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Canadian investors showed reduced risk appetite over the previous month and quarter, while maintaining an average level of investment risk for the year, according to Vanguard’s new Canadian Risk Speedometer.

Vanguard Canadian Risk Speedometer (CNW Group/Vanguard Canada)

“Canadian investors have been staying disciplined in their risk appetite, given above average stock market returns and below average volatility, which is a positive sign,” said Todd Schlanger, senior investment strategist for Vanguard Investments Canada Inc. “This is in contrast to the typical pattern we have seen in similar periods of strong stock market returns. This may be reflective of increased investment discipline and prudent rebalancing strategies on the part of investors.”

The one-month risk speedometer reading fell significantly to below average for September compared to August, with slightly below average investor risk appetite for the third quarter of the year. The risk speedometer for the year is just moderately above average although the recent trend is moving to investor preference for less risk in their investment portfolios.

Vanguard Canadian Risk Speedometer

Sources: Vanguard calculations, using data from Morningstar, Inc.

“Given the magnitude and duration of the bull market in stocks, we would expect investment risk appetite to be higher, given similar types of market environments in the past,” said Fran Kinniry, principal in Vanguard’s Investment Strategy Group. “With risk appetite at average or lower levels, we appear to be seeing a trend towards broad-based asset allocators rather than fund selectors in the Canadian market. If true, we see this as a very positive development for investor outcomes and advisory practices.”

Vanguard’s investment risk speedometers are intended to provide a factual representation of how investor risk appetite is trending today, relative to the past. The index calculates cumulative net cash flows into high-risk and low-risk asset categories (Canadian mutual funds and ETFs) as a percentage of total assets under management, relative to historical data.

The result is a risk measure that can be tracked over time and displayed in a risk speedometer index over 1, 3 and 12-month periods ending September 30, 2017. When risk appetite is above its historical average, the needle is right of centre. When risk appetite is below its historical average, the need is left of centre. When risk appetite is average, the needle is exactly in the middle.

Canadian investors have been embracing the benefits of global diversification and reducing their positions in more niche or speciality investment products,” added Schlanger. “Accordingly, global bonds were a popular choice for investors along with global equities, as investors seek to strike a balance, lower their investing costs and mitigate risk.”

The chart below provides underlying asset category details in terms of net cash flows and changes in assets under management that resulted in the current risk appetite readings, for the periods ending September 30, 2017.

Top winners

1-month inflows ($B)

3-month inflows ($B)

12-month inflows ($B)

1

Global bond

1.1

Global bond

3.1

Global bond

13.8

2

CAD bond

0.9

Global equity

1.9

Global equity

5.4

3

Global equity

0.7

Intl equity

1.7

Global equity bal

5.2

1-month inflows (% of AUM)

3-month inflows (% of AUM)

12-month inflows (% of AUM)

1

Trading-misc

13.0%

Volatility

29.2%

Preferred share bond

54.1%

2

CAD long-term bond

5.6%

U.S. money market

12.7%

Floating rate loans

54.0%

3

Cmdty-prec metals

5.2%

Trading-misc

12.5%

Volatility

50.6%

Top losers

1-month inflows ($B)

3-month inflow ($B)

12-month inflows ($B)

1

CAD equity

-1.8

CAD equity

-1.7

CAD equity

-2.3

2

CAD neutral bal

-0.4

CAD neutral bal

-1.1

CAD foc equity

-2.2

3

CAD foc equity

-0.4

CAD foc equity

-1.0

CAD neutral bal

-1.5

1-month inflows (% of AUM)

3-month inflows (% of AUM)

12-month inflows (% of AUM)

1

Passive inverse/Levgd

-5.8%

Passive Inverse/Levgd

-4.7%

Passive inverse/Levgd

-34.7%

2

Financial services

-3.4%

Misc-inc and real prop

-3.1%

Multicurrency

-17.7%

3

CAD equity

-2.0%

Natural resources

-2.6%

Trading-misc

-16.3%

Sources: Vanguard calculations, using data from Morningstar, Inc.

Vanguard offers 33 ETFs in Canada, with over $12 billion (CAD) in assets under management (as of September, 30, 2017).

About Vanguard

Vanguard Investments Canada Inc. is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of The Vanguard Group, Inc. and manages more than CAD 12 billion in assets (as of September 30, 2017). The Vanguard Group, Inc. is one of the world’s largest investment management companies and a leading provider of company-sponsored retirement plan services. Vanguard manages USD 4.6 trillion in global assets (as of August 31, 2017) with over USD 800B in ETF assets. Vanguard has offices in the United StatesCanadaEuropeAustralia and Asia. The firm offers more than 370 funds, including ETFs, to its more than 20 million investors worldwide.

Vanguard operates under a unique operating structure. Unlike firms that are publicly held or owned by a small group of individuals, The Vanguard Group, Inc. is owned by Vanguard’s U.S.-domiciled funds and ETFs. Those funds, in turn, are owned by Vanguardclients. This unique mutual structure aligns Vanguard interests with those of its investors and drives the culture, philosophy, and policies throughout the Vanguard organization worldwide. As a result, Canadian investors benefit from Vanguard’s stability and experience, low-cost investing, and client focus. For more information, please visit vanguardcanada.ca.

Source: Morningstar

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