Most investors, those who manage their portfolio and those who have portfolio managers aspire to achieve successful results with the money they pour into their investments. Portfolio management is the art and science of matching investments to objectives and allocating assets to balance risk against performance. As a result, it is often a two-pronged approach.

There are two types of investors when human behavior is considered. Firstly, there is the momentum investor that tends to follow the crowd, and then there is the contrarian investor that does the opposite of what everyone else is trading.

There tend to be three components of portfolio management:

  • Deciding where to allocate assets
  • Selection of individual assets
  •  Execution (ex. Considering the costs of trading)

As a result, some of your assets may be assigned to purchasing bonds while a portion of your portfolio may be reserved for the daily trading of stocks on Canadian and American markets.

Now that you know some of the basics of portfolio management and investment strategies let’s discuss the best portfolio tracker in Canada, for Canadians.

No More Google Finance

Whether you are thinking of swing trading or compounding returns through dividend stocks, knowing where exactly your portfolio stands on any given moment is crucial to your success. Most investors have been using Google Finance because it is an accurate and informative platform that also doesn’t have distracting or irrelevant advertising. Unfortunately, Google has announced the shut-down of their portfolio tracking feature within the Finance app which has left many investors stranded for an alternative.

There are other free options available such as Morningstar and Yahoo Finance but proceed with caution as you will likely have to deal with limited features that require a paid upgrade and/or irrelevant advertising.

Discount Broker: Questrade’s Portfolio IQ

While there are many free portfolio trackers out there, they are often not worth the hassle because they do not provide enough insight or require an upgrade to a paid version. As a result, we recommended exploring the best portfolio tracker by seeing if your discount broker or stock trading platform offers an asset tracking program. Questrade provides both managed and personally-directed products/services. For example, if you have a regular stock trading/investing account known as their Margin account, then they offer a suite of features to generate reports and track your investments across the platform.

Canada’s leading discount brokerage, Questrade has an excellent asset management software program that is also easy to use for those that do not consider themselves experts in technology. It is called Portfolio IQ.

Average mutual funds charge anywhere between 2-3 percent in investment fees, but Questrade has a standard cost of 0.7% fee. About three times the discount!

Most investors understand the benefits of compounding. For every dollar your portfolio generates in revenue may not result in you keeping all of it. However, you do get to keep every dollar you save which is why a discount brokerage is favored among Canadians from British Columbia all the way to Newfoundland Coast.

If you are a wealthier individual with more than $100,000 to invest, this fee is significantly cut up to a marginal 0.35%. Best of all, you get account protection for up to $10 million.

You can get Questrade to manage your portfolio with a variety of different objectives. They offer the following portfolios

  • Aggressive growth portfolio
  • Growth portfolio
  • Conservative portfolio
  •  Balance portfolio
  • Income portfolio

The investor statements you’ll get include recommendations and analysis from Questrade as well as charts, graphs, and statistics on where you stand against your financial goals.

Management Tips for those with No or a Bad Portfolio

The best way to manage a portfolio is to have one in the first place. The number of Canadians that do not own or actively participate in their portfolio management is staggering. Starting early or starting now means your assets will have more time to grow and compound within your investments.

Some basic tips include opening a tax-free savings account and participating in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). Keep in mind that interest compounds and savings build-up just if money is not taken out of the account.

Most Canadians that are investment are doing so with a discount brokerage firm which significantly drops the number of fees that you would otherwise pay with the Big 5 banks such as TD Canada Trust and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).

Include Statistics in Your Strategy

Statistics is a strategic way to organize complicated information into a short and easy to understand number. You can use basic statistics to build a more successful portfolio than all of your friends and family.

Return is one of the most popular metrics used to evaluate a portfolio. Returns will vary based on the type of investment you make. For example, bonds tend to remain stable and provide a higher yield in weak economic times while stocks perform better when the economy is growing.

You can benchmark you returns based on the type of investment you make. For example, treasury bonds have a benchmark return of 7.3%. Does your portfolio match this return? Moreover, small-cap stocks have shown a 10.5% return on investment (ROI) whereas international stocks have produced a 3.6% yield.

Conclusion:

While there are many free portfolio trackers, they are not recommended due to the fact they are usually not free (require upgrades for advanced features) or display irrelevant advertising. Choose to use the portfolio management tools provided by your investment platform as they are the most secure and useful option you have. If you are paying too high of fees with your current trading platform, then consider a switch to a discount brokerage.