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Readers were interested in stories ranging from strategies for investing within registered education savings plans (RESPs) to how financial services firms and advisors are reopening amid concerns from staff and clients.

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When the calendar turned to September and brought upon the busy fall season, Canadians and their financial advisors put a focus on getting back to school and work.

Some of the most well-read articles published on Globe Advisor in the past month explored some of the key issues related to these themes – albeit amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Although some of these pieces had little to do with the current reality, others were a direct result of it.

As such, readers were interested in stories ranging from strategies for investing within registered education savings plans (RESPs), to when to invest cash parked on the sidelines, to how financial services firms and advisors themselves are managing to reopen amid concerns from staff and clients.

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Here are 10 articles that resonated the most among advisors and investors:

Three important facts about RESPs that Canadians need to know

The RESP remains a popular and flexible tool for Canadians looking to supercharge their children’s savings for post-secondary schooling. While many are moderately versed in how this plan works, the parameters and practical uses of the RESP still cause some confusion and can lead investors to ask their advisors for some clarity. In turn, advisors say there are three important facts about the RESP that Canadians need to know.

How to reward and recognize your team during this ‘new normal’

Advisors are finding creative ways to recognize and reward their teams for the extraordinary efforts they’ve made to keep their businesses running smoothly and addressing clients’ needs during months of unprecedented stress while working away from the office. One advisor has recognized his team members by giving them a monetary reward as well as flexibility and a sense of self-direction in terms of when, where and how they do their work.

Why it pays to take a barbell approach amid the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s not easy for investors to place their bets amid a pandemic. A second wave of COVID-19 may be a catalyst to keep the work-from-home and stay-at-home stocks surging even higher. But if a vaccine gets regulatory approval in the near term, then stocks benefiting from an economic rebound will get a stronger tailwind. Given the uncertainty and potential market volatility, it pays to take a barbell approach and own stocks that can benefit from either scenario. Three fund managers provide a top pick for an ongoing COVID-19 play and another for a wager on economic recovery.

Why advisors are reconsidering investors’ appetite for risk

The speed and depth of the stock market collapse earlier this year likely caused white-knuckle moments for many investors, with some reconsidering their appetite for risk. Yet, advisors also may be questioning the appropriateness of their clients’ portfolios. Their doubts, though, are not just the result of a more uncertain investment environment, but a host of new client-focused reforms poised to sweep through the investment industry.

Three strategies to build an RESP nest egg

An RESP is an attractive way to build a nest egg to finance a child’s post-secondary education. But while low-interest rates and high stock-market valuations could make investing more challenging in this tax-deferred savings vehicle, there are different strategies that could improve potential returns. Three advisors offer investors can’t miss tips.

With so much cash sitting on the sidelines, when – and how – should investors get back in?

Volatile stock markets and reduced consumer spending during the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in many Canadians sitting on extra cash, wondering how and when to put it to work. Advisors recommend a prudent approach when investing cash in these unsettled times, not only in light of the threat of a second wave of the pandemic in the weeks ahead, but the uncertainty around the U.S. presidential election in November.

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Financial services firms, advisors navigating a cautious reopening

While concerns about children returning to school amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have been front and centre during the past few weeks, stress about returning to the office has also been simmering. In part, that has been a key reason why financial services firms and their advisors are moving ahead very cautiously in their reopening efforts.

Low interest rates create new relationship between stocks and bonds

Prices of bonds and stocks are moving in tandem, shredding the long-held investment theory that when one rises, the other falls. Risks are different for bonds, for which the coupon payments are an issuer’s contractual obligation, than for common stocks that carry no promise of returns, but the two asset classes are behaving as though they’re one and the same. This new relationship has been driven by historically low interest rates approaching zero.

Several forces driving growth of solar energy stocks

The sun has been shining on shares of solar energy companies this year as converging trends have heightened interest in the industry. Jason Bloom, director of global macro exchange-traded funds strategy at Invesco Ltd. in Chicago, and John Cook, president and chief executive at Greenchip Financial Corp. in Toronto, say several forces are behind the trend. Solar was once a new technology going through rapid evolution and dependent on government subsidies to make economic sense. Now, the industry no longer needs that financial support and technological improvements have made solar energy the cheapest source of energy in some parts of the world.

Why advisors are still missing the mark with women investors

No matter how you look at it, women are quickly amassing wealth – and that should be a wake-up call for advisors, who have a tendency to overlook and underserve women investors. There are countless figures that should make advisors realize that women are a growing market that they will need to learn to serve better. But while this is an opportunity, it also poses a problem because study after study shows advisors are failing to deliver when they work with female clients, writes Donna Bristow, managing director, North American Wealth, at Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. in Toronto.

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