Q: Dear Pat: Can you please explain how real return bonds work? Also, are they worth investing in, especially the iShares Canadian Real Return Bond Index ETF and the iShares Floating Rate Index ETF? Thanks.

A: Real-return bonds pay you a rate of return that’s adjusted for inflation.

Here’s how they work:

When a real-return bond is issued, the level of the consumer price index (CPI) on that date is applied to the bond. After that, both the principal and interest payments… Read More

Q: Pat, I want to invest in Swiss stocks and was wondering what your thoughts are on Switzerland, in general, and the iShares MSCI Switzerland ETF, in particular? Thank you.

A: Switzerland has a strong economic system where the country’s revenue exceeds its expenses, so there is no deficit. That improves its self-reliance and the stability of its currency.

The country also has flexible labour markets, high productivity and an emphasis on high-value exports that are… Read More

Q: Hi, Pat. My question relates to the Horizons Active Preferred Share ETF. Compared to holding the preferred shares of individual companies, does an ETF like this provide any advantages? Is this the best one to buy if you want to buy such an ETF? Thanks!

A: Preferred shares behave more like long-term fixed-income instruments rather than short-term instruments. So while short-term interest rates are still relatively low, the outlook for long-term interest rates is less certain.

The underlying credit quality of preferred share issuers can be a negative factor in some… Read More