causes us to perceive these events as somewhat predictable, even when the reality at the time was much less certain. So, what can hindsight bias tell us about the debate on active versus passive investment management – especially as it relates to market cycles? Todd Schlanger, a senior investment strategist at Vanguard Investments Canada Inc., has the answer.

No one wins if current rules for financial professionals’ titles remain as is

Recent efforts from the Ontario government to ensure that only financial professionals with appropriate credentials be able to call themselves “financial planners” or “financial advisors” are being met with resistance from financial services industry associations lobbying to maintain the status quo. Jason Pereira, a partner and senior financial consultant at Woodgate Financial Inc., a financial planning firm under the IPC Securities Corp. umbrella in Toronto., says that if this self-serving push is victorious, it will only benefit the least-qualified providers of financial services and be another setback for professionalization and transparency in the investment industry.

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Why it’s time to get serious about financial wellness

For years, advice on how Canadians can ensure their security by saving for a rainy day and avoiding too much debt have been largely brushed off. With the economic uncertainty many Canadians now face because of COVID-19, we’re dealing with the uncomfortable reality that millions of households could see their life goals crumble. Knowing that so many Canadians were not financially well prior to the pandemic, why hadn’t there been a more concerted effort to address it? What have we missed? And what lessons can we learn and apply as we move toward a post-COVID-19 world? Saijal Patel, founder and chief executive officer of Saij Elle, a financial consultancy and education platform, provides answers to these questions.

Ten advisor behaviours that could drive clients away

The COVID-19 pandemic has initiated a wave of transformation within the financial services sector. Most notably, there has been new technology rolled out across the industry to onboard clients digitally, which is making it easier than ever for investors to move their business to another advisor. That’s a good thing for investors as it serves notice to advisors who fail to improve their value proposition continuously. Mr. Duroche says there are 10 specific behaviours advisors should watch for – and change without haste – to avoid this fate.

Why the investment industry needs continuing education reform

Continuing education (CE) in Canada’s financial services industry is in a disorganized state and in dire need of reform. There is no common standard for CE requirements among regulatory organizations and credentialing bodies, causing CE obligations to stack on top of each other rather than integrate. For advisors, this means more time and more money on satisfying industry obligations. The intended benefits of CE are being outweighed by their unintended burdens. That’s the message from John Waldron, founder of Learnedly, a modern training platform for Canadian financial professionals that powers Globe Advisor’s new CE Centre.

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