Frequently Asked Questions

How is a portfolio manager different than a financial planner or a broker?

Portfolio managers have a fiduciary duty to act with care, honesty and good faith, always in the best interest of their clients. They are among the most highly qualified investment professionals in the industry. All of our principals hold the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. The CFA charter is an internationally recognized investment credential that for more than 60 years has set the standard for professional integrity, dedication, and the advanced skills needed to build a stronger, more accountable financial industry. No credential is as widely respected for its focus on current investment expertise and performing in the client’s best interest. None is harder to obtain. Unlike many financial planners and brokers who collect commissions for sales or transactions, a portfolio manager’s compensation is based on a percentage of a client’s assets under their management, which limits potential conflicts of interest during the investment process.

Why should I go with a small firm?

Milestone is a small, independent portfolio management firm. The firm and it's advisors are registered with the Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia Securities Commissions in the category of Portfolio Manager. As such, services are as professional and trustworthy as those of much larger firms. And unlike large financial institutions, we are not driven to promote or sell corporate products/services which may not be appropriate to your situation. Should we think that you need advice from a lawyer, accountant or other professional, we can make those referrals.

Our senior partners expect to live out their careers at Milestone, ensuring a level of continuity that is uncommon at financial giants. Rest assured, too, that we face no conflicts of interest with commission-based fees, unlike many mutual fund managers who charge front- and back-end commissions. Over the years, most of Milestone’s clients have been referred to us by other clients or their professional advisors who have confidence in us.

Will my money be safe? Can I trust my portfolio statements?

Milestone engages the custodial services of National Bank Independent Network (NBIN), a division of National Bank of Canada, to safeguard our clients’ assets. NBIN is Canada’s leading provider of custody, trade execution and brokerage solutions to independent Investment Dealers and Portfolio Managers, supporting more than 400 firms across Canada.

Independent of Milestone, our clients receive monthly statements for each of their accounts by mail or online, directly from NBIN, ensuring an unbiased valuation of their holdings. Client accounts are protected by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), subject to CIPF conditions and limits.

What does it mean that Milestone is a member of PMAC?

Established in 1952, Portfolio Management Association of Canada (PMAC) is a forum for investment management firms to share best practices and industry knowledge. PMAC members manage investment portfolios for private individuals, foundations, universities and pension plans. PMAC’s mission is to advocate the highest standards of unbiased portfolio management in the interest of investors served by members. As a member of PMAC, Milestone learns about best industry practices, and holds insurance to protect client assets from fraud or malfeasance.

What is discretionary management?

With discretionary account management, investment managers make buy-sell decisions without referring to the account owner for every transaction. The managers must operate within agreed-upon limits and objectives set out in each individual’s Investment Policy Statement. Discretionary management may be suitable for investors who do not have the time, skills or desire to be actively involved in the management of their assets.

Where is Milestone registered to operate?

In Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

What types of accounts does Milestone manage?

Mostly personal taxable and corporate accounts, Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs), Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs), Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs), trusts and foundations.

What is Milestone’s minimum account size?

Investable assets of $500,000 or more.

What do you mean by “top-line” and “bottom-line” results or returns?

“Top-line” results are the “gross” performance figures for an investment before fees, taxes and other costs, while “bottom-line” results are those returns after such costs are deducted. At Milestone, we manage and minimize all investment costs to keep bottom-line results as close to the top-line performance as possible. Consequently, we help you build greater wealth and preserve it for the future.

What is the difference between an exchange-traded fund (ETF) and a mutual fund?

An ETF is an investment fund that consists of a group of stocks, bonds or other securities. ETFs typically track an index, an industry, or a commodity. One big difference between ETFs and mutual funds is their fees or management expense ratios (MERs). Mutual fund MERs can be over 2% of asset value per year, whereas ETF MERs are usually well under 1% and can be as low as 0.05%. Another difference is that ETFs trade like a stock on a stock exchange, and transactions incur trading fees. However, this does not have much impact on investors such as Milestone’s clients, who follow a buy-and-hold approach.

What is the difference between segregated and pooled investments?

Segregated investments are owned by investors directly. Pooled investments are owned jointly by many investors whose money has been “pooled” together. As a result, the portfolio managers have less flexibility to minimize taxes and other costs to investors, and are primarily focused on top-line results. For example, pooled investments create large unrealized capital gains, which impact investors regardless of their tax situation. In addition, pooled funds are not transferable assets. Milestone provides every client with segregated investment accounts, which can receive securities transferred from other institutions without tax implications. Only with segregated funds can investors benefit from certain tax advantages and truly personalized portfolio management service such as Milestone’s.

We earn the trust and confidence of our clients -
and the privilege to support them on their life journey.