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[OP]
Newbie
Oct 19, 2018
34 posts
8 upvotes

PWL Capital

I'm wondering if anyone here is currently with PWL Capital for investing or had used their service. I'm considering switching all of my investments from a bank to them which will save me at least 1% annually. Their team in Toronto is quite small so I'm sure there is a good chance that we are dealing with the same people if you have used their service. I would like some feedback if you have any experience with these guys. Thanks!
52 replies
Deal Fanatic
Jul 1, 2007
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I would guess that people who deal with them don't deal with them to save on fees.
Money Smarts Blog wrote: I agree with the previous posters, especially Thalo. {And} Thalo's advice is spot on.
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Mar 25, 2012
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yohyohy wrote: I'm wondering if anyone here is currently with PWL Capital for investing or had used their service. I'm considering switching all of my investments from a bank to them which will save me at least 1% annually. Their team in Toronto is quite small so I'm sure there is a good chance that we are dealing with the same people if you have used their service. I would like some feedback if you have any experience with these guys. Thanks!
They just stick you in pure-play plain vanilla index ETFs. If you're needing some financial planning advice, you can do as well, or better (net of all-in fees), by going with a robo-advisor like Justwealth or Questwealth Portfolios. Otherwise, why not just stick your funds into ZGRO/ZBAL/ZCON or, secondarily, XGRO/XBAL/XCON?

Also, remember 1% is their portfolio management fee...you have to add in the 0.18-0.35% MER of the ETFs. :)

If you don't mind some active management, you could go with the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, which @xgbsSS endorses and I am increasingly supportive, or the Mawer Balanced Fund (MAW104).

Cheers,
Doug
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Feb 1, 2012
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PWL is an interesting firm. At least three of their Portfolio Managers (Dan Bortolotti of Canadian Couch Potato, Justin Bender of Canadian Portfolio Manager Blog and Ben Felix on YouTube) blog on passive investing and indexing, even demonstrating how to set up simple index portfolios. So their value add is not primarily portfolio design. They focus a lot more on financial planning, retirement & estate planning, succession planning, tax optimization and behavioural coaching. The types of services wealthy clients with families, small businesses, and large estates want.

I think it depends on your life stage, complexity of your financial situation and willingness to DIY whether they would be a good fit.

What are you looking for from a financial planner?
I solemnly swear, to never assume I have an inkling at which direction the market will head, and to never make any investments based on a timing strategy.
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Mar 25, 2012
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Deepwater wrote: PWL is an interesting firm. At least three of their Portfolio Managers (Dan Bortolotti of Canadian Couch Potato, Justin Bender of Canadian Portfolio Manager Blog and Ben Felix on YouTube) blog on passive investing and indexing, even demonstrating how to set up simple index portfolios. So their value add is not primarily portfolio design. They focus a lot more on financial planning, retirement & estate planning, succession planning, tax optimization and behavioural coaching. The types of services wealthy clients with families, small businesses, and large estates want.

I think it depends on your life stage, complexity of your financial situation and willingness to DIY whether they would be a good fit.

What are you looking for from a financial planner?
Yes, I suspect Dan, Justin, and Ben do their videos for two reasons: (1) to attract and retain business, obviously, and (2) to give back to the community of DIY investors. After all, they can't, and don't want, to serve everyone. Most people, following their advice and model portfolios, will do quite well.

Cheers,
Doug
[OP]
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Oct 19, 2018
34 posts
8 upvotes
Thalo wrote: I would guess that people who deal with them don't deal with them to save on fees.
But compare to what the bank is charging for providing more or less the same services, PWL charge "only" 0.75% plus product fees whereas banks charge over 2%. At least I'm thinking of switching to save on fees. For a portfolio over 1M, that's $10k saved in a year. I'm paying my bank $20k a year for a few meetings and phone calls.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 19, 2018
34 posts
8 upvotes
dmehus wrote: They just stick you in pure-play plain vanilla index ETFs. If you're needing some financial planning advice, you can do as well, or better (net of all-in fees), by going with a robo-advisor like Justwealth or Questwealth Portfolios. Otherwise, why not just stick your funds into ZGRO/ZBAL/ZCON or, secondarily, XGRO/XBAL/XCON?

Also, remember 1% is their portfolio management fee...you have to add in the 0.18-0.35% MER of the ETFs. :)

If you don't mind some active management, you could go with the Saskatchewan Pension Plan, which @xgbsSS endorses and I am increasingly supportive, or the Mawer Balanced Fund (MAW104).

Cheers,
Doug
Thanks, but no DIY for me. I'm fine paying 1% to them so that I don't have to constantly stress over if I have done something wrong when the market drops. =)
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 19, 2018
34 posts
8 upvotes
Deepwater wrote: PWL is an interesting firm. At least three of their Portfolio Managers (Dan Bortolotti of Canadian Couch Potato, Justin Bender of Canadian Portfolio Manager Blog and Ben Felix on YouTube) blog on passive investing and indexing, even demonstrating how to set up simple index portfolios. So their value add is not primarily portfolio design. They focus a lot more on financial planning, retirement & estate planning, succession planning, tax optimization and behavioural coaching. The types of services wealthy clients with families, small businesses, and large estates want.

I think it depends on your life stage, complexity of your financial situation and willingness to DIY whether they would be a good fit.

What are you looking for from a financial planner?
I currently get more or less the same services from my Financial Planner, at a much higher fee.

I contacted PWL's Toronto team and was told that they charge 0.75% plus product fees which is more than reasonable to me. I don't want to stress over managing my own portfolio so I'm ok paying someone to do it. Their minimum requirement is that you have 1M so I understand that Dan and those guys are targeting wealthy clients. I think I'm ready to make the move in the New Year. My bank advisor will be upset when she finds out.
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Sep 1, 2013
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yohyohy wrote: I currently get more or less the same services from my Financial Planner, at a much higher fee.

I contacted PWL's Toronto team and was told that they charge 0.75% plus product fees which is more than reasonable to me. I don't want to stress over managing my own portfolio so I'm ok paying someone to do it. Their minimum requirement is that you have 1M so I understand that Dan and those guys are targeting wealthy clients. I think I'm ready to make the move in the New Year. My bank advisor will be upset when she finds out.
If you don't mind sharing, I would be interested to hear from you how she responds when you tell her you are moving to PWL.
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Mar 25, 2012
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yohyohy wrote: I currently get more or less the same services from my Financial Planner, at a much higher fee.

I contacted PWL's Toronto team and was told that they charge 0.75% plus product fees which is more than reasonable to me. I don't want to stress over managing my own portfolio so I'm ok paying someone to do it. Their minimum requirement is that you have 1M so I understand that Dan and those guys are targeting wealthy clients. I think I'm ready to make the move in the New Year. My bank advisor will be upset when she finds out.
You can get the same portfolio construction and most, if not all, of the same services from some of the robo-advisors at a marginally lower cost (about 0.15-0.25% on an all-in basis).

That said, I would personally go with Justin if I moved. I find him more approachable, better at responding to his readers' comments, and he's also got more direct experience in the industry. Ben and Cameron would be my second choice.

Cheers,
Doug
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Dec 4, 2016
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yohyohy wrote: I currently get more or less the same services from my Financial Planner, at a much higher fee.

I contacted PWL's Toronto team and was told that they charge 0.75% plus product fees which is more than reasonable to me. I don't want to stress over managing my own portfolio so I'm ok paying someone to do it. Their minimum requirement is that you have 1M so I understand that Dan and those guys are targeting wealthy clients. I think I'm ready to make the move in the New Year. My bank advisor will be upset when she finds out.
I think at 1 million, the average client would have a large enough non-registered account to benefit from the tax planning service of a professional. I don't currently use them, but I read CCP blog and watch Ben Felix's videos extensively. Based on what I have read and watched, they're the only adviser I would ever go with, if I ever need the service of an adviser.
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Feb 1, 2012
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yohyohy wrote: My bank advisor will be upset when she finds out.
You may not need to tell her. Your new advisor could fill out an account transfer form and send it to TD specifying how you want the securities transferred. Depending on what you hold, not all investments can be transferred. GICs and proprietary funds like those sold by Tangerine and Investors Group may not be transferrable. Also if you have any DSC mutual funds you should find how much it will cost you to sell before the DSC period ends.

When I was looking for a new financial planner, I made a list of questions to ask. I posted it on Dropbox if you are interested. Note it is geared more to financial planning rather than investment advice. Here is a link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/cshvon4140adw ... r.pdf?dl=0
I solemnly swear, to never assume I have an inkling at which direction the market will head, and to never make any investments based on a timing strategy.
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Nov 9, 2013
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BlueSolstice wrote: I think at 1 million, the average client would have a large enough non-registered account to benefit from the tax planning service of a professional. I don't currently use them, but I read CCP blog and watch Ben Felix's videos extensively. Based on what I have read and watched, they're the only adviser I would ever go with, if I ever need the service of an adviser.
Doesn't Ben Felix strike you as arrogant and over-confident? Personally, I would never want someone who is arrogant and over-confident managing my money as they are less likely to own (and learn from) mistakes. I suspect this is part of the video persona and part of his marketing, but his videos are essentially "This idea is wrong, my idea is right, here's why". Maybe this is a me problem rather than a him problem, but this is part of the reason why I can't stand to watch his videos and listen to him, even though he does talk about many good ideas.
Keep calm and go long
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Dec 4, 2016
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treva84 wrote: Doesn't Ben Felix strike you as arrogant and over-confident? Personally, I would never want someone who is arrogant and over-confident managing my money as they are less likely to own (and learn from) mistakes. I suspect this is part of the video persona and part of his marketing, but his videos are essentially "This idea is wrong, my idea is right, here's why". Maybe this is a me problem rather than a him problem, but this is part of the reason why I can't stand to watch his videos and listen to him, even though he does talk about many good ideas.
It's youtube. You need that kind of persona to get views. I think you would probably like the plain bagel guy better. Unfortunately, I don't think he works as an adviser for individual clients.
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Nov 9, 2013
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BlueSolstice wrote: It's youtube. You need that kind of persona to get views. I think you would probably like the plain bagel guy better. Unfortunately, I don't think he works as an adviser for individual clients.
True. I despise marketing in general. I will never be successful as a "media personality" or "thought leader" and that's ok with me :)
Keep calm and go long
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Feb 1, 2012
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If Ben is arrogant and over-confident it is based on conclusions drawn from detailed data and comprehensive analysis. The arrogance and overconfidence of most other financial bloggers on YouTube are based on anecdotes and luck. :facepalm:
I solemnly swear, to never assume I have an inkling at which direction the market will head, and to never make any investments based on a timing strategy.
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Nov 9, 2013
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Deepwater wrote: If Ben is arrogant and over-confident it is based on conclusions drawn from detailed data and comprehensive analysis. The arrogance and overconfidence of most other financial bloggers on YouTube are based on anecdotes and luck. :facepalm:
Yes, I agree. I don't mean to imply that he is the ONLY arrogant and over-confident social media personality.
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Aug 2, 2010
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Here 'n There
yohyohy wrote: I'm wondering if anyone here is currently with PWL Capital for investing or had used their service. I'm considering switching all of my investments from a bank to them which will save me at least 1% annually. Their team in Toronto is quite small so I'm sure there is a good chance that we are dealing with the same people if you have used their service. I would like some feedback if you have any experience with these guys. Thanks!
Just buy ETF's on your own and save another 0.50% each and every year. It's so easy peasy my 4 yo is already doing it.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 19, 2018
34 posts
8 upvotes
CheapScotch wrote: If you don't mind sharing, I would be interested to hear from you how she responds when you tell her you are moving to PWL.
We were discussing where to invest ~300k just a couple weeks ago. She has no clue that I'm looking elsewhere. She's going to talk down ETFs and convince me to stay.

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