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The Genetic Non-Discrimination Act and its Impact on Life Insurance

One of the many advancements in medicine has been the use of genetic testing in determining the probability that an individual will develop a life- threatening illness or condition.   Knowing that you or your children are not at risk of a major illness can be of great comfort while knowledge to the contrary can be of great value in preventative treatment and planning.  There was a growing concern, however, that individuals would be very reluctant to undergo genetic testing if knowing the results could affect their ability to properly insure themselves or impact their opportunities for employment.  As a result, a private member’s bill, Bill S-201, was introduced in the senate resulting in the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act being recently enacted into law.

What does the Act do?

It is now illegal for employers, insurance companies, or any other entity or individual to require anyone to undergo genetic testing or to disclose the results of a genetic test before entering into a contract which provides goods or services.  Now, if you apply for life, disability or critical illness insurance living benefit coverage, you cannot be denied coverage due to the results of a genetic test.  Insurance companies and their agents are also prohibited from “collecting, using or disclosing” the results of a genetic test without an individual’s written consent. Penalties for not complying with the new law are severe. Read more

Insurance Audit for the Business Owner

Many business owners understand the important role that life insurance plays in effective corporate planning.  Whether it is the funding of a shareholders’ agreement, life insuring corporate debt, or protecting against loss from the death of a key employee, life insurance is of great value in underpinning the financial success of a corporation.

Just as life insurance needs for families change over time the same is also true for requirements of a business.  If it has been some time since you last reviewed your corporate needs then it is probably time for a corporate insurance audit. This is especially true if the company has grown in value since the time the insurance was first implemented.  The scope of the audit and the insurance related issues include the following: Read more

How to Keep the Family Business Thriving For Generations to Come

Most corporate dynasties fail to make it to a second generation, making these Canadian firms thriving under the leadership of the founder’s grandkids (and great-grandkids!) truly remarkable

Izzy Asper never wanted his children to work at Canwest Global Communications, the now defunct media empire he founded. His drive and hunger for acquisitions turned Canwest into one of the most powerful firms in Canada and, for a time, earned the Aspers a spot on the Rich 100. He wanted his kids to succeed elsewhere, however.

“They were all practising lawyers and were doing very nicely on their own. It was they who got this dynastic glaze in their eyes—which I generally discouraged,” he told journalist Peter C. Newman. “I don’t believe in dynasties.” But his daughter, Gail, “slipped through the net” to become general counsel at Canwest, and brothers David and Leonard followed. It was under Leonard’s stewardship that Canwest filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Read more

Preparing your Heirs for Wealth

If you think your heirs are not quite old enough or prepared enough to discuss the wealth they will inherit on your death, you’re not alone. Unfortunately though, this way of thinking can leave your beneficiaries in a decision-making vacuum: an unnecessary predicament which can be avoided by facing your own mortality and making a plan.

If you have a will in place, great. A will, however, is only a fundamental first step, not a comprehensive plan, point out authors of the 2017 Wealth Transfer Report from RBC Wealth Management.

“One generation’s success at building wealth does not ensure the next generation’s ability to manage wealth responsibly, or provide effective stewardship for the future,” they write. “Knowing the value (alone) does little to prepare inheritors for managing the considerable responsibilities of wealth.” Overall, the report’s authors say the number of inheritors who’ve been prepared hovers at just one in three. Read more

The Duties of an Executor

An executor is an individual or institution that is named in a will whose duty is to distribute estate assets according to the testator’s wishes. Acting as an executor can be stressful and time consuming so it is a good idea for a testator to make his or her choice wisely, and for someone who is asked to be an executor to investigate and review exactly what the job entails.  Often the executor is the spouse of the deceased. That tends to make the role somewhat more straightforward than it would be for a family member, friend or other acquaintance. In any event, this article covers the duties and obligations of an executor.

Arranging the funeral 

In addition to arranging the burial or cremation and funeral services according to the deceased’s wishes the executor would be responsible in ensuring that family, friends and interested parties (especially employer) have been notified about the death.  Family members will most likely assist in this including the posting of the obituary. If there are sufficient funds in the bank account of the deceased the bank will usually release  funds to cover the cost of the funeral. Read more

Why Private Wealth Management?

I am asked frequently the benefits of being in the Private Wealth Management (PWM) stream versus investing in mutual funds and/or bank funds. In order to answer this, we define PWM as the following:

  • Minimum investment $500,000
  • Custodial account (TD/National Bank/Laurentian Bank) managed by an Investment Counsellor (IC)
  • IC buys and sells securities within your account based on a rigid Investment Management Agreement (IMA) signed by you
  • A fixed fee of between 1-2% per annum is charged monthly based on the dollar amount of your account
  • The portfolio is managed according to the “discretion” of the IC, and done without your signature or acknowledgement. You give the IC the authority to trade on your behalf

Read more

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

16
Nov

Cardinal Update – November 2017

RESEARCH PROCESS IN FOCUS: IDEA GENERATION – In our regular correspondence, we tend to discuss why we bought, sold, or continue to hold stocks in the portfolio. This month, we thought it would be interesting to describe the process in how we actually come up with these ideas.

The first step is identifying the stocks we wish to research further. There is no magic formula here and we believe that the wider you cast your net, the more fish you’ll catch. Thus, we read a wide assortment of company financial reports and we also read broadly: newspapers, magazines, books, and trade journals……

COMPANY FOCUS:  INTACT FINANCIAL – A year following our initial purchase of Intact Financial, we are happy with the share price performance (up approximately 12%) and take this as an opportunity to review the thesis……

Click here to read more: Cardinal Update – November 2017

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Nov

DM Newsletter – November 2017

A RARE GREEN SHOOT ON THE SCORCHED EARTH OF RETAIL – We live in a period of rapid change. The same forces that have brought us previously unimagined technologies and conveniences, however, have also wreaked agonizing upheaval on certain parts of the economy. Perhaps nowhere has this dislocation been levelled with as much swiftness and ferocity as in the retail sector, where companies struggle to maintain relevancy and, in many cases, outright survival in the face of the “Amazon-ing” of their industry.  One-time cornerstones like Sears Canada and Toys R Us have recently filed for bankruptcy, while outlets such as Foot Locker, Kmart, and Staples are either closing stores in multiples, selling off real estate, or paddling furiously against the unrelenting tsunami of competition.

Click here to read more:  DM-Monthly-Report-Nov-17

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Oct

How to prepare your finances for maternity leave

By Helen Burnett-Nichols

Expecting your first baby? By all means get the nursery ready — but make sure you put your financial house in order, too.

Preparing for a baby is a time full of celebration, showers and shopping, but the arrival of a little one brings not only added expense for your family but also a noticeable drop in income for many new families. Read more »