We hit a sad milestone in GIC investing in early April – 5-per-cent returns were no longer widely available on terms of two through five years from alternative banks.
There’s no particular significance to a return of 5 per cent – it’s just a nice, round number that corresponds to the lower range of what you might expect from stocks on an average annual basis. Adjusted for their near-zero risk profile, GICs at 5 per cent look pretty good to many investors right now
My go-to website for monitoring GIC rates is HighInterestSavings.ca, where there were two banks offering two-year guaranteed investment certificates at 5 per cent or slightly more and six banks between 5 and 5.25 per cent. Steadily over the past few months, the number of 5-per-cent options has declined.
For now, there’s one last refuge for 5-per-cent returns across all terms. Deposit brokers tracked by HighInterestSavings.ca offered returns of as much as 5.35 per cent for one year at the end of the first week of April, 5.4 per cent for two years, 5.3 per cent for three years and 5.25 per cent for four and five years. For more brokers, try the search engine offered by the Registered Deposit Brokers Association at rdba.ca/find-a-broker, or a google search.
A few things to watch out for if you want to pursue those higher rates from deposit brokers:
Rate availability: Rate specials come and go quickly, so what’s available today may not last; that said, brokers work with many GIC issuers and may have alternatives to offer.
Deposit insurance: Brokers do business with banks that are members of Canada Deposit Insurance Corp., and with credit unions that are covered by provincial deposit insurance plans; insurance company GICs are covered by Assuris, an organization that protects holders of insurance products against the failure of an insurer.
Minimum investment: To qualify for top rates, you may have to invest a minimum that could range from $25,000 to $100,000.
Your province: Some GIC issuers may not be available to Quebec residents.