John McCord discusses the importance of defining financial goals and responsibilities in his piece discussing Investment Policy Statements (IPS). While not a financial plan, an IPS is a critical component of a holistic financial plan that takes into consideration insurance, estate, and retirement planning. Critical in any client-financial advisor relationship is a mutual understanding that reflects the client’s financial planning situation. An IPS assists in this mission and details and defines a client’s needs, goals, investment knowledge, net worth, time horizon, and risk tolerance. With an IPS document, clients have a more clear understanding of a financial advisor’s investment philosophy and reference point to adjust when a change in personal financial situation occurs. Cardinal Point wealth Management works with clients to ensure a customized cross-border financial planning strategy and to develop Investment Policy Statements that reflect the unique situation of each client.
Cardinal Point’s John McCord looks at some of the key differences between a broker-dealer and a registered investment advisor (RIA). First, an RIA is held to the “fiduciary standard,” which legally requires the advisor to act in the best interest of clients and place client interests before his/her own, among other responsibilities. The broker-dealer model holds advisors to a less strict “suitability standard,” which requires that investments and services be merely suitable for clients. Compensation is another key difference, as the broker-dealer structure puts advisors under intense pressure to generate profits through higher revenue transactions. By working under the fiduciary standard, an RIA advisor is freer to focus on prudent investment processes and holistic strategies that meet client objectives. The article closes with the importance of selecting a fiduciary advisor who utilizes a fee-only compensation model and the services of a third-party custodian.
This article emphasizes the need to review financial planning and investment matters with a team well-versed in cross-border issues prior to any move, as a lack of proper planning can often result in higher taxation, poor estate planning and enhanced risk. It can be hard to identify an advisor who is qualified to offer financial advice on both sides of the border. The best strategy is to employ an advisory team that has the ability, platform and knowledge to manage assets in Canada and the U.S. under one cohesive strategy. A successful strategy requires in-depth knowledge of Canadian and U.S. tax systems and collaboration between cross-border professionals (financial advisors, CPAs, attorneys, etc.).
This article by Cardinal Point’s John McCord for the Canadian Expat Network discusses some of the common misconceptions about a move from the United States to Canada. Readers are advised to start planning with their advisor as far in advance as possible, particularly in the areas of retirement planning, deferred compensation arrangements, currency conversion, the Canadian U.S. Tax Treaty, and insurance and estate planning. The article goes on to provide actionable steps to consider when making a cross-border transition, specifically in the areas of qualified retirement plans, Roth IRAs and U.S. retirement plans.
This Investment Executive profile looks at Cardinal Point CEO and Managing Director James Sheldon and his efforts to serve clients with interests in both Canada and the United States. Sheldon’s team has spent the last three years building a wealth management firm that provides full financial planning services on both sides of the border. The fee-only firm is built largely upon referrals and provides a select group of 80 families with a seamless process for transferring and managing wealth in both the U.S. and Canada.