Client Relationship Disclosure Information
Last updated on December 31, 2021
About this Disclosure
We believe that successful long-term relationships are built on a foundation of trust and transparency, where both parties clearly understand their roles, obligations, and expectations. In that spirit, and to meet the requirements of securities legislation to make certain disclosures to you, we provide this relationship disclosure information. Not all information may apply to your personal circumstances or your relationship with WealthBar Financial Services Inc., doing business as Assante Connect (“Assante Connect”).
In this disclosure, we refer to Assante Connect, as “we”, “us”, “our”, or “Assante Connect”.
This disclosure forms part of your Managed Investment Account Agreement (“MIAA” or "Agreement") with us. By accepting the Agreement and maintaining an account with us, you conﬁrm that you have received this disclosure, understand its contents, and acknowledge your consent.
If you have any questions related to the contents of this document, please contact us at 1-888-922-7366 or via email at [email protected].
Assante Connect is a division of WealthBar Financial Services Inc. We provide financial planning, investment services, and financial products. WealthBar is a registered portfolio manager under the securities legislation in all provinces and territories in Canada.
WealthBar Financial Services Inc. is a subsidiary of CI Financial Corp (CIX) and an affiliate of CI Investments Inc. CIX is a publicly traded corporation whose shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: CIX) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:CIXX).
Our head office is located at #900 – 625 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC, V6C 2T6. You can reach us also by telephone: 1-888-922-7366; by fax: 1-888-922-7366 or by email: [email protected].
Products and Services
Assante Connect takes a unique approach to wealth management through our convenient online platform and high standard of client care. We provide discretionary investment advisory and digital financial planning services. Aside from investment products, Assante Connect also offers no fee high interest savings accounts.
We use a team approach to provide you with advice and service. When you need to contact us, you can use an online messaging service through our online platform or email [email protected]. You can book a call with members of our portfolio management, financial advice, or customer service teams on request.
Members of our teams may contact you to assist with requests like account opening, transfers, and other account maintenance. This ensures you get the timeliest service possible.
Assante Connect acts as a portfolio manager for your separately managed account, which means we make investment decisions for you. Discretionary investment authority for the assets under our management is pursuant to our Agreement.
Our investment strategy is based on the view that your asset mix primarily determines portfolio performance and includes diversified asset classes in portfolios to maximize returns at different levels of risk. Our portfolios primarily contain Exchange Traded Funds (“ETFs”) and commission-free mutual funds. We use passively indexed along with selective actively managed investments. We offer a variety of portfolios tailored to your needs and preferences, including low-cost portfolios of ETFs, portfolios with access to private investments, socially responsible impact investing portfolios, and more. We also provide optional thematic investment exposure in your portfolio.
We offer various portfolio options to suit your investment needs. The liquidity of our portfolios is generally not restricted. You will be informed of any securities held in your portfolio with limited liquidity. Our portfolios primarily contain ETFs which are proprietary products. Proprietary products are securities where an affiliate of Assante Connect is the fund or portfolio manager of the issuer or a related or connected issuer of Assante Connect. We may also invest your money in cash equivalents or other securities that we deem appropriate. These investments are not guaranteed and there can be no assurance that the investment will be able to maintain its net acquisition value or to produce projected income. By favouring ETFs managed by our related registrants, we have not considered other securities that may have characteristics, such as cost structure or past performance, similar or superior to the ETFs managed by our related registrants. More information on proprietary products can be found in our Conflicts of Interest Disclosure.
Investment decisions are made by Assante Connect’s portfolio managers, who are registered advising representatives with the applicable securities regulators. We make portfolio recommendations and manage your account to meet your individual needs based on the “know your client” (“KYC”) information you provide during the online account opening process (“Application”). A portfolio manager may contact you for additional information, and you can speak to a portfolio manager about your investments.
You can create a personalized financial plan and discuss your financial situation and goals with a financial advisor or financial planner that has a relevant credential (such as a Certified Financial Planner® professional or Qualified Associate Financial Planner™).
If you work directly with a financial advisor or financial planner who introduced you to us, they will provide you with services as described in your Service Fee Agreement.
Hold on Deposits
Deposits to your Assante Connect account may be held for up to 30 days before they can be withdrawn in order to prevent fraud and identity theft. Since we are an investment management firm not meant for short term trading, our clients do not typically withdraw funds within this window.
Cash from new deposits, transfers in, and investment income is usually invested within one week. If you have a portfolio composed of ETFs, cash will typically be invested within a few days. If you have a portfolio composed of mutual funds or private investments, cash will typically be invested once weekly, on Fridays. In some cases, it can take up to one month for cash in your account to be invested.
However, there may be a few reasons why your cash isn’t invested:
- Accounts must have a minimum balance of $1,000 to be invested.
- Accounts will not be traded if your portfolio choice has not been confirmed by a portfolio manager. If you requested a different portfolio than we recommended, a portfolio manager may need your explicit confirmation before we invest your account.
- Small cash balances of less than $100 or less than 0.5% of the account value may not be invested.
If your cash isn’t invested and you don’t know why, please contact us.
Know Your Client (“KYC”) Information
We act as a portfolio manager on your behalf and are required to obtain certain KYC information from you before executing any transactions so that we can determine whether investments are suitable for your situation in relation to your investment objectives, risk profile and other personal and financial circumstances. We are required to put your interests first, ahead of our own interests and any other competing considerations, when making any recommendations or taking any investment action in your account.
KYC information includes details:
- to establish your identity
- to establish whether you are an insider of a reporting issuer
- concerning your investment needs and objectives
- to understand your personal circumstances
- to establish your investment time horizon
- to note your investment knowledge
- to assess your financial circumstances, and
- to determine your risk profile (willingness and ability to take on risk)
We may consider additional information, where relevant to your particular circumstance.
You provide KYC information when you complete the online Application, and maintain KYC information through our online platform. The KYC information that you have provided to us at the time of your account opening, “Application Snapshot,” is available in the Documents section of the Assante Connect platform.
It is important that you provide us with accurate KYC information and let us know about any changes to your KYC information. This includes letting us know if your circumstances change or if any of the information you previously provided needs to be updated. This could include changes to your address, marital status, employment, income, attitude about risk, or investment assets or debt. If there are changes, we will review the new information, assess the investment recommendation and, if necessary, make changes to your portfolio. We will connect with you on a periodic basis to confirm there are no changes to your information or circumstances so that your portfolio remains suitable for your needs and objectives.
Assante Connect is required under applicable securities regulations to ensure each investment recommendation or investment action is suitable based on the information you provide to us, including that the recommendation or investment action puts your interests first. This requirement applies both to transactions recommended by us and transactions proposed by you.
We must take reasonable steps to confirm that, before we make a recommendation or accept an instruction from you to buy or sell a security for your managed account, it is suitable for you based on the KYC information you provided. If you instruct us to buy, sell or hold a security that in our opinion would not be suitable for you, we will inform you of the reasons and will not buy or sell the security unless you instruct us to proceed nonetheless. A portfolio manager must pre-approve the suitability of any transaction based on the KYC information you provided.
Our Help site provides some helpful definitions of the KYC terms that will be used in making a suitability determination for you.
Trusted Contact Person
We encourage you to provide us with the name and contact information of a trusted contact person, who should be an individual with whom you are comfortable allowing us to discuss your financial or personal circumstances, in specific circumstances. We may contact your trusted contact person and/or disclose information about you or your account to your trusted contact person:
(i) if we are concerned that you are being exploited financially
(ii) if we are concerned about your mental capacity as it relates to your ability to make decisions involving financial matters
(iii) to obtain the name and contact information of your legal representative, if any; and
(iv) to obtain your contact information if we cannot get in touch with you.
When you provide us with a name of a trusted contact person, you confirm to us that you have the consent of that person to provide us with their name and contact information and that the person knows you are naming them as your trusted contact. As with your other account information, it is important to keep this information current. Learn more about naming a trusted contact person.
Assante Connect provides you with a summary of your account(s) in accordance with regulatory requirements, including a monthly statement with information about your investments including original cost, performance, fees, and transactions.
You can access your account information, account statements, and tax documents at any time through our online platform. Account information available includes fees, current holdings, activities, and portfolio values as of the last date of valuation. Account statements are provided through the online platform monthly, and we will notify you when they are made available each month. Any tax documents related to your account(s) are provided through the online platform and we will notify you as each tax document is made available.
You should regularly review all account information, portfolio holdings, and performance. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your client reporting. Please review your statements and notify us of any discrepancies within 45 days of its distribution.
We charge a management fee regardless of your account performance. Fees are based on a blended annual rate, calculated daily, and deducted from your account each month in arrears. The management fee we charge reduces the return of your account over time. We determine your blended annual rate based on the value of all of your accounts according to the pricing tiers in our fee schedule (Schedule C of the Agreement). We calculate your monthly fee by applying the daily equivalent of your blended annual rate to your daily balances. Charging a monthly management fee based on account balances instead of other pricing structures, like earning commissions on investments, supports our commitment to providing you with objective advice.
Visit our Help site for the most recent fee schedule.
Our management fee covers our investment advisory and financial planning services, as well as the following costs incurred by your account:
- custodial fees
- trading fees
- account administration fees
- registration fees (for TFSAs and RRSP, Spousal RRSP, LIRA, RIF and LIF plans subject to account minimums), and
- deregistration fees (for deregistration of registered plans such as TFSAs, RRSPs, etc.)
We will not introduce any new charges or fees unless we provide you with at least 60 days prior written notice. Any such changes may be further restricted under the Agreement, or by securities rules and regulations.
Management Expense Ratio (MER) Fees Charged by Third Parties
You may pay other fees or expenses related to management, brokerage, legal, accounting, or custody, to the issuers of ETFs or mutual funds held in your portfolio. The management expense ratio (MER) fee is charged by the underlying fund companies in your portfolio. The MER is not a fee deducted from your account and is instead reflected in the prices of the investments in your portfolio. It is expressed as a percentage of fund assets and is not billed to you directly. The MER does affect you because it reduces the fund’s return and the overall performance of your account.
We calculate the MER of the investments in your portfolio using a weighted average of the MERs of the investments in your portfolio. We always disclose the MER of your portfolio to you through our online platform.
You should note that every dollar taken out to cover fees of any type is one dollar less to invest in your account. The impact of these fees compound over time as a deduction to the overall value of your account and over longer periods of time, this impact increases. We can answer any questions you may have about the fees of each fund in which you invest.
Foreign Exchange Fees
You may be charged up to a thirty-five (35) basis point (0.35%) foreign exchange fee by the custodian of your account on currency conversion if we need to buy or sell foreign currency to trade securities in your account. We primarily use Canadian denominated investments, reducing the likelihood of a foreign currency conversion in your account.
Operating Charges, Transaction Charges and Compensation
Any operating charges, transaction charges or other compensation, and any other expenses you may be subject to, are set out in your Agreement.
Assante Connect and its employees do not collect commissions from the investments we manage. The only compensation we receive is from the management fee (see the Management Fee section).
If we receive any commissions as a result of products held in your name, they will be credited to your account on a pro-rata basis, based on the holdings in the account and the time the security was held during the billing period. This credit will be reflected on your statement.
Risks of Investing
As a Assante Connect client, you benefit from the expertise of portfolio managers who are dedicated to selecting investments for your specific portfolio. Visit our Help site for a summary of some of these risks.
Leverage Disclosure Statement
Using borrowed money to finance the purchase of securities involves greater risk than using cash resources only. If you borrow money to purchase securities, your responsibility to repay the loan and pay interest as required by its terms remains the same even if the value of the securities purchased declines.
We do not lend you nor help you borrow money for investing. We do not adjust our recommendation if you are using borrowed funds to invest. If you wish to discuss this additional risk with us, please reach out to one of our portfolio managers.
Where Your Assets Are Held
Assante Connect does not hold physical custody of your assets or accounts; all of your assets and accounts are held in client name by an external custodian or carrying broker. We do not have access to your assets held by a custodian. This is the primary benefit of having a third-party custodian and minimizes the risk of loss. You have provided us with the authority to instruct custodians to buy and sell securities in your account(s) and debit your account management fees.
In selecting a custodian, we considered such factors as:
- ease and cost of trade execution
- the size, financial stability, and strength of the custodians
- the reduction of risk of loss to the client assets through the selection of more than one custodian, and
- the laws and regulations to which each custodian is subject
We believe the selection of large, financially sound, and regulated custodians substantially reduces the risk of loss or misappropriation of client assets and is in the best interest of our clients.
Assante Connect has a written agreement in place with each custodian which outlines the roles and obligations of Assante Connect and the custodian. In addition to holding your assets, the custodian is responsible for providing services including acting as a dealer to trade securities as directed by Assante Connect, completing tax reporting, providing confirmations and statements, and deducting our management fee.
We have selected one or more of the following companies to act as your custodian: CI Investment Services Inc., Credential Qtrade Securities Inc., and National Bank Independent Network. All of our custodians are Canadian custodians under applicable securities laws and members of both the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (“IIROC”) and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (“CIPF”), which provides limited protection for customer accounts in case of the custodians’ insolvency for up to $1 million per account type category. Visit CIPF to learn more.
We monitor our custodial arrangements and may make changes to or appoint additional custodians should we determine it is in the best interest of our clients.
Assante Connect may place a temporary hold on the purchase or sale of a security on your behalf or on the withdrawal or transfer of cash or securities from your account, where we reasonably believe that you might have an illness, impairment, disability or aging-process limitation that places you at risk of financial exploitation, and we believe that you are, or may be exploited financially, or if we believe you do not have the mental capacity to make decisions involving financial matters. If we place a temporary hold on your account in either of these situations, a notice of the temporary hold and the reasons for the temporary hold will be provided to you as soon as possible after placing the temporary hold. Unless the hold is revoked, a notice of the decision to continue the hold and the reasons for that decision will be provided to you within 30 days of placing the temporary hold, and within every subsequent 30-day period. We may also contact your trusted contact person, if designated, in these circumstances.
Assante Connect has a business continuity plan to help us to continue to serve you where there is a business interruption owing to an unforeseen event (e.g., power outage, earthquake, fire, flood, etc.). We test this plan annually.
Conflicts of Interest
A conflict of interest is any circumstance where the interests of a client and those of Assante Connect or individuals acting on our behalf are inconsistent or divergent. We take reasonable steps to identify and respond to material conﬂicts of interest and conflicts that are reasonably foreseeable. Conflicts of interest may include conflicts between:
- you as our client and Assante Connect
- you and other Assante Connect clients
- Assante Connect and our related and associated companies and issuers
Assante Connect is committed to ensuring that your interests always have precedence. We seek to ensure effective management of any situation that could give rise to a conflict of interest. We seek to manage conflicts of interest in your best interest.
We respond to conflicts of interest in a fair and transparent manner consistent with the best interests of our clients using three methods:
- control, and
Avoiding Conflicts of Interest
We avoid conflicts that are prohibited by law as well as conflicts that cannot be responded to reasonably with controls or disclosures.
Controlling Conflicts of Interest
We have established policies and procedures to control material conflicts of interest, such as the design of our organizational structure and lines of reporting, physical separation of different business functions, and limiting the internal exchange of information.
Disclosing Conflicts of Interest
Assante Connect will provide you with information about any conflicts of interest that may reasonably affect the services we provide at the time of account opening and in certain situations before investing your account. Disclosure will be provided in a timely manner so that you have a reasonable amount of time to assess the conflict.
Please view our Conflicts of Interest Disclosure
Performance Benchmarks and How to Use Them
We do not provide benchmark comparisons. You should speak with a portfolio manager if you have any questions about the performance of your portfolio or which benchmark(s) might be appropriate for you.
You may assess the performance of your investments by comparing them to an investment performance benchmark. Benchmarks show the performance over time of a select group of securities. There are many different benchmarks. When choosing a benchmark, you should pick one that reflects your investments. For example, the S&P/TSX Composite Index follows the share prices of the largest companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. This index would be a good benchmark for assessing performance of a Canadian equity fund that invests only in large Canadian companies. It would be a poor benchmark if investments are diversified in other products, sectors, or geographic areas.
We are committed to respecting and protecting the privacy and confidentiality of the information you have entrusted with us. Our Privacy Notice outlines how we collect, use, disclose, store, and safeguard your personal information. Our Privacy Notice is available at our Help site.
Complaint Handling Process
We are committed to providing you with a high level of service. Should you have a complaint related to your account, contact the Chief Compliance Officer, Assante Connect by mail at #900 – 625 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC, V6C 2T6; by telephone by calling 1-888-922-7366; or by emailing [email protected].
We will endeavour to resolve the matter as quickly as possible and to your satisfaction. Recognizing that investors may not be satisfied with our response or remediation, independent dispute resolution services are available free of charge and coordinated by our Chief Compliance Officer.
In filing a complaint, you should detail what went wrong, when it happened, and what your expectations are. We will acknowledge receipt of a complaint formally within five business days of its receipt. As soon as practically possible within 90 days of receiving a complaint, we will provide a written assessment detailing the results of its investigation, how we have or propose to remedy the situation (or confirmation of no issue) and an explanation of our position and decision. If you are not satisfied, you may seek independent dispute resolution services from the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) or from the Autoritè des Marchès Financiers if you live in Quebec.
Alternatively, you may direct your complaint to the OBSI (www.obsi.ca) by email at [email protected], by phone at 1-888-451-4519 or by fax at 1-888-422-2865. OBSI’s recommendations are not binding on you or us. OBSI can recommend compensation of up to $350,000. If you agree to their recommendation, you agree to that limit. OBSI services are available within 6 years from the time you first knew, or ought to have known, about an event causing the compliant. You may only file with OBSI following the expiry of 90 days from the time the complaint was first raised with Assante Connect directly and within 180 days following Assante Connect’s response to your complaint. If you want to recover more than $350,000, you may wish to consider alternatives to resolve your complaint. You have the option to use your own resolution service at your own expense.
In Quebec, if you are dissatisfied with how your complaint was handled, you may request your complaint file at Assante Connect be forwarded to the Autorité des Marchés Financiers, 333 Grande Allée E, Quebec QC G1R 5W3, for examination. The Autorité des Marchés Financiers may act as a mediator only where it determines it is appropriate to do so.