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Though they should be paying the lowest possible fees, high-net-worth investors have the same insecurity as everyone else about the cost of investment advice.

As well they should. While the grids that investment firms use to set client fees apply lower charges for larger accounts, the overall level of transparency for all clients is generally weak. And so, a doctor with a seven-figure investment portfolio asked me not too long ago about whether he’s paying a fair cost for the investment advice he’s getting.

He has a fairly complex portfolio: The asset allocation is approx 25 per cent Canadian equity, 10 per cent U.S. equity, 10 per cent international equity, 22 per cent ‘alternative’ investments, 3 per cent emerging markets and 28 per cent fixed income. Alternative investments may include exposure to various non-traditional strategies for investing in stocks, plus exposure to commodities and currencies.

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His fee: 0.9 per cent plus a custodial fee of 0.16 per cent plus HST. To get some perspective on whether that’s fair or not, I consulted Jason Pereira, who has the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation, among many others, and is senior financial consultant at Woodgate & IPC Securities Corp. In an e-mail, Mr. Pereira offered a provisional yes as an answer about the fairness of the doctor’s fees. “That price actually looks lower than what I normally see.”

However, Mr. Pereira offered a warning on fees like this. He sees firms in the investment advice world using varying levels of fee disclosure – some showing all fees clients pay and others leaving things out. Examples:

  • Mutual funds and ETFs in a portfolio that carry their own MERS
  • Trading costs or trading expense ratios on funds.
  • Account fees (almost never included in these disclosures)
  • HST (rarely mentioned)

Mr. Pereira’s firm provides annual disclosure letters with a total fee and a breakdown of the components. He said the fee paid by the doctor with the seven-figure portfolio is fair, but only if the cost includes everything and there are no hidden extras. Next steps for this reader and all other investors wondering if they fees they’re shown are all-inclusive: Ask your adviser for a full accounting.

– Rob Carrick, Globe personal finance columnist

This is the Globe Investor newsletter, published three times each week. If someone has forwarded this e-mail newsletter to you or you’re reading this on the web, you can sign up for the newsletter and others on our newsletter signup page.

The Rundown

Six major risks facing the markets (and what to do about them)

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David Rosenberg takes a look at six top risks to the market and how investors may be able to protect themselves.

Divergent paths no longer: Trend-setting Canadian and U.S. interest rates likely to converge by year’s end

The Bank of Canada and the U.S. Federal Reserve have taken different paths over the past year and a half, with the Fed raising rates more aggressively than its Canadian counterpart. That period is now over. Interest rates in the two countries are likely to move closer together over the coming months as U.S. growth slows and Canada picks up speed. Ian McGugan reports (for subscribers).

All signs now point to a higher loonie

The Bank of Canada is on hold and the U.S. Federal Reserve is set to cut interest rates. A stronger Canadian dollar is the inevitable result. Central banks on both sides of the border provided monetary-policy guidance Wednesday, with decidedly different perspectives. Scott Barlow takes a look at the charts to see what it all means for the loonie (for subscribers).

Why wireless price cuts may be bad news for Canadian telecom investors

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Canadian telecommunications companies are cutting prices for some of their wireless services. That’s good news for phone-toting consumers, but it might not be so great for many investors. The reason? The shares of Rogers Communications Inc., BCE Inc. and Telus Corp. are trading at premium valuations relative to many of their global peers, which might not be justified in the face of rising competition. David Berman reports (for subscribers).

The week’s most oversold and overbought stocks on the TSX

The S&P/TSX Composite index’s Relative Strength Index (RSI) level of 57 puts it in the upper region of technically neutral territory, closer to the overbought sell signal of 70 than the oversold RSI buy signal of 30. There are only four benchmark constituents trading at technically attractive RSI levels below the 30 buy signal. Canntrust Holdings Inc. is the most oversold stock in the index followed by Nutrien Ltd., Canopy Growth Corp. and Blackberry Ltd. Scott Barlow examines TSX stocks (for subscribers).

After a decade of blockbuster U.S. stock returns, here’s what history suggests the odds are for a pullback

Fred Vettese looks at what history tells us about the current market run and what investors should do in these circumstances.

Others (for subscribers)

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High dividend yields in the oil patch are safe, for now

A stock market record and rising economic worry? Wall Street has a name for that

Top picks: High quality stocks with dividend yield

Seven air-industry dividend stocks to keep on your radar

Eighteen financial heavyweights filtered by safety, value investing metrics

Contra Guys: Despite its turnaround efforts, this restaurant stock isn’t worth biting into – yet

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New Brunswick watchdog issues warnings about two unregistered investment companies

Expectations are low for second-quarter U.S. bank earnings but investors still say buy

Thursday’s Insider Report: VP pockets $2-million profit in this large-cap retail stock

Thursday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades

Friday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades

Friday’s small-cap stocks to watch

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Others (for everyone)

Leveraged investing can boost returns - but do it prudently

Canadian dollar notches 9-month high, underpinned by BoC rate outlook

Three Canadian mining companies with strong upside potential

Globe Advisor

Lazy days of summer could mask investment risks, opportunities

Eight stocks for responsibly minded investors

Are you a financial advisor? Register to Globe Advisor ( for free daily and weekly newsletters, in-depth industry coverage and analysis, and access to ProStation – a powerful tool to help you manage your clients’ portfolios.

Ask Globe Investor

Are you baffled by where the stock market is headed next? You’re not the only one. Ian McGugan will outline the five indicators investors need to be following.

Do you have a question for Globe Investor? Send it our way via this form. Questions and answers will be edited for length.

What’s up in the days ahead

Click here to see the Globe Investor earnings and economic news calendar.

More Globe Investor coverage

For more Globe Investor stories, follow us on Twitter @globeinvestor

Click here share your view of our newsletter and give us your suggestions.

You may also be interested in our Market Update or Carrick on Money newsletters. Explore them on our newsletter signup page.

Compiled by Gillian Livingston

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