RBC reports first quarter 2016 results

Royal Bank of Canada

Royal Bank of CanadaRoyal Bank of Canada, RBC, reported net income of $2,447 million for the first quarter ended January 31, 2016, flat from the prior year. Our results reflect higher earnings in Wealth Management which benefited from the inclusion of our acquisition of City National Bank (City National) which closed on November 2, 2015 and contributed $53 million to earnings; $107 million excluding amortization of intangibles of $31 million after-tax and $23 million after-tax of acquisition and integration costs. Results also reflect record earnings in Personal & Commercial Banking and higher earnings in Investor & Treasury Services offset by lower results in Insurance and Capital Markets. Our results include favourable foreign exchange translation. Our provision for credit loss (PCL) ratio of 0.31% increased 7 bps from the prior year, resulting from the low oil price environment. In addition, today we announced an increase to our quarterly dividend of $0.02 or 3% to $0.81 per share.

Compared to last quarter, net income decreased $146 million or 6%, mainly reflecting the prior quarter net favourable tax adjustments recorded in Corporate Support. Higher earnings in Investor & Treasury Services, Wealth Management, Personal & Commercial Banking and Capital Markets were also partially offset by lower earnings in Insurance.

We maintained a strong Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio of 9.9%, down 70 bps from the prior quarter, reflecting the impact from the closing of the City National acquisition.

“Within the context of a challenging macro environment, we delivered solid earnings of $2.4 billion this quarter, and I’m pleased to announce a 3% increase to our quarterly dividend,” said Dave McKay, RBC President and CEO. “In today’s environment, I’m confident that RBC’s diversified business model and disciplined risk and cost management approach position us well to continue to support our clients and deliver long-term value to our shareholders.”

Q1 2016 compared to Q1 2015

  • Net income of $2,447 million (flat from $2,456 million)
  • Diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.58 (down $0.07 from $1.65)
  • Return on common equity (ROE)(2) of 15.3% (down 400 bps from 19.3%)
  • Basel III CET1 ratio of 9.9% (up 30 bps from 9.6%)
Q1 2016 compared to Q4 2015

  • Net income of $2,447 million (down 6% from $2,593 million)
  • Diluted EPS of $1.58 (down $0.16 from $1.74)
  • ROE of 15.3% (down 260 bps from 17.9%)
  • Basel III CET1 ratio of 9.9% (down 70 bps from 10.6%)
____________________________________
– City National results excluding amortization of intangibles and acquisition and integration costs is a non-GAAP measure that provides readers with a better understanding of management’s perspective on our performance.
– This measure does not have a standardized meaning under GAAP.For further information, refer to the Key performance and non-GAAP measures section of our Q1 2016 Report to Shareholders.

Q1 2016 Business Segment Performance

Personal & Commercial Banking net income was a record $1,290 million, up $35 million or 3% compared to last year. Canadian Banking net income was $1,231 million, up $11 million or 1% compared to last year, driven by solid volume growth of 6% and higher fee-based revenue, mainly offset by lower spreads. Results also reflect higher costs to support business growth and higher PCL. Caribbean& U.S. Banking net income was $59 million, up $24 million from last year, largely reflecting the favourable impact of foreign exchange translation and cost management initiatives.

Compared to last quarter, Personal & Commercial Banking net income was up $20 million or 2%. Canadian Banking net income was relatively flat compared to last quarter as solid volume growth, higher fee-based revenue and lower marketing costs were largely offset by higher PCL and lower spreads. Caribbean & U.S. Banking net income was up $16 million, largely reflecting higher fee-based revenue and the favourable impact of foreign exchange translation.

Wealth Management net income of $303 million was up $73 million or 32% from last year, largely reflecting the inclusion of our acquisition of City National, which contributed $53 million to net income, after amortization of intangibles and acquisition and integration costs as noted above. Results also reflect lower restructuring costs of $19 million ($18 million after-tax) related to our International Wealth Management business, and higher earnings from growth in fee-based client assets, mainly in Canadian Wealth Management and Global Asset Management. These factors were partially offset by lower semi-annual performance fees, and lower earnings due to a decrease in transaction volumes reflecting unfavourable market conditions.

Compared to last quarter, net income was up $48 million or 19%, mainly due to the inclusion of our acquisition of City National as noted above.

Insurance net income of $131 million decreased $54 million or 29% from last year, reflecting higher claim costs, mainly in our life retrocession business, and lower earnings from a new U.K. annuity contract as compared to two new contracts last year.

Compared to last quarter, net income was down $94 million or 42%, as the prior quarter included favourable actuarial adjustments reflecting management actions and assumption changes. Higher claims costs also contributed to the decrease.

Investor & Treasury Services net income of $143 million was relatively flat from last year, primarily due to higher funding and liquidity results, the positive impact of foreign exchange translation, and increased earnings from growth in client deposits. These factors were mostly offset by higher technology initiative spend and lower custodial fees.

Compared to last quarter, net income was up $55 million or 63%, primarily due to higher funding and liquidity results reflecting stabilizing credit spreads.

Capital Markets net income of $570 million decreased $24 million or 4% from last year, primarily due to lower results in Global Markets and Corporate and Investment Banking as compared to strong levels last year, and higher PCL. These factors were partially offset by lower variable compensation, the positive impact of foreign exchange translation and a lower effective tax rate.

Compared to last quarter, net income was up $15 million or 3%, driven by higher trading results reflecting increased client activity and moderately improved market conditions, lower litigation provisions and related legal costs, and higher results in Corporate and Investment Banking. These factors were partially offset by higher PCL. In addition, our results in the prior quarter included favourable income tax adjustments.

Corporate Support net income was $10 million, largely reflecting asset/liability management activities. Net income last year was $50 million, largely reflecting a gain on sale of a real estate asset and asset/liability management activities. Net income last quarter was $200 million, mainly reflecting net favourable tax adjustments and asset/liability management activities, partially offset by transaction costs related to our acquisition of City National.

Capital – As at January 31, 2016, Basel III CET1 ratio was 9.9%, down 70 bps compared to last quarter, largely reflecting the acquisition of City National which closed on November 2, 2015, partially offset by internal capital generation.

Credit Quality – Total PCL of $410 million increased $140 million or 52% from a year ago, largely reflecting higher PCL in Capital Markets mainly due to higher provisions in the oil & gas and utilities sectors, and higher provisions in Personal & Commercial Banking largely in our personal lending and credit card portfolios. Our PCL ratio was 0.31%, up 7 bps compared to last year and up 8 bps compared to last quarter.

Total gross impaired loans (GIL) of $3,120 million increased $987 million or 46% from last year, of which $576 million is related to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation covered loans we acquired through our City National transaction. The increase in GIL was also partially due to the impact of foreign exchange translation and an increase in impaired oil & gas loans. Our GIL ratio was 0.59%, up 13 bps compared to last year and up 12 bps compared to last quarter.

CAUTION REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

From time to time, we make written or oral forward-looking statements within the meaning of certain securities laws, including the “safe harbour” provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and any applicable Canadian securities legislation. We may make forward-looking statements in this earnings release, in filings with Canadian regulators or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in reports to shareholders and in other communications. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements relating to our financial performance objectives, vision and strategic goals, and include our President and Chief Executive Officer’s statements. The forward-looking information contained in this earnings release is presented for the purpose of assisting the holders of our securities and financial analysts in understanding our financial position and results of operations as at and for the periods ended on the dates presented, our financial performance objectives, vision and strategic goals, and may not be appropriate for other purposes. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by words such as “believe”, “expect”, “foresee”, “forecast”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “estimate”, “goal”, “plan” and “project” and similar expressions of future or conditional verbs such as “will”, “may”, “should”, “could” or “would”.

By their very nature, forward-looking statements require us to make assumptions and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties, which give rise to the possibility that our predictions, forecasts, projections, expectations or conclusions will not prove to be accurate, that our assumptions may not be correct and that our financial performance objectives, vision and strategic goals will not be achieved. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on these statements as a number of risk factors could cause our actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements. These factors – many of which are beyond our control and the effects of which can be difficult to predict – include: credit, market, liquidity and funding, insurance, operational, regulatory compliance, strategic, reputation, legal and regulatory environment, competitive and systematic risks and other risks discussed in the Risk management and Overview of other risks sections of our 2015 Annual Report and in the Risk management section of our Q1 2016 Report to Shareholders; weak oil and gas prices; the high levels of Canadian household debt; exposure to more volatile sectors, such as lending related to commercial real estate and leveraged financing; cybersecurity; anti-money laundering; the business and economic conditions in Canada, the U.S. and certain other countries in which we operate; the effects of changes in government fiscal, monetary and other policies; tax risk and transparency; and environmental risk.

We caution that the foregoing list of risk factors is not exhaustive and other factors could also adversely affect our results. When relying on our forward-looking statements to make decisions with respect to us, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. Material economic assumptions underlying the forward looking-statements contained in this earnings release are set out in the Overview and outlook section and for each business segment under the heading Outlook and priorities in our 2015 Annual Report, as updated by the Overview and outlook section in our Q1 2016 Report to Shareholders. Except as required by law, we do not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by us or on our behalf.

Additional information about these and other factors can be found in the Risk management and Overview of other risks sections of our 2015 Annual Report to Shareholders and in the Risk management section of our Q1 2016 Report to Shareholders.

Information contained in or otherwise accessible through the websites mentioned does not form part of this earnings release. All references in this earnings release to websites are inactive textual references and are for your information only.

ACCESS TO QUARTERLY RESULTS MATERIALS
Interested investors, the media and others may review this quarterly earnings release, quarterly results slides, supplementary financial information and our Q1 2016 Report to Shareholders on our website at rbc.com/investorrelations.

Quarterly conference call and webcast presentation
Our quarterly conference call is scheduled for Wednesday February 24th, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. (EST) and will feature a presentation about our first quarter results by RBC executives. It will be followed by a question and answer period with analysts.

Interested parties can access the call live on a listen-only basis at: www.rbc.com/investorrelations/ir_events_presentations.html or by telephone (416-340-2217 or 1-866-696-5910, passcode 6770410#). Please call between 7:50 a.m. and 7:55 a.m. (EST).

Management’s comments on results will be posted on our website shortly following the call. Also, a recording will be available by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on February 24th, 2016 until May 25th, 2016 at: www.rbc.com/investorrelations/ir_quarterly.html or by telephone (905-694-9451 or 1-800-408-3053, passcode 9484611#).

ABOUT RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We have over 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 37 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com. RBC helps communities prosper, supporting a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2015, we contributed more than $100 million to causes around the world.

Trademarks used in this earnings release include the LION & GLOBE Symbol, ROYAL BANK OF CANADA and RBC which are trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada used by Royal Bank of Canada and/or by its subsidiaries under license. All other trademarks mentioned in this earnings release, which are not the property of Royal Bank of Canada, are owned by their respective holders.

SOURCE RBC

For further information:

Media Relations Contacts
Claire Holland, Senior Director, Communications – Financial, Technology, Risk Management claire.holland@rbc.com, 416-974-2239 or 1-888-880-2173 (toll-free outside Toronto)
Sandra Nunes, Director, Financial Communications sandra.nunes@rbc.com, 416-974-1794 or 1-888-880-2173 (toll-free outside Toronto)

Investor Relations Contacts
Amy Cairncross, VP & Head, Investor Relations amy.cairncross@rbc.com, 416-955-7803
Lynda Gauthier, Managing Director, Investor Relations lynda.gauthier@rbc.com, 416-955-7808
Stephanie Phillips, Director, Investor Relations stephanie.phillips@rbc.com, 416-955-7809
Brendon Buckler, Associate Director, Investor Relations brendon.buckler@rbc.com, 416-955-7807

Canadians to invest more internationally this year says CIBC

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Canadian Imperial Bank of CommerceThis is interesting poll conducted by CIBC which shows that even Canadian investors are not that optimistic about Canada’s economy.

Canadians investing for retirement are increasingly looking to diversify their portfolios with global equities in an attempt to boost returns, a new CIBC poll finds. Despite the lower loonie, as many as 41 per cent of investors say they are looking for opportunities outside of Canada, up sharply from only one third (31 per cent) last year.

Key poll findings include:

  • 41 per cent of Canadians investing for retirement in stocks or mutual funds this year, will invest mainly outside of Canada, up from 31 per cent in a similar poll last year
  • Of these:
  • 15 per cent plan to add exposure to the U.S.
  • 15 per cent intend to invest in emerging markets and
  • 11 per cent are looking to invest in developed markets

“While it’s natural for investors to have a ‘home bias’ by overweighting your portfolio to domestic stocks, taking a Canada-only approach can hurt returns,” says Luc de la Durantaye, Managing Director, Asset Allocation and Currency Management, CIBC Asset Management. “Canada accounts for only about three per cent of the world’s market capitalization, so diversifying geographically can strengthen your portfolio for the long-term. It significantly broadens your investment options and helps to mitigate risk.”

Searching the world and alternate asset classes for returns

Over the past 15 years, four different equity markets around the world posted the best annual returns. But, Canada’s benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index didn’t top the list once during that period. Last year, Japan’s Nikkei was the top performer, rising 9.2 per cent, while the U.S. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ranked first in 2014, returning 13.7 per cent.

The poll also showed that recent market volatility and the lower loonie are prompting nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of investors to look at so-called “alternative asset” classes, such as real estate or infrastructure, as a way to diversify and gain exposure to growth. Another 26 per cent said they wanted to learn more about alternative asset classes.

“Adding carefully selected alternative investments to a portfolio of traditional stocks and bonds is another way to diversify and can help to reduce your portfolio’s overall risk,” says Mr. de la Durantaye. “With resources and financials the two biggest weights in Canada’s equity markets, it’s important that investors diversify their holdings both geographically and between asset classes to help them meet their long-term investment goals,” he adds.

Strategies for investors striving to diversify their investments

  • Work with an advisor: A financial advisor can help you assess your portfolio and understand its overall sensitivity to stock market volatility. An advisor will help customize a plan based on long-term investment goals and help to ensure that the investments are globally diversified.
  • Consider global “balanced” investments: A strategically diversified mix of different kinds of stocks and bonds, and potentially alternative asset classes, such as infrastructure and real estate, can provide a smoother ride to investment goals by mitigating the volatility of their underlying components.

Key poll findings

Geographic region Canadians think they will mainly invest in:

Canadian stocks, incl. mutual funds holding these stocks59%
U.S. stocks, incl. mutual funds holding these stocks15%
Global stocks in emerging markets, incl. mutual funds holding these stocks15%
Global stocks in developed markets like Europe, incl. mutual funds holding these stocks11%

From January 20th to 22nd, 2016, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 1,003 Angus Reid Forum panelists who are Canadian adults with an investment portfolio for retirement. The margin of error – which measures sampling variability – is +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to age, gender and region. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About CIBC Asset Management
CAM, the asset management subsidiary of CIBC, provides a range of high-quality investment management services and solutions to individual and institutional investors. CAM’s offerings include: a comprehensive platform of mutual funds, strategic managed portfolio solutions, discretionary investment management services for high-net-worth individuals, and portfolio management for institutional clients. CAM is one of Canada’s largest asset management firms, with over $111 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2015.

About CIBC
CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units – Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Capital Markets – CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, banking centres and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Media Centre on our corporate website at www.cibc.com.

SOURCE Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

For further information:

Caroline Van Hasselt, Director, External Communications and Media Relations, 416-784-6699 or caroline.vanhasselt@cibc.com

First Real Estate Auction Set for Toronto Investor Forum

Real Estate Investor Forum Auction Property

Real Estate Investor Forum Auction PropertyU.S. based Williams & Williams, a global leader in real estate auctions has teamed with Bill White of Ontario-based Real Estate Auction Canada to bring live and interactive auctions to the Canadian marketplace. The powerhouse team, in conjunction with Pamela Mallysh Real Estate Brokerage, will auction its first joint listing on Sunday, March 6, at the Real Estate Investor Forum at the Toronto International Center, 6900 Airport Rd in Mississauga.

The auction property is a brick four-plex located at 205 Russell Ave in St. Catharines. The property is partially occupied and is available for investment or owner purchase. Bidding is open to the public for the 12:30pm auction. Bidders may bid in person at the Investment Forum, or online at AuctionNetwork.com. The Nominal Opening Bid is $50,000.

The Auction group says this event will give the Forum attendees a new perspective on auction as a sales method for real estate. “Real estate auctions in Canada are not common like they are in the United States and other countries,” says White, who is also the broker of record. “We plan to demonstrate that the concept of a time-definite sale is not only possible, but highly efficient for both buyers and sellers.”

Fontana Fitzwilson, Executive Vice President of Williams & Williams, says her company is thrilled to bring real estate auctions to Canada and sees the trend growing swiftly over the next 12 months. “Our sellers have been asking us to bring our services to Canada,” Fitzwilson says. “Many of them have holdings here and want to use auction as a strategic, time-definite disposition method.”

The high bidder of the St. Catharines property will sign a purchase contract immediately after the auction. Closing will occur in about 30 days.

To view information and photos for this auction please visit

http://www.williamsauction.com/ontario

About Williams & Williams:

Williams & Williams (www.williamsauction.com) is a worldwide real estate auction firm and the leader in global live and interactive auctions. A full-service brokerage with an operating footprint in all 50 United States and U.S. Territories, Williams & Williams also cooperatively partners with residential, commercial and land brokers to auction properties throughout the United States and abroad.

About Auction Network:

www.AuctionNetwork.com is a subsidiary of Williams, Williams & McKissick, LLC, whose holdings include Williams & Williams. Auction Network™ is a 24-hour global broad-band television network that lets bidders participate from anywhere in the world during live and online auctions.

SOURCE Williams & Williams

For further information: Cindy Dees, 918.217.6410, cindy.dees@williamsauction.com, http://www.williamsauction.com

Pensions & Benefit Complexities

Canadian Payroll Association logo

Canadian Payroll Association logo

Pension & Benefit Complexities and the Ongoing Focus on Financial Wellness Call for Compliance Knowledge from Payroll Practitioners and Employers

Even before the new Liberal government took office, the need to provide additional retirement savings to Canadians was a crucial topic. The Canadian Payroll Association’s (CPA’s) National Payroll Week research continually shows that Canadians are challenged in saving enough for their retirement goals.

With financial wellness high on the agenda of governments and employers, payroll, accounting and HR practitioners involved in pensions and benefits processing and administration must stay abreast of developments and regulation by taking ongoing pensions and benefits training to enhance their payroll compliance knowledge.

The CPA offers three pension and benefit seminars: Pensions and Benefits from a Payroll Perspective, Advanced Pension Case Studies from a Payroll Perspective, and Best Practices of Employee Group Benefits, offering the most up-to-date payroll compliance knowledge practitioners require to successfully administer their plans.

Pensions Highly Valued Among Employees and Payroll Practitioners, Survey Shows

The CPA’s recent Employment and Retirement Benefits Survey ranks pensions plans (including RRSPs, defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans) among the top 15 most common employer-provided benefits. These types of pension benefits are also viewed by payroll professionals as one of their most valued benefits, according to Hays Canada’s 2016 Payroll Salary Survey.

“With the spotlight on pensions, and their role in supporting Canadians’ retirement goals, employers and payroll practitioners must be knowledgeable in payroll compliance so they can accurately administer these plans,” said Janet Spence, the CPA’s Manager of Compliance Services and Programs. “The Canadian Payroll Association’s Professional Development Seminars help to achieve this goal.”

Pension Legislation and Regulations Have Payroll Implications

Governments continue to discuss pension legislation – from potential Canada Pension Plan (CPP) enhancements to the Ontario Government’s proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP). The CPA’s Professional Development Seminars help payroll practitioners and their employers navigate legislation and regulation to ensure compliance.

“The Association works collaboratively with all levels of government to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of payroll-impacting legislation, regulations and administration for all stakeholders,” says Rachel De Grace, the CPA’s Manager of Advocacy and Legislative Content. “We are thankful to be a part of the Ontario Government’s ongoing Pre-Budget and ORPP consultations to provide our recommendations on pension reform from an employer perspective and we look forward to carrying on this working relationship.”

Payroll Compliance Resources Available for All Levels

Payroll practitioners rely on the CPA to communicate and advise on legislative updates that impact payroll, including those related to pensions and benefits. The Association continually updates its payroll compliance tools and resources and Payroll Best Practices Guidelines to provide the most current payroll compliance information.

The CPA offers over 20 different Professional Development Seminars across Canada, for members and non-members in payroll, accounting, finance and human resources professionals who recognize the value of payroll compliance knowledge.

For a complete listing of seminar dates and for more information on the Canadian Payroll Association’s Professional Development Seminars, Certification Programs and Benefits of Membership, visit payroll.ca / paie.ca.

About the Canadian Payroll Association:
Canada’s 1.5 million employers rely on payroll practitioners to ensure the timely and accurate annual payment of $901 billion in wages and taxable benefits, $305 billion in statutory remittances to the federal and provincial governments, and $169 billion in health and retirement benefits, while complying with more than 200 federal and provincial regulatory requirements. Since 1978, the Canadian Payroll Association has annually influenced the payroll compliance practices and processes of over 500,000 organizational payrolls. As the authoritative source of Canadian payroll compliance knowledge, the Canadian Payroll Association promotes payroll compliance through education and advocacy.

SOURCE Canadian Payroll Association

For further information contact:
Alison Rutka
Communications Specialist
alison.rutka@payroll.ca
416-487-3380 x 125

Real Estate Lawyers .ca Expands to Serve the Greater Toronto Area and Beyond

real estate lawyers

A local real estate law firm, Real Estate Lawyers .ca, recently announced their Southern Ontario expansion to better serve the hundreds of thousands of real estate transactions in the Golden Horseshoe area. Real Estate Lawyers.ca LLP has comprehensive expertise and exclusive proprietary technologies to help clients, buy property, sell property, refinance property and transfer property, both residential and commercial. Also, because Real Estate Lawyers.ca LLP has multiple real estate lawyers, it can close both ends of a transaction, the buy and sell side, and also, real estate agents can refer all their business to our firm without contravening RECO rules because our firm has more than three real estate lawyers. Effective immediately, the firm will begin offering their services throughout the Greater Metro Toronto area and the Golden Horseshoe area and beyond, including cities such as Ottawa, North York, Scarborough, Burlington, Oakville, Markham, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, Vaughan, Oshawa, Ajax, Pickering, Whitby, Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, London, St. Catharines, Milton, Guelph, Niagara Falls, Barrie, Orangeville, Newmarket and Etobicoke.

“We are very excited to announce our expansion into these major cities. Our services have helped thousands of people throughout the Toronto area, and we are sure that the residents of these other local areas will greatly benefit from our skilled staff of real estate lawyers. Whether someone is looking to buy or sell their home or property, refinance their mortgage, or transfer ownership, our friendly and dedicated staff can help,” says Shayle Rothman, Founding Partner at Real Estate Lawyers.ca LLP

In addition to property buying, selling, refinancing and transfer of ownership services, the firm also offers a wide variety of other services including asset transactions, commercial lease reviews, federal and provincial incorporation, and joint venture agreement services. The firm also offers services such as wills, estates and probate.

About Real Estate Lawyers.ca LLP
The dedicated legal staff at the firm work hard to ensure their clients legal rights and best interests are protected throughout every property transaction. From reviewing legal documents to finalizing transactions, the team of lawyers at Real Estate Lawyers.ca LLP take pride in their skills and commitment to serve their clients throughout the Greater Metro Toronto Area, Golden Horseshoe area and all Southern Ontario. Their main office is located in the heart of Toronto at the corner of Bay and King Street, but with the firm’s expansion, they also have offices in most major cities outside Toronto. Best of all, included in their flat rate legal fees is free mobile service, where the law firm comes to you, at home or at work or anywhere else you chose, evenings or weekends too, no more wasting vacation days or missing work to complete a real estate transaction.

For more information about Real Estate Lawyers.ca LLP or to find a nearby office, please visit www.RealEstateLawyers.ca or call toll-free 855-466-3801

Media Contact:
Real Estate Lawyers.ca LLP
Address: 100 King Street West, Suite 5700, Toronto, Ontario, M5X 1C7, Canada
Phone: 647-497-5704
Media Relations Contact
Scott Hayes

Ontario Retirement Pension Plan

current rates

current rates

Ontario Takes the Next Step Towards Strengthened Retirement Income Security

Ontario has announced new decisions on the proposed design of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) — another step in delivering on its commitment to strengthen retirement income security for the two-thirds of Ontario workers without a secure workplace pension plan.

Premier Kathleen Wynne joined Minister of Finance Charles Sousa and Associate Minister of Finance Mitzie Hunter today to share information on a range of decisions, including the structure of ORPP benefits, compliance and enforcement, plan comparability and member participation.

The government also released details on the ORPP’s funding policy.

The details released today, combined with details released last August, will help employers prepare for the implementation of the ORPP, beginning on January 1, 2017.

Ontario has made significant progress on the ORPP in recent months. This includes the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Administration Corporation appointing a CEO and Board of Directors, passing two pieces of enabling legislation and releasing key design and implementation details.

Studies show that many Ontarians are not able to save enough to maintain a similar standard of living when they retire. For many workers, long-term, full-time employment with pension benefits is no longer attainable. Today’s announcement brings the government closer to achieving its goal of ensuring that every eligible Ontario employee is part of the ORPP or a comparable workplace pension plan by 2020.

ORPP plan design details have now been shared with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Building a secure retirement savings plan is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan also includes investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history and creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives.

Quick Facts

  • Pension coverage is lower for young workers than for any other age group. Only about one quarter of Ontario workers aged 25 to 34 participated in a workplace pension plan in 2012, compared to nearly half of workers aged 45 to 54.
  • The ORPP would expand pension coverage to more than 4 million workers. It would provide a predictable, reliable and inflation-indexed stream of income in retirement by replacing up to 15 per cent of an individual’s earnings, up to $90,000 (in 2017 dollars).
  • Enrolment would be phased in to ensure that the ORPP is focused on workers without access to a workplace pension plan, and to give employers time to adapt.
  • Under the proposed phase-in, plan members would start making contributions in 2017 and the ORPP would start providing benefits in 2022.

Background Information

Additional Resources

Quotes

Kathleen Wynne

“Our government is unwavering in its focus on ensuring a financially secure retirement for every worker in our province through the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, and I am committed to ensuring that Ontarians have a strong, stable and prosperous retirement. Today’s announcement brings us another step closer to achieving this goal.”

Kathleen Wynne

Premier of Ontario

Charles Sousa

“After a lifetime of contributing to the economy, every Ontarian deserves a secure retirement. In the long-term, the economy will also benefit from the increase of investments and savings. Ontarians deserve a secure retirement and a strong economy, and the ORPP will help us achieve that goal.”

Charles Sousa

Minister of Finance

Mitzie Hunter

“We’ve shown tremendous progress on our commitment to build the ORPP as a strong, stable and sustainable plan. This puts us on the right course to ensure Ontario workers are able to achieve the retirement security they deserve. We know that people need a reliable, predictable plan that will support workers today, tomorrow and for generations to come.”

Mitzie Hunter

Associate Minister of Finance (Ontario Retirement Pension Plan)

Press release by the Province of Ontario.

Tapping your RRSP before retirement?

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

CIBC National debt poll

Beware of the do’s and don’ts around Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) if you’re planning to make a contribution or an early withdrawal, says Jamie Golombek, Managing Director, Tax & Estate Planning, CIBC Wealth Advisory Services.

“It’s tempting to tap your RRSPs for an emergency, but RRSPs should generally be viewed as long-term savings tools,” says Mr. Golombek, who recently issued a new report, Ten RRSP Hacks. “Borrowing money from your RRSP can make sense if you use the funds prudently to fund longer term goals that deliver their own return, such as buying a home, which hopefully increases your net worth, or investing in your education, which may help boost your earnings potential.”

A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), which allows you to recontribute any amounts withdrawn in a future year, may be a better option if you need more flexibility with your finances, he says.

Using an RRSP to help buy your first home

Under the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP), you can withdraw up to $25,000 from your RRSP to purchase a new home. Your spouse or partner may also be able to withdraw $25,000, for a combined total of $50,000. To take advantage of the HBP, you need to be a “first-time home buyer”, which is generally defined as someone who hasn’t owned a home in the past five years.

“This is a smart option for first-time home-buyers who are just pulling together their funds,” says Mr. Golombek. “It can help you meet your down-payment requirements and save you a lot of money on a mortgage loan insurance you might otherwise need.”

Amounts withdrawn under the HBP, however, must be repaid over a maximum of 15 years or the amount not repaid in a year is added to your income and becomes taxable.

Using an RRSP to go back to school

Through the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP), you can borrow $10,000 a year, up to a total of $20,000, from your RRSP to finance your education. To take advantage of this plan, you must be enrolled or must have received an offer to enroll on a full-time basis in a qualifying Canadian or foreign educational institution. The funds can then be used for any purpose with no proof of expenses required, and must be repaid over a 10-year period. The LLP cannot be used to fund your child’s education.

With both the HBP and LLP, there are no penalties for paying back the funds earlier than required. “If you repay early, you can benefit from the tax-free compounding of investment returns inside your RRSP as soon as possible,” says Mr. Golombek.

Resist using your RRSP as an emergency fund

While an RRSP can help fund long-term financial goals, it should generally not be viewed as a go-to emergency fund, he says.

RRSP withdrawals are taxable at your marginal tax rate and are subject to immediate withholding taxes when withdrawn.

“If you dip into your RRSP for extra cash, you will not only be taxed, but you will lose the ability to recontribute those funds to your RRSP without generating additional room,” says Mr. Golombek.

If you think you may have to draw on your long term savings before retirement, a TFSA may be the better option because it offers more flexibility.

A financial advisor or tax expert can help you determine the best option for your retirement savings. This year’s deadline to make a RRSP contribution is Feb. 29.

“Regardless of whether you opt for an RRSP or a TFSA, the important thing is to save so you can meet your life goals today and in retirement,” says Mr. Golombek.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units – Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Capital Markets – CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, banking centres and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Media Centre on our corporate website at www.cibc.com.

SOURCE Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

For further information: Caroline van Hasselt, Director, External Communications, at 416-784-6699 or Caroline.VanHasselt@cibc.com

RELATED LINKS
http://www.cibc.com

Bank of Canada Holds Interest Rate

mortgage interest rates

mortgage interest rates

Today the Bank of Canada kept the overnight lending rate at 0.5% after cutting it twice last year. This rate is what the banks charge each other for short-term loans and generally affects retail mortgage rates. Many economists had predicted a rate drop of 0.25% although that would have further weakened the Canadian dollar.

The Bank of Canada’s official news release is below.

The Bank of Canada today announced that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1/2 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 3/4 per cent and the deposit rate is 1/4 per cent.

Inflation in Canada is evolving broadly as expected. Total CPI inflation remains near the bottom of the Bank’s target range as the disinflationary effects of economic slack and low consumer energy prices are only partially offset by the inflationary impact of the lower Canadian dollar on the prices of imported goods. As all of these factors dissipate, the Bank expects inflation will rise to about 2 per cent by early 2017. Measures of core inflation should remain close to 2 per cent.

The dynamics of the global economy are broadly as anticipated in the Bank’s October Monetary Policy Report (MPR), with diverging economic prospects and shifting terms of trade. China continues its transition to a more sustainable growth path and the expansion in the United States is on track, despite temporary weakness in the fourth quarter of 2015. The U.S. Federal Reserve has begun to gradually withdraw its exceptional monetary stimulus. While risks to the world outlook remain and have been reflected in sharp price movements in a range of asset classes, global growth is expected to trend upwards beginning in 2016.

Prices for oil and other commodities have declined further and this represents a setback for the Canadian economy. GDP growth likely stalled in the fourth quarter of 2015, pulled down by temporary softness in the U.S. economy, weaker business investment and several other temporary factors. The Bank now expects the economy’s return to above-potential growth to be delayed until the second quarter of 2016. The protracted process of reorientation towards non-resource activity is underway, helped by stronger U.S. demand, the lower Canadian dollar, and accommodative monetary and financial conditions.  National employment remains resilient despite job losses in the resource sector and household spending continues to expand.

The Bank projects Canada’s economy will grow by about 1 1/2 per cent in 2016 and 2 1/2 per cent in 2017. The complex nature of the ongoing structural adjustment makes the outlook for demand and potential output highly uncertain. The Bank’s current base case projection shows the output gap closing later than was anticipated in October, around the end of 2017. However, the Bank has not yet incorporated the positive impact of fiscal measures expected in the next federal budget.

All things considered, therefore, the risks to the profile for inflation are roughly balanced. Meanwhile, financial vulnerabilities continue to edge higher, as expected. The Bank’s Governing Council judges that the current stance of monetary policy is appropriate, and the target for the overnight rate remains at 1/2 per cent.

Information note:

The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is 9 March 2016. The next full update of the Bank’s outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the MPR on 13 April 2016.

Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits effective Jan 1, 2016

cpp oas

cpp oas

Employment and Social Development Canada today announced the benefit amounts for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) effective January 1, 2016.

CPP benefits will increase by 1.2 percent for those already receiving CPP benefits. For 2016, the maximum CPP retirement benefit for new recipients age 65 will be $1,092.50 per month, an increase of $330 for the year compared to the 2015 maximum CPP retirement benefit.

The new CPP rates will be in effect until December 31, 2016. CPP benefits are revised once a year, in January, based on changes over the 12-month period (November 2014 to October 2015) in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is the cost-of-living measure used by Statistics Canada.

OAS benefits, which consist of the basic OAS pension, the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and the Allowances, will increase by 0.1 percent for the first quarter of 2016 (January to March). As of January 1, 2016, the basic OAS pension will increase from $569.95 to$570.52 per month.

OAS benefits are also based on the CPI, but are reviewed quarterly (in January, April, July and October) and revised as required to reflect increases in the cost of living as measured by the CPI. Although OAS and CPP benefits are not indexed at the same time, they are both adjusted with the cost of living over a given year.

Quick Facts

  • The Old Age Security (OAS) program and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) enhance the quality of life of Canadian seniors by providing a modest base upon which to build additional income for retirement.
  • The OAS program is funded through general tax revenues and provides a basic monthly income for Canadian seniors. For 2014–15,$44.1 billion in OAS benefits were provided to 5.6 million individuals.
  • The CPP is funded through contributions by Canadian workers, their employers and the self-employed and through investment earnings on the Plan’s funds. In addition to retirement benefits, the Plan provides disability, death, survivor and children’s benefits.

Quote

“I would like to reiterate the government’s commitment to improve the income security of seniors, which includes increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors who live alone, indexing Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement payments to a new senior’s price index, and cancelling the increase in the age of eligibility, from 65 to 67 years, for Old Age Security.”
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Associated Link

For up-to-date CPP and OAS benefit amounts, please visit http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/cpp/oas/payments.page.

Backgrounder

The CPP is a stable, well-designed plan that is portable from province to province. According to the 2013 Chief Actuary Report, the CPP is expected to meet its obligations and remain financially sustainable over the long-term under the current contribution rate of 9.9 percent.The OAS program is funded through general tax revenues and provides a basic monthly income for Canadian seniors.

The GIS and the Allowances provide additional income to low-income pensioners, their spouses or common-law partners, and eligible survivors. These benefits are income-tested. This means that a person’s entitlement depends on their previous year’s net annual income, or the combined net income with their spouse or common-law partner, excluding the OAS pension.

The OAS program has played a major role in reducing the incidence of low-income among seniors. In 2013, the rate of low-income among seniors was 3.7 percent. Canada now has one of the lowest rates of low-income among seniors in the world.

Source: Employment and Social Development Canada

New Mortgage Rules Bad For Realtors

Realtor Financing

Realtor Financing

The new mortgage rules talked about below are only for CMHC insured mortgages and do not apply to other insurers. Once the new rules are implemented in February 2016, someone purchasing a $750,000 home would need to have a minimum down payment of $50,000, which is what you get when you add five per cent of $500,000 and 10 per cent of the remaining $250,000. I’m not sure this will affect many first time buyers who are the ones mainly using mortgage insurance.

New Canadian mortgage rules could soon cool down housing prices, and put the ice on commissions for Realtors. Canada’s new Liberal government announced last week new minimum down payment requirements in order to control what it sees as inflated housing prices in many of the country’s large urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver. Buyers will now have to cough up a minimum of 10% (instead of 5%) for homes valued between $500,000 and $999,999.

“These changes are not good for Realtors, especially those in BC and Alberta. We expect to see fewer home sales, and lower commissions earned in 2016 when the rules take effect,” said Ryan Suchet, President of Capital Growth Financial Corporation, a company dedicated to providing commission advances to Canadian real estate agents.

According to CIBC World Markets, Calgary, Edmonton, and Victoria will see 7-10% of home sales affected negatively. On the heels of the slowing oil market, this comes as another major blow to Calgary where 86% of new single-family homes are over $500,000.

“These new rules mean less demand and consequently lower prices for homes in that range,” said Suchet. “As a Realtor, you’re going to be working harder and earning less on those sales. Now more than ever, agents are going to need our commission advance service.”

Suchet believes financing will now become more complicated for the buyer due to proposed changes on mortgage companies, leading to more deals falling through. This will also put more pressure on the market resulting in lower commissions.

Capital Growth Financial Corporation is a Canadian company that provides commission advances to Realtors. The company will provide the agents much of their commission now, so they don’t have to wait – sometimes months – for their payments after the closing date.

Commission advances are provided to Realtors from all brokerages in Canada, from the large multinationals, to the small independent offices. Most customers receive their commission same-day from Capital Growth’s professional support team. Click here to learn more.

SOURCE Capital Growth Financial Corporation

For further information: Capital Growth Financial Corporation, Ryan Suchet, E-mail: ryan@capitalgrowth.ca, Phone: 1-888-818-9621

RELATED LINKS
www.capitalgrowth.ca

Capital Growth offers loans to real estate agents on future incoming commissions at an interest rate of .069% per day which works out to about 25% per year.

CREA Forecasting 8% Price Increase in Ontario

Canadian Real Estate Association

Canadian Real Estate Association

I think it is only fair to point out that the real estate forecast below, was done by the CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association) who have a vested interest in people believing house prices are still going up, and therefore a good investment. It is only a forecast based on the market’s past behaviour and what the CREA hopes will happen. Home prices are actually on the decline in many parts of Canada and interest rates have started climbing.

CREA 2016 Market Forecast

Press Release – Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador are forecast to see average home prices decline by 2.5 per cent, 1.2 per cent and one per cent respectively in 2016, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). The downturn in the oil industry may be one of the major reasons for the decline.

British Columbia will be the only province this year where average home prices rise faster (+11.5 per cent) than the national average. The rise in Ontario’s average price (+8.0 per cent) is forecast to be roughly in line with the national increase. CREA says that low interest rates will assist sales but that the federal government’s recent reforms to mortgage lending rules will have a negative effect beyond its intended targets in the Vancouver and Toronto areas. New mortgage rules will also likely reduce sales activity in Calgary once they take effect early next year.
The forecast for national sales in 2015 has been revised higher, reflecting stronger than anticipated activity in B.C. and Ontario. National sales are now projected to rise by five per cent marking the second strongest year on record for home sales in Canada.
British Columbia is projected to post the largest annual increase in sales activity in 2015 (+21.4 per cent), while home sales in Ontario are projected to rise by 9.3 per cent. The increase would in all likelihood be higher were it not for a shortage of low rise homes available for purchase in and around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Sales in Quebec and New Brunswick are forecast to rise by 4.8 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively while activity in Prince Edward Island, having benefitted from the lower Canadian dollar, is expected to be up 18.8 per cent from 2014 levels.
CREA is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 111,000 REALTORS® working through 90 real estate Boards and Associations.

Borrowell Gives $100 Amazon Gift Card

Borrowell Personal Loans

Borrowell Personal Loans

Borrowell is an online lender which offers unsecured loans in direct competition with the big banks. As a holiday promotion they are offering a $100 gift card to Amazon to anyone who anyone who takes out a loan with then by December 31st. 2015.

Personal loans

With companies such as Borrowell are great alternatives to carrying a balance on your credit or store cards. Apply now before the Visa bill show up in January and save some money.

Apply Here! Approved in minutes.

Borrowell

111 Richmond Street West Suite 500
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2G4 Canada

News Release:

Borrowing for Canadians just got smarter. Borrowell, the new marketplace lending platform, offers affordable, fixed-interest loans giving Canadians a smarter way to manage their debt. The online platform accepts applications from Canadians with good credit scores who want better alternatives to high interest rates on credit cards and avoid the inconvenience of bank loans.

According to Equifax, Canadians currently hold over $80 billion in credit card debt with a typical interest rate of 19.9 per cent or higher. Borrowell is designed to let responsible Canadians be smarter about their borrowing, and customizes interest rates based on the borrower’s credit profile. The marketplace lending platform offers loans up to $35,000 on three and five-year terms with rates starting from 5.9% APR. Interest rates are fixed, loans are fully paid off at the end of the term and there are no early pre-payment fees.

“We believe Canadians deserve better borrowing options,” says Andrew Graham, CEO, Borrowell. “We reward responsible Canadians who have good credit by giving them an affordable alternative to the traditional, expensive and cumbersome options currently available. Our goal is to help Canadians conquer debt by giving them a smarter solution.”

How It Works
Borrowell matches people who want to borrow with lenders who want to lend money to responsible Canadians. Its proprietary technology does the matching quickly and securely. Borrowell operates exclusively online, cutting down on cost and complexity to pass the savings on to the borrower.

Growing Popularity of Marketplace Lending
Marketplace lending is disrupting traditional borrowing. In the US and UK, online marketplace lenders have served over one million customers to date. Goldman Sachs estimates online lending could grow to take over $1.7 trillion of an addressable $4 trillion of debt. In the past year, the industry has seen rapid growth and has been named ‘Innovation of the Year’ by American Banker.

“We’re seeing massive growth in marketplace lending around the world,” said John Bitove, Canadian businessman and Borrowell investor. “With Toronto-based Borrowell entering the market, Canadians now have an innovative and smarter way to borrow money, allowing them to get a better handle on their debt.”

In December 2014, Borrowell received $5.4 million in seed funding and loan capital. Key investors include Equitable Bank and Oakwest Corporation Limited, a private investment company owned and managed by the Beutel family. In addition to John Bitove, notable individual investors include Roger Martin, Dan Debow and Joe Canavan.

To learn more, visit www.borrowell.com.

About Borrowell Personal Loans
Borrowell is an online marketplace lending platform that provides responsible Canadians with better borrowing options. Its affordable, fixed-interest loans are funded by carefully selected institutional investors, allowing the company to offer better rates, better service and a better customer experience. Borrowell’s institutional partners include Equitable Bank and Oakwest Corporation. More information is available at: www.borrowell.com

SOURCE Borrowell

SecurOption – Lifetime Retirement Income

SecurOption Pension Plan

SecurOption Pension Plan

A Financial Group Launches its new Version of SecurOption – Lifetime Retirement Income

iA Financial Group (Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.) is proud to launch the improved version of SecurOption – Lifetime Retirement Income, the guaranteed lifetime retirement income option of its group retirement plans.

SecurOption is a simple, innovative and distinctive option offered in the iA Financial Group’s DPSPs and group RRSPs. It allows members to build guaranteed lifetime retirement income the amount of which is known in advance, through their accumulation plan. The first version of SecurOption made iA Financial Group a leader in group retirement plans offering income security. With its new solution, which provides an increase to the annuity based on the amount as well as the complete integration of data in all its tools, iA Financial Group meets a challenge in terms of innovation and makes the retirement planning process significantly easier for its clients while reducing the risk related to increased longevity.

“SecurOption addresses our clients’ dire need for income security.  Many members of defined contribution retirement plans have less tolerance to risks related to financial markets, worry about outliving their savings, and look for new ways to ensure a guaranteed retirement income supplement for their retirement. With SecurOption, our innovative solution, we meet this new needs”, states Renée Laflamme, Executive Vice‑President, Group Benefits and Retirement Solutions.

The new version of SecurOption is described in detail at securoption.com/advisor. With this initiative, iA Financial Group demonstrates once again that it offers smart and high-performance solutions as well as superior services in order to build with its clients long-term relationships focused on simplicity.

About Group Savings and Retirement
Group Savings and Retirement has been administering pension funds for more than 60 years. It offers a wide range of products and services adapted to the needs of savings and retirement plan members. With regional offices across Canada, it is one of the largest group savings and retirement service providers in the country.

About iA Financial Group
Founded in 1892, iA Financial Group offers life and health insurance products, savings and retirement plans, RRSPs, mutual and segregated funds, securities, auto and home insurance, mortgages and car loans, and other products and services for both individuals and groups. It is among the four largest life and health insurance companies and one of the largest publicly traded companies in Canada. iA Financial Group stock is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol IAG.

 

SOURCE Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

For further information: Pierre Picard, Manager, Public Relations, Office phone: 418-684-5000, ext. 11660, Email: pierre.picard@ia.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.inalco.com

Please note: This post for information purposes – The Mortgage Wellness Group only arranges mortgage products through Industrial Alliance and does not have any information or dealings in the above mentioned products and services.

What can seniors expect from the Liberals?

Canadian Seniors
Canadian Seniors
What can seniors expect from the Liberals?

Canadian seniors worried about finances may be wondering what changes they can expect now that a majority Liberal government has been elected.

“The comments we hear from seniors, every day, are that government changes are needed to areas affecting finances. Some are struggling while others face dire financial challenges,” notes Yvonne Ziomecki, SVP, HomEquity Bank, the only bank dealing exclusively with seniors.

“The most important promise of the Liberal government to retirees is what it won’t do and that is end pension income splitting. My spouse and I split my pension income. At the same time, the Trudeau government will introduce a new Seniors Price Index to ensure that Old Age Security benefits keep up with actual rising costs. Both policies will help us to remain in our home, which is a major priority for us,” explains Joyce Wayne, Professor Emeritus Journalism, Sheridan College and blogger, www.retirementmatters.ca

“On the downside, Justin Trudeau has pledged to cut the Tax Free Saving Account yearly contribution from $10,000 back to $5,500.  The increased TSFA limit was a critical piece of my retirement plan. Now I must calculate how much faster I’ll need to withdraw funds from my RRSP, and that means adding to my taxable income,” she adds.

According to the Liberal party website ‘Retirement Security For Our Seniors’ section, the new government plans to:

  • Restore eligibility for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to 65, allocating an average of $13,000 annually to the lowest income Canadians as they become seniors.
  • Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement for single, lower income seniors by 10% providing up to an additional $920 per year for Canada’s lowest income seniors. Current benefits generally ensure couples are able to stay out of poverty, however more than one in four single seniors is defined as low income. This will allocate $840 million by 2019 and benefit 1.25 million seniors, including 900,000 single women.
  • Develop a new measure for the cost of living faced by seniors: the Seniors Price Index. OAS and GIS will be indexed to this new, more accurate and more generous measure, rather than to the Consumer Price Index that reflects the wider population.  In periods when the Consumer Price Index grows faster than the Seniors Price Index, the traditional Consumer Price Index will be used. Pension income splitting will remain.
  • Work with provinces and territories, workers, employers and retiree organizations to enhance the Canada Pension Plan.
  • Introduce a more flexible and accessible Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefit so six months of benefits are available to those who provide care to a seriously ill family member, rather than only those caring for a loved one at risk of death.
  • Commit to a new, 10-year investment of $20 billion in social infrastructure, prioritizing significant new investment in affordable housing and seniors facilities.

HomEquity Bank, the only Canadian bank working exclusively with seniors, helps elderly people remain in their homes through its CHIP reverse mortgage solution, www.chip.ca and Income Advantage products. Seniors can supplement their income via reverse mortgage monthly or lump sum payments.

If you are looking for more information on a CHIP Reverse Mortgage please give me a call at 705-717-5598 or 647-559-5049 or email me at mcurry(at)mortgagewellness.ca. You can also use the Reverse Mortgage Calculator to see how much you would qualify for and get pre-qualified in minutes.

Michael Curry
Certified Reverse Mortgage Specialist
HomEquity Bank

The Mortgage Wellness Group Ltd.

About HomEquity Bank

HomEquity Bank is a Schedule 1 Canadian Bank offering the CHIP reverse mortgage solution www.chip.ca. The company was founded 29 years ago as an annuity based solution addressing the financial needs of Canadians who want to access the equity of their top asset – their home.

For further information: or to interview Yvonne Ziomecki or Joyce Wayne, please contact: Teresa Donia, iAMBIC Communications, teresa@iambic.ca, 905-508-5550; Yvonne Ziomecki, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales, HomEquity Bank, yziomecki@homequitybank.ca, 647-723-6812

CHIP Mortgage Trust Announces Redemption of Medium Term Notes

Homequity Bank

Homequity Bank

CHIP Mortgage Trust (“CMT” or the “Trust”) announced that it will redeem $100,000,000 principal amount of Series 2011-1 senior medium term notes (the “Notes”), on a pro-rata basis, on January 5, 2016. The redemption price will be $101,922,934.25, which includes accrued and unpaid interest to the Early Redemption Date. Further notice(s) may be issued to redeem the remaining $51,700,000 principal of the Notes prior to the expected final payment date of February 1, 2016.

The funds used to redeem the Notes were sourced from a combination of cash flow generated in the normal course of business, and from the issuance of Guaranteed Investment Certificates (“GICs”) by HomEquity Bank. HomEquity Bank has increased the diversification of its sources of funding, adding three major distribution relationships in the last 12 months.

“We are extremely satisfied with our ability to redeem the Notes early,” said Steven Ranson, President and Chief Executive Officer. “HomEquity Bank’s access to funds through the issuance of GICs has significantly enhanced our liquidity management capabilities, and has provided additional financial flexibility in our funding operations.”

Forward Looking Statements

CMT from time to time makes written and verbal forward-looking statements about business objectives, operations, performance, and financial condition, including, in particular, forecasted mortgage origination growth, as well as the likelihood of its success in developing and expanding its business. Forward–looking statements are typically identified by words such as “will”, “should”, “believe”, “expect”, “forecast”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “estimate”, “plan”, “may” and “could”.  These statements may be included in CMT’s annual and quarterly reports, regulatory filings, press releases, presentations and other communications. These forward-looking statements are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the control of CMT. The uncertainties and contingencies include, but are not limited to, risks related to capital markets and additional funding requirements, credit and underwriting risk, fluctuating interest rates, asset quality and rates of default as well as those factors discussed in the documents filed on SEDAR. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.  CMT does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or verbal, that may be made from time to time, except as required under applicable securities legislation.

About CHIP Mortgage Trust

CMT is a wholly owned subsidiary of HomEquity Bank. HomEquity Bank is a Schedule 1 Canadian bank and is the only national provider of reverse mortgages to homeowners aged 55 and over, Canada’s fastest growing demographic segment. HomEquity Bank originates and administers Canada’s largest portfolio of reverse mortgages under the CHIP Reverse Mortgage ™ and Income Advantage ™ brands. HomEquity Bank has been the main underwriter of reverse mortgages in Canada since its predecessor, Canadian Home Income Plan, pioneered the concept in 1986.

CMT, a special purpose entity, finances a portion of HomEquity Bank’s reverse mortgage portfolio, which totalled approximately $1.9 billion as at September 30, 2015, with medium term notes.

SOURCE CHIP Mortgage Trust

For further information: Steven Ranson, President and Chief Executive Officer (416) 413-4663, or John Garofano, Treasurer (416) 413-4674.

HomEquity Bank

1881 Yonge Street, Suite 300
Toronto,ON M4S 3C4

For other bank inquiries:
Toll Free: 1-866-522-2447
Local: 416-925-4757

New Mortgage Down Payment Rules

Mortgage Down Payment Rules Changing
Mortgage Down Payment Rules Changing
Finance Minister Bill Morneau

Government of Canada Takes Action to Maintain a Healthy, Competitive and Stable Housing Market

December 11, 2015, Ottawa, Ontario, Department of Finance

Finance Minister Bill Morneau today announced changes to the rules for government-backed mortgage insurance to contain risks in the housing market, reduce taxpayer exposure and support long-term stability. Effective February 15, 2016, the minimum down payment for new insured mortgages will increase from 5 per cent to 10 per cent for the portion of the house price above $500,000. The 5 per cent minimum down payment for properties up to $500,000 remains unchanged.

Today’s announcement represents a graduated approach to increasing the down payment requirement proportionally to the cost of a home. Canadians who already hold mortgages will not be affected by this announcement.

The Government continuously monitors the housing market and is committed to implementing policy measures that maintain a healthy, competitive and stable housing market. Higher homeowner equity plays a key role in maintaining a stable and secure housing market.

In making this announcement, Minister Morneau also highlighted the increases in guarantee fees for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)-sponsored securitization programs, announced today by CMHC. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has also announced today its plans to update regulatory capital requirements for residential mortgages to ensure that capital requirements keep pace with market developments and risks. Taken together, today’s actions will strengthen the resiliency of Canada’s housing finance system to promote long-term stability and balanced economic growth.

The Government’s role in housing is to set and maintain a framework that is equitable, stable and sustainable. The actions taken today prudently address emerging vulnerabilities in certain housing markets, while not overburdening other regions. They also rebalance government support for the housing sector to promote long-term stability and balanced economic growth.

This measure will increase homeowner equity, which plays a key role in maintaining a stable and secure housing market and economy over the long term. It also protects all homeowners, including many middle class Canadians whose greatest investment is in their homes.

Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

Quick Facts

  • Federally regulated lenders are required to obtain mortgage insurance when the down payment is less than 20 per cent of the purchase price of a property.
  • Properties valued at $1 million and above require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent.
  • The average price of homes sold in October 2015 through the Canadian Real Estate Association’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS) system was about $453,000.
  • Insured homebuyers typically purchase lower-priced properties than the overall average. In 2014, the average property price for new insured purchases with down payments of less than 20 per cent was about $293,000, compared to an average price of about $416,000 for properties sold through the MLS system.

Related Products

Additional Links

Media Contacts

Jack Aubry
Media Relations
Department of Finance
613-369-4000

Stephanie Rubec
Office of the Minister of Finance
613-369-5696

The original press release can be found at the Government of Canada’s website Here.

Manulife Mortgages Available Through Brokers

Manulife Financial

Manulife Financial

Manulife Bank is coming to the broker channel.

One of Canada’s largest financial institutions is going to be offers its mortgage products through the broker channel very soon. Manulife Bank, which is a subsidiary of Manulife Financial will begin making its mortgages readily available through brokers starting in 2016. This move is planned to be in place for the spring market, giving brokers access to their popular Manulife One (M1) product amongst others.

This announcement is a huge asset to the mortgage broker channel as some of the bigger banks have exited in recent years. Manulife is an internationally reputable business and Its product section will enhance the excellent options that brokers already provide clients. This move is also seen as a vote of confidence in the broker channel, hopefully making some of the other banks rethink their decision to leave.

But unlike most new players in our space, Manulife’s Jeff Spencer that unlike other lenders, they are trying to help consumers. “We want to help brokers help people get out of debt,” says Spencer, Vice President of Retail Sales. “Manulife One is not just a line of credit. It’s a way for clients to manage their financial lives.” One of their products he is referring to is the M1’s interest offset feature which lets you incorporate debt and savings into one account. Incoming deposits like a paycheque would reduce your personal debt balance temporarily, and save you interest.

Manulife’s entrance will generate strong competition in the broker channel for National Bank who are the only other national lender with a similiar product. It is also expected to take business away from the other large lenders such as Scotiabank and MCAP. The added competition can only be a good thing as interest rates creep up.

Foreign Investment In Our Housing Market

new home financing

new home financing

As most of us are aware, foreign investment in Canadian real estate– is impacting the rising resale values in our main markets.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) seems to have accepted this fact also. In an announcement this week, the president of CMHC Evan Siddall, stated that irrespective of having low-quality data on foreign ownership, it was most likely driving up the cost of Canadian housing. The issue with the data is that although many buyers are Asian, it is unclear if they are citizens, immigrants, or even citizens investing foreign money for friends and relatives.

Besides Canada being seen as a safe place to invest in real estate, the low Canadian dollar is making overseas investment even more lucative. While supply may not be an issue with new home construction, this is not the case with the resale market, where bidding wars are common place in both Toronto and Vancouver.

Since factors outside of the Canadian economy are driving up house prices, it is creating artificial demand that can easily decline if foreign buyers decide to invest elsewhere. Unfortunately, Canada does not have much of an idea as to how much foreign money is being invested in Canadian housing market, while many other countries do keep track of this and in some cases restrict foreign ownership.

The CEO of the CMHC, Evan Siddall, admits they are dependent on minimal real information. Since it is not a legal requirement in Canada, buyers may be unwilling to divulge their ownership status.

“Most of the available information is uncertain at best. The problem is that many foreign investors may prefer to hide their ownership,” Siddall said in a recent speech. There is no conclusive way to distinguish between investment by foreign buyers, new immigrants, or long time residents.

So what’s the problem in selling something to China that newer actually leaves the country? In theory, there is basically nothing wrong with foreign money taking a share of the Canadian real estate market. Canadian investors do the same thing all over the world, especially in the US and South America. Here at home it helps create jobs in the construction industry, and provides rental housing which is not currently abundant.

Siddall also pointed out that this type of investment can have a down side. “While both domestic and foreign investment activity can be speculative, foreign investment may be more mobile and subject to capital flight, increasing the volatility in domestic housing markets.”

 

2015 Canadian Election

Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau

Well the results are in and the Liberals have the majority government they aimed for. It surprised me that this election garnered so much attention as the economy in Canada is not really suffering, unlike in other parts of the world. Perhaps fear of what could happen here moved people to do something before it happens – I don’t know.

Several people I spoke with before the election seemed unhappy with the Conservatives, although their reasons were vague at best. One friend was unhappy with the price of gas and felt it should have dropped in price just like crude oil did. I pointed out that the cost of refining the crude oil had not dropped, but that didn’t seem to matter. Another friend sited the low Canadian dollar as the reason he was voting Liberal even though the world price of oil has driven down our dollar.

It would seem that Canadians wanted change, after all change is considered good. A couple of other people I spoke with just wanted change and didn’t know the difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives. Personally I think Harper did a decent job of keeping Canada out of the economic woes most of the world has been going through, but maybe it just happened that way in spite of our government’s policies.

While I don’t think borrowing to spend is a great idea, it has been done successfully in the past to bolster economies. The Canadian economy may benefit from the Liberal’s plans, however, we cannot isolate ourselves from the rest of the world and the economic issues it is facing. Even though I would tend to support Conservative policies, giving the Liberals a majority government will allow them to implement their plans without interference from the other parties. After all, no matter which party we support, we all want what is best for Canada and let’s hope the Justin Trudeau and the Liberals are the right choice.

6 Retirement Planning Tips

Planning for retirement

Planning for retirement

Retirement planning:

Retirement is supposed to be that time in your life when you can take it easy and do the things you enjoy. If you have planned for your retirement properly then you will have that time and freedom that working didn’t allow. These days with the cost of living many people are having to work well past retirement age just to maintain their lifestyle. Below are some tips, that if implemented early enough, can help make your retirement plans a reality.

Start saving for your retirement as early as possible. Obviously the sooner you begin saving for retirement, the better off you will be. Most financial institutions and financial planners can set up a direct deposit type of account, that can deduct a contribution from your pay or account when you get paid. As long as it is a manageable amount, you will barely even notice it and set up properly can defer income taxes.

Plan for the lifestyle you want when you retire. Everyone is different, and we all wan to do different thing when we retire. If you want to travel the world, you need to realize that this will cost a lot more than gardening or fishing. Once again, a financial planner can help you achieve these goals and tell you how much you need to be saving now.

Try to invest in a variety of things. We all know the stock market goes up and down, but in the long term it always goes up overall. With this type of investment it is best to put your money into a mutual fund where it is invested in a variety of safer options like banks etc.. Investing in just one stock can be risky even with large established companies – remember; Delta Airlines, Enron, WorldCom? Currently VW stock has dropped 30-40% in a very short time.

Plan to make your investments last. These days people are living longer and doing more. While nobody know how long they will live for, you should plan for this to some degree. If you have a hundred thousand dollars invested at 5%, you should minus the rate of inflation so as not to deplete your investment.

Keep working if need be. It is better to work at least part time, than to live in poverty. Many people enjoy the interaction of getting out and seeing other people as it is known to have huge psychological benefits

Access some of your homes equity. With the rising cost of living, more and more people are using the equity in their home to maintain their lifestyle. While this option is not for everyone, it can benefit many seniors who are struggling financially. Reverse mortgages can also be used to purchase a property in retirement. This allows you to purchase a property you could not normally afford and not have any mortgage payments. Food for thought!