Now that we understand the basics of index linked GICs, we can describe the steps to create your own index linked GIC. The two key traits of the linked GIC are:
To illustrate this better, we will follow Brian as he investigates the opportunity of a customized index linked GIC for $50,000.
Step One: Choose a term. In my opinion you should choose a term no less than 3 years. I think that a 5-year term is ideal to ensure that your capital is also CDIC insured. If you are willing to invest for a 10-year term, it is possible to create a guaranteed minimum return using segregated funds with insurance companies. Whatever the case, your personalized linked GIC starts with flexibility because you can choose your own term. Many linked GICs offered by financial institutions have very limited term options - usually 3 or 5 years.
Brian decided that 5 years was a good term. His rationale was that if he could find a decent 5-year GIC rate, he would not hesitate to lock in for 5 years.
Step Two: Shop for the best rate. Once you have picked the term you want, go out and shop for the best rate. This is the easy step, especially if you use the services of a deposit broker. In Brian's case, the best 5-year rate was 5.5%.
Step Three: Calculate the principal. How much do you need to invest in order to guarantee your capital over the term? This is where it can get a little confusing. Using the chart on the next page, Brian finds the column that corresponds to the five year term he selected. Then he goes down and finds the row with 5.5% interest growth. In the box where the column and row meet, he finds the number $38,256.72. This is the amount he needs to invest for 5 years at 5.5% to ensure that after 5 years he will have his original invested capital ($50,000).
Step Four: Pick the investment to which you want to link. Brian has $50,000 to invest but the amount needed to invest in the GIC to guarantee the principal is only $38,256,72. Financial institutions typically link the performance to a market index like the TSX or the S&P In the case of the customized linked GIC, you can link to anything you want. Previously, Brian had found some success in the Trimark Fund, a Global Equity mutual fund. He decided to use this product to determine the future performance of the GIC.
Ultimately, in the unlikely event that he loses all his money in the Trimark Fund, he will still have his original $50,000 after 5 years. However, if the Trimark Fund does better than 5.5%, then he will have improved his return accordingly.
If we look at the Trimark Fund, it has never had a 5-year period [at the time of writing, 9/03] where it has lost money In fact, the worst 5-year return it has ever had was 18.6% total growth. The best total return over any 5 year period was 130.5% and the average 5 year total return over all 5 year trailing returns was 75.3%. If Trimark has an average return over the five years that Brian invests for, he will have over $70,000 at the end of 5 years. This will have enhanced his growth by about $5,000 over investing in a conventional 5-year GIC. His return would increase from 5.5% to 7.14%.
Guaranteed Returns over 10 years
As I mentioned earlier, if Brian were to select a 10-year term instead of a 5-year term, he could actually guarantee a minimum return in addition to his guaranteed capital.
As you can see, the customized linked GIC is a conservative way to try and enhance returns without compromising your capital. The benefit over linked GICs offered by financial institutions is that there is greater flexibility to select the term you want, and link to a favorite mutual fund, than being limited to a few market indices.
This concept of creating your own index linked GIC also provides more liquidity than conventional index linked GICs. When you create your own index linked product you will have some liquidity with the mutual fund, stock, index, etc. In a traditional index linked product there is usually no provision for cashability.
Reproduced with the permission from Jim Yih, a financial expert,author, columnist and speaker. He is the founder of Core Financial Advisors, as a full service, financial planning firm in Edmonton, Alberta. Jim is also a member of the FCIDB.
Editors Note: If your considering using this technique and wish the assistance of a Fiscal Agents investment advisor please call 905-844-7700
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