A Canadian friend of mine posted a link arguing that if the 13 colonies had not been impatient, England would have granted our independence. No one told him about the Brits fighting in South Africa, India and other colonies. Canada has some good points though.
In addition to a more affordable healthcare system and a nifty prime minister, our neighbors to the north have a pretty cool national anthem, "Oh, Canada." Our national anthem is hard to sing and often sounds best instrumentally. Old-timers remember the rainy Fourth of July when Sam Bush and Dread Clampitt closed their impromptu jam with "The Star-Spangled Banner." I still get chills remembering it; glad someone brought a tent.
However, Canada's accounting standards are hazardous to your wealth. American accounting regulations, the favorite whipping boy of conservatives, libertarians and Wall Street big shots, provide better protection for investors in American companies. International accounting standards allow management to use overly optimistic assumptions. Also, businesses can use these rules to hide problems and inflate senior management’s stock options.
The changing habits of consumers affect retailers around the world. Like many, Sears Canada had a dismal 2016 performance, but the company showed over $171 million, US dollars, in shareholder's equity in their 2016 annual report. In April, an auditor signed off on the company's numbers. Less than eight weeks later the company declared bankruptcy. Don't blame the accountant; under Canadian/international rules, they were likely justified. The Canadian Supreme Court limited investors ability to sue auditors for malpractice.
Al Rosen, a veteran forensic accountant and independent equity analyst, harshly criticized the International Financial Reporting Standards used in Canada and around the world. "For every honest manager, there's a cheat waiting to pounce," Rosen recently told New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson (July 7, 2017). In his new book, "Easy Prey Investors," Rosen warns Canadian financial reporting is the proverbial "calm before the storm." The Roman dictum, "Caveat Emptor," or let the buyer beware, comes to mind. History might not repeat itself, but it rhymes.
The S&P 500 continues setting new highs. Stock mutual funds and exchanged-traded funds rose 2.7 percent in the second quarter, but international stocks trounced them, up 6.5 percent. Investors and their advisors jump on whatever is hot. During the second quarter, an estimated $23 billion flowed out of US stocks while more than $78 billion went into international stocks. We always design or recommend portfolios with international and emerging market allocations, but at lower levels than American based companies. Now is not the time to rush in. Sector rotation is gussied up market timing
Jamie Dimon, J.P. Morgan's big kahuna, complained about United States' regulations. When you're running down my country, Jamie Dimon, you're on the fighting side of me. Thanks Merle.
You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP can help figure out what you need. For specific recommendations, visit livingstonfinancial.net or come by the office in Redfish Village, 2050 Scenic 30A, M-1 Suite 230.