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Real Estate Investment Trust: What is a REIT?

A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is a pooled investment with a high dividend yield that invests in real estate. REITs give investors an opportunity for participation and diversification in real estate investments, while also offering much higher degrees of liquidity and lower buy-in amounts than can be found in other real estate investments. A REIT operates much like a mutual fund, and would technically be taxable as a corporation if it weren't for its REIT status. Continue reading...

What are the pros and cons of hedge fund investing?

Hedge funds are sometimes the highest-earning investment vehicles, and sometimes they do that much worse than everything else. They have a high buy-in, low transparency, and limited liquidity. There are also other advantages and disadvantages worth mentioning. A good hedge fund can provide you with an excellent diversification of your investable assets and give you exposure to the best and brightest money managers in the world. Continue reading...

What is beta in investing?

Beta is a volatility indicator that denotes how closely an investment follows movements in the market as a whole; when examining mutual funds, it indicates how similarly the funds move to their relevant indexes. It is often referenced with its counterpart, Alpha; a risk ratio which measures gains or losses relative to a benchmark, indicating whether an investor is being compensated with a return greater than the volatility risk being taken. Continue reading...

What kind of venture capital funds exist?

Different venture capital firms focus on different types of funding. Some are more attuned to late-stage funding for proven companies who still have not gone public, while others prefer to help startups with bright futures. There are large venture capital firms, which might invest in any start-up company, as long as they think that the company has potential. There are also more narrow VC firms specializing only in one or a small number of industries, such as clean energy, or semiconductors. Continue reading...

What is Systematic Risk?

Systematic risk is the broad risk of fluctuations and downturns in the market as a whole, which it is said cannot be eliminated through diversification. Systematic risk is also known as market risk, which is the exposure of all investors to the broad movements and downturns of the market as a whole. Theoretically it cannot be controlled for through simple diversification, since that would only bring a portfolio closer to the broad market performance, with a Beta closer to 1. Continue reading...

What can I learn about venture capital?

Many people know about venture capitalists that help provide the funding for startup companies in Silicon Valley and other areas. In reality, only a small portion of venture capital is directed at seed money for startups. The rest of it is directed at companies in various phases of growth that need capital to fuel a new expansion or to turn their business around. Venture capital comes from individual investors or venture capital firms who agree to infuse new money into a business in exchange for an equity stake in the business going forward. Continue reading...

What is Mortgage REIT?

Mortgage REITs are a type of Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) which offers investors income distributions which result from the interest payment on mortgage loans. Investors enjoy REIT investments as a high-yield income investment which offers exposure to an asset class which is not necessarily correlated with other major asset classes. Mortgage REITs are a subset of this asset type which derives income from the interest due on mortgage loans, which are generally purchased in the form of mortgage-backed securities. Equity REITs are the other major type of REIT, and they invest directly in income-producing properties. Continue reading...

Where can I find information about hedge funds and their performance?

Not all hedge funds are obligated to disclose their holdings, trades, or performance. About half of them are, however, and their performance can be found online through Morningstar and other sources. This information may not be as detailed as you would like, and you may try other means. Since the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, more information about hedge funds is available to the public. This does not mean that all the information you seek will be readily available, however, and there are many hedge funds that do not make their information public. Continue reading...

What are Specialty Funds?

Specialty funds may be completely unique and offer investors a strategy that they cannot find elsewhere, or they may just represent a strategy with an extremely narrow focus. There are many Specialty Funds, and their investment strategy is bounded only by the imaginations of the companies who create them. They tend to focus on markets that an investor may not have any exposure to otherwise, such as the Ultrashort Japan Fund. Continue reading...

What is a market neutral fund?

Market neutral funds might be hedge funds or mutual funds or ETFs whose strategy is not based on bullish or bearish market predictions but instead seeks to be in a position to profit whether the market goes up or down. Most mutual funds and ETFs out there are inherently bullish — you invest in those funds because you believe or hope that the industry or geographic region or cap-size that they invest in will grow in the future. Some funds offer bears a place to hole-up when the bubble inevitably bursts (or so they think). Continue reading...

Who are venture capitalists?

Venture capitalists may have been entrepreneurs themselves who are now helping newer companies achieve success in return for large equity positions in the business. They may also work for investment banks. They form firms which manage a portfolio of venture capital investments. Venture capitalists are firms whose business model is to infuse money into companies which do not have access to the capital markets, or do not want to turn to the open market, in return for equity in the business. Continue reading...

What kind of hedge funds exist?

Hedge funds can employ many strategies and focus on virtually any kind of investing style or market. They also have the flexibility to change their strategy as they see fit. Morningstar and other services will group hedge funds into categories and provide benchmarks based on their average performances. As of 2016, there are over 12,000 hedge funds, and over half of those are required to report to the SEC. Continue reading...

What can I find out about hedge funds?

Hedge funds have historically been very secretive. They still mainly fall under Regulation D and private-placement laws, but their reporting requirements have been slightly expanded after the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010. Now, they are a little more transparent, but not fully. Up until the Dodd-Frank Act, it was basically impossible to know what hedge funds were investing in and who was involved. Hedge fund managers and their investment banks were under no obligation to report the holdings, and they generally avoided leaking any information about their market positions for fear of damaging their advantages. Continue reading...

What is a Life Income Fund?

Life Income Funds (LIFs) are available to Canadians who have left a job before retirement and who are entitled to a sum of money in their pension plan. LIFs offer some flexibility, more than some other alternatives, but the amount that can be withdrawn at a time is limited to a minimum and maximum. The former employee could choose to leave the funds in the pension plan, or to use one of the alternatives to LIFs, which include a Locked-In Retirement Account (LIRA), which is provincially-regulated, or a Locked-In Retirement Savings Plan (LRSP), which is federally regulated. LIRAs and LRSPs do not permit regular withdrawals, and are seen as savings vehicles rather than income vehicles. Continue reading...

What are asset classes?

Asset classes are types of appreciable investments that can be grouped and distinguished from one another based on the correlation of their price movements and the structure of their cash flows. Some of the most common asset classes are stocks, bonds, cash (and cash equivalents), commodities, and real estate. Many individual securities and sub-classes will fall into each of these. Asset classes are a large consideration when creating a well-diversified portfolio. Continue reading...

What is an Equity REIT?

Equity REITs are the more traditional version of Real Estate Investment Trusts, which invest solely in income-producing properties and operate similar to a mutual fund. When investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) investors have a choice between equity REITs, mortgage REITs, and hybrid REITs. Equity REITs invest in income-producing properties, and have a hand in building and renovating such properties. Continue reading...

Is Life Insurance a Good Investment?

As a rule of thumb, life insurance should not be considered an investment at all, since it’s primary purpose is to provide insurance coverage. That said, some cash value policies have attractive features that can be appealing in certain circumstances. We will say that a smart investor who has done research and gotten good advice will generally not end up with a permanent cash value life insurance policy. Continue reading...

What is the right mix of assets for me?

Arriving at the appropriate asset allocation is not very easy to do by guesswork, so we’re here to help. There is no such thing as a mix of assets that is right for everyone. It depends on your age, employment situation, the size of your investment portfolio, your objectives, time horizon, risk tolerance, income requirement from your investment portfolio, tax bracket, and many other factors. Programs and algorithms can help you significantly when you plug some of these variables in, but it is still wise to apply some scrutiny and a human touch. Continue reading...

What is foreign investment?

Foreign investment is the act of an individual or corporation, or institutional investor, acquiring a large stake in a company, which may be a controlling or non-controlling interest. When it is a controlling interest, it is known as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Foreign corporate expansion in terms of newly acquired domestic facilities and equity interest in domestic companies tends to be monitored by domestic governments. Continue reading...

Should I use options in my portfolio?

Options can be a valuable tool in portfolio management, but investors should be well-versed in how options work, and the risks involved, before actively engaging in options trading. Options can provide you a hedge, or provide the potential for unlimited gains or losses. They can also give you a relatively conservative income stream. Proper use of options can be highly profitable, but requires some level of expertise and a watchful eye. Continue reading...