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A group that stands up for the rights of everyday investors is fighting for survival. FAIR Canada needs funding, and it’s asking securities regulators for support.

FAIR is the Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights. The group was founded in 2008 to provide an independent voice to protect and advance the rights of individual investors. FAIR has been a strong voice on lots of files that have a direct impact on investors, including reforms that would set better standards for investment advice.

You can read about FAIR’s funding challenges here. Basically, it received a grant of $2-million on the condition that it raise matching funds. FAIR fell short in finding those matching funds and gave back the grant money. Now, it’s asking regulators for financial support.

FAIR deserves that funding. The group has been an articulate, rational counterbalance to Bay Street’s powerful influence over how the investment industry conducts itself. Saying yes to FAIR would be a way for regulators to demonstrate a commitment to acknowledging the needs of investors in setting policy.

If you think FAIR deserves financial support, contact the Ontario Securities Commission and say so. Phone numbers for the OSC are listed here, or you can email at

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

Men have a tough time with aging

A blogger contemplates how men seem to have a harder time than women adjusting to retirement and aging. The answer is better planning of the lifestyle side of retirement. Don’t just retire and say, now what?

How your cellphone bill and your mortgage rate are connected

Your record of paying your cellphone bill is part of what determines your credit score. Late payments can lower your score, and that can affect your ability to get a mortgage with a good interest rate.

10 attributes of great financial advisers

Reflecting on 30 years of working with advisers, an investment fund company lists 10 qualities that go into a great experience for clients. What I like about this list is that it focuses on the emotional side of the adviser-client relationship.

Best free tax-software choices

Kudos to the Savvy New Canadians blog for getting an early jump on tax-filing. There are plenty of tax-software options that cost nothing to use.

Ask Rob

Q: With so many robo investments being offered by the banks and others, is there a comparison of how well robo-advisers stack up against each other?

A: It’s extremely difficult to compare returns for robo-advisers. Briefly, not all robo firms show net returns after all fees for their model portfolios, and some have out-of-date performance numbers. Pay closer attention to fees – the lower they are, the better your chances of good returns. More on this in the recently published 2019-20 Globe and Mail Robo-Adviser Guide.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Today’s financial tool

A reader points out a way to ensure there’s some activity in your Aeroplan account over a 12-month period to prevent your miles from expiring: Just complete a survey on the AskingCanadians website and, as a reward for participating, receive points from Aeroplan or other reward programs.

Video of the week

The CBC TV show Marketplace looks into the free credit scores available online. The takeaway is that online credit scores are just an indication of how creditworthy you are and in no way definitive. Also, lenders consult scores that are different than the ones made available for free.

What I’ve been writing about

  • Should you jump on Laurentian Bank’s savings account with the 3.3-per-cent interest rate?
  • An answer for those who think credit cards are the only way to collect loyalty-reward points
  • What investors get wrong about holding cash (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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