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FAQ


Question: What is Continuum II's specialty?

Answer: We are a premier financial services and employee benefits firm serving business owners, professionals, executives and retirees in the GTA with investable assets of $100,000+. We help provide financial well-being for today and tomorrow assisting to make your dreams a reality.


Question: Do you have minimum asset requirements?

Answer:

For investment management, Yes. Due to the high level of account attention, institutional investment pricing, and private planning provided, it is necessary to reserve this service for clients with $100,000 or above in investable assets. if you do not currently have this minimum asset level, but extenuating circumstances exist where you may be able to reach this level in the near future, please call or email to discuss your situation. We'll review your needs and try to match as closely as possible our services to your particular situation.

For financial planning, No. This service is open for clients who seek the assistance of a CFP practitioner for the development of a new personal financial/retirement plan tailored specifically for you. We provide a written document with clear steps of action needed to bring you closer to your financial goals. if you meet the asset minimum but wish to maintain your current investment broker relationship, or you are below the minimum asset requirement, but recognize the importance of Financial Planning, this is a fee based service. A financial plan is provided to clients whose assets qualify for our Platinum or Diamond service levels.




Question: If I do not qualify for your investment minimums, can you still assist me?

Answer:

Yes, you can work with us to develop a fee for service financial plan specifically for you, while maintaining the flexibility of your own account management.




Question: What are the different kinds of investment fees?

Answer:

There are two main categories of fees, investment management fees and sales charges.

For investment management, also known as a Management Expense Ratio or MER the fee varies depending on the size of your portfolio, the investment company and the product selection. As independent Investment Advisors we are able to find the right investment at the right fee level to fit your needs. A typical MER for an investment we would recommend ranges from 1.2% to 2.5%.

There are four main types of sales charge loads. These are:

Deferred Sales Charge (DSC) - When depositing your money into a DSC investment there is no upfront charge to you, the client, but on withdrawal or transfer out there is a declining scale based on the amount of time the money has been invested. As an example, 5-6% in year 1, declining to 0% in years 6-7. Within the DSC environment, we are often able to switch between investments within the same investment company without incurring a DSC charge. Only for accounts held at Continuum II with less than $100,000 in investments, your funds will likely be purchased on a DSC basis, but with your consent in advance.

Low Load (LL) - Low Load fund charges operate similar to a DSC but offer a lower sales charge (2.5% to 3% for example) and have a much shorter schedule, often 3 years, rather than the DSC schedule of 6 or 7 years. The Low Load schedule is used for accounts held at Continuum II between $100,000 and $250,000 in investments.

No Load (NL) - A No Load fund doesn't charge a fee when units or shares are bought or sold. For accounts between $250,000 and $500,000 in investments, Continuum II is able to offer a No Load fee schedule.

Reduced Fee (F Class) - F Class differs from the above examples as it unbundles the advisor commission from the MER, and there is no LL or DSC sales charges. For $1Million+ in investments, an example of F Class would work like this: The advisor compensation of 0.75%, plus the management fee of 0.80% for a total cost before tax of 1.55%.




Question: What are the benefits of F Class funds?

Answer:

Transparency: You know exactly, and you will see, what you are paying in advisory fees.

Tax deductible fees: For non-RRSP accounts only, the fee charged by the fund company/advisor is possibly tax deductible against income.

Fee flexibility: In the F Class arena, there are no upfront or back end fees and there is added flexibility in that as your assets increase the fee charged will decrease from 1.25% at the high down to 0.6% at the low end.

You can take advantage of the referral Upgrade Program to move assets up quicker.

Unbiased advice: You can rest assured that no matter where your investments are made, the advisor compensation will remain consistent.




Question: Is there a fee for financail planning?

Answer: The fee is $240 per hour with a 2 hour minimum. Most personal family plans require 10 hours, while a plan for a business owner may require 15 to 20 hours to complete. Planning fees may be quoted higher if it is a complicated case that will require more time than normal to complete, but this will be determined and agreed upon before we begin the engagement. For qualifying clients there is no charge for the financial plan. We are happy to provide you with a sample financial plan for you to get a better understanding of what your plan may include. Please call or email us to see a sample.


Question: Are F Class fees tax deductible?

Answer: Typically, yes, with certain limitations. Registered accounts (RRSPs/RESPs/TFSAs) F Class fees are not tax deductible. For non-registered accounts, investment advice fees may be tax deductible. The fee needs to be in relation to investment advice, and should always be confirmed by your accountant.


Question: Do you offer tax or legal advice?

Answer: We have strategic partnerships with Lawyers and Accountants who provide our clients with tax or legal advice if needed upon request.


Question: Once I am setup as a new client, where are my accounts held?

Answer: Your accounts are opened in your name and your investments will never be incorporated or included with any Continuum II assets at any time. You will be provided website access through our investment dealer, Quadrus Investment Services, and/or directly with the investment company. for example, you may hold investments with Fidelity, Templeton and Invesco; through the Quadrus website you will be able to see all of your accounts with us. You will also be able to visit the websites of Fidelity, Templeton and Invesco and see your finds held at each firm.


Question: Do you offer a free initial consultaion?

Answer: Yes, when it comes to financial well-being it is important that your style matches ours so we provide maximum value, meet expectations, and build a long-term relationship. Our first meeting is called the "Is there a fit" meeting and is intended to ensure exactly that.


Question: What is comprehensive financial planning?

Answer: Comprehensive financial planning is a process that looks at the total client. It includes setting short and long-term financial goals, analyzing your situation in the areas of Retirement Planning, Retirement Income, Risk Management, Asset Management, Investment Management, Taxes, Estate Planning and Business Management. the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) practitioner then takes the information collected and designs an innovative and realistic strategy to accomplish your financial goals given the available resources.


Question: What is the difference between fee-only, fee-based and commission advisors?

Answer:

Fee-Only - Working with the advisor is based on the fee discussed and paid directly by the client. No third party commissions or other compensation is paid to the advisor. Our fee-for-service Financial Plans are a good example of this.

Fee-Based - Part fee and part commission. Advisors that are fee-based accept commissions or other compensation from third parties. It is structured similar to Fee only, but a third party will collect the fee from the client, and then pay it to the advisor in the form of a commission. F Class investments are a good example of this.

Commission Only - Commission is paid to the advisor based on products the client purchases, and unless shared by the advisor, the client is unaware of what the advisor earns. DSC investments and life insurance are good examples of this.




Question: How do Investment Advisors get paid?

Answer: Investment management client fees are deducted from the client's investment account directly by the custodian based on the type of fee. Financial planning fees are billed to the client and are typically paid by cheque.


Question: Do you work with clients remotely?

Answer: Yes, on a case-by-case basis. If interested, please contact us via our contact page.


Question: When do I need a Buy-Sell agreement?

Answer: Every business owner with partners requires a clearly written Buy-Sell agreement. Working with our Business Owner Specialist will provide you with funding solutions to meet your needs. Contact us, to get your own copy of the Buy-Sell Checklist.


Question: Which of these (RRSPs RESPs, TFSA) do I do first?

Answer: Generally, if your income is at a higher tax rate, RRSP contributions provide the best return on your saving dollar, since CRA will provide you with tax relief for every dollar contributed. Talk with one of our Wealth Strategists, who will walk through our Private Wealth Continuum ™ process designed specifically for executives and professionals to come up with the best solution for you.


Question: Is it possible to have too much in my RRSP?

Answer: Yes. While you are retired, you will want access to funds at the lowest tax rate, which means having money saved in RRSPs, TFSAs, non-registered accounts, and other tax sheltered vehicles.


Question: I want to pass my business on to my children, but I am not sure of the best way to do this. What are the tax implications?

Answer: This is a common goal of many business owners which requires a significant amount of planning to ensure the tax bill is as small as possible and the transition happens as smooth as possible. Working with Continuum II, together we will build a plan to enhance your clarity, we make the process as simple as possible helping you achieve piece of mind.


Question: What are the advantages to having a Hold Co?

Answer: There are some significant tax and estate planning advantages to owing a Holding Company. Speaking to Peter Andreana and working towards completing our Business Owner Wealth Continuum ™ process will ensure you maximize those advantages to fit your unique situation.


Question: I am losing sleep at night thinking about the impact of my death, or the death of one of my partners. How do I look after the competing interests of family and partners?

Answer: A properly structured Buy-Sell agreement coupled with sufficient Life Insurance ensure both your family’s and your business partner’s needs will be met. The goal is to keep retained earnings on hand to pay a potential future liability. Borrowing when you need the funds can be tricky at best, as lenders are reluctant to process loan applications to business owners who have recently undergone a life changing event (like the loss of a partner and the income that partner generates). A sinking fund takes years to grow. Holding on to retained earnings to fund the liability on death also limits other opportunities for growth. A large sinking fund may also be subject to the claims of creditors. Life Insurance is the most cost effective solution and the benefits arrive when needed most. Let our Business Owner Specialist show you how to create the optimal funding solution for your unique circumstances.


Question: What if I become ill or have an accident? I worry about my business partner’s ability to carry on the business in the event I am ill or disabled, let alone how he/she would buy me out in the event of a long term disability.

Answer: Many a business has failed when one of the partners became ill or had an accident that limited their ability to work. Just think, if it takes 2 or more of you to generate enough revenue to pay all of the operating costs, and provide you and your partners with a decent income, how much would your firm’s revenue drop if you were no longer in the picture? How long would your business survive without your efforts? Protecting your income and the value of your interest in the business you own is one of your highest priorities. Speak to Peter Andreana, our Business Owner specialist. He will create an Income Replacement Plan to meet your needs.


Question: Is there a way to protect my investments from potential creditors?

Answer: Yes, we have the tools to help you minimize your exposure to creditors. Certain products can offer a partial solution to your unique situation, and potential creditor protection ensuring your personal assets can remain personal. Talk to Peter Andreana our Business Owner Specialist to see what we can do for you.


Question: Why is it important to deal with a CFP professional?

Answer: Most provinces (exceptions: BC and QC) do not regulate the use of the term “financial planner.” CFP certification is your assurance that your planner has completed a rigorous course of study approved by FPSC, passed the only independently developed national comprehensive examination for financial planning (the pass rate is approximately 40%), and is committed to ongoing professional development and adherence to the professional CFP Code of Ethics and CFP Financial Planning Practice Standards developed and enforced by FPSC.


Question: What standards guide the professional conduct of a CFP professional?

Answer: The CFP Code of Ethics requires each CFP professional to adhere to ethical and behavioural principles that ensure that your best interests are always placed first.

The CFP Financial Planning Practice Standards describe what should happen during the financial planning process, providing guidance on how the CFP Code of Ethics is practically applied in every financial planning situation each step of the way.


Question: What do the letters “CFP” mean?

Answer: The letters “CFP” stand for Certified Financial Planner®. The CFP marks identify individuals who are dedicated to the highest level of professionalism in providing financial planning advice. CFP certification is a way for you to know that the planner adheres to internationally recognized professional standards of competence and ethical practice as set in Canada by the not-for-profit Financial Planners Standards Council (FPSC). CFP professional standards include requirements in education, examination, experience and ethics.


Question: How does financial planning work?

Answer: Financial planning is a process that determines how you can best meet your life goals through the proper management of your financial affairs. The key to effective financial planning is the ability to take into account all relevant aspects of your financial situation, and to identify and analyze the interrelationships among sometimes conflicting objectives. It is this unique integration of knowledge and skills across a broad range of topics that distinguishes professional financial planning from other related financial advice.


Question: How do I save for my own retirement when my assets are tied up in the business?

Answer: We have the answers to meet your needs, whether you plan to sell your business, pass it on to your children, or save for your own retirement needs. There are many tools for business owners just like yourself, designed to help you meet your goals.


Question: How did the profession of financial planning develop?

Answer: Financial planning as a distinct profession began to take shape in the late 1970s. While giving financial advice was not a new thing, it had become synonymous with the sale of products. As the general public began to show a lack of faith in public pension funds and baby boomers got older and had more disposable income, financial planning-type advice was increasingly sought. Boomers began to ask financial planning type questions of their "product" advisors - questions few "advisors" were capable of answering. The traditional pillars dictated the services provided were done piecemeal. Financial planning (using all financial factors like insurance, retirement planning, estate planning, education planning) was not available, but is available through Continuum II.


Question: How did the financial services industry in Canada develop to where it is today?

Answer: Historically, there were distinct divisions in the services offered by the various industry players. You saved your money or got a loan from a bank. You purchased stocks and bonds from a broker. You bought insurance from an insurance agent. And you bought mutual funds from a mutual funds sale rep. But the traditional "4 pillars" of the financial services industry have blurred, and what we are seeing is the one-stop shop - a convergence where most of your financial services and products can be obtained through most financial institutions.


Question: How can I be certain my financial planner is a CFP professional?

Answer: Look for the distinctive CFP certification marks: CFP flame logo, and acronym “CFP” or the words “Certified Financial Planner”. Only FPSC can authorize an individual to use these marks in Canada. You can also check the CFP Professionals in Good Standing directory at www.fpsc.ca, or call FPSC at 416.593.8587 or 1.800.305.9886 to verify a planner’s status.


Question: Do I buy RRSPs RESPs, TFSA, or pay down my mortgage?

Answer: A thorough financial analysis of your current circumstances versus your long term goals will help you to make the best decision. Working with one of our Certified Financial Planners, will provide you with the information you need to make the right choice, while taking into account the tax implications of each option.


Question: How as my advisor do you get paid?

Answer: At Continuum II we can be compensated on a fee for service basis, or commission basis, depending on your needs and preference.


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