How Advisors Help Support the Fight for Ukraine
Are you a professional financial adviser? Register for Globe Advisor then subscribe to the new weekly newsletter on our newsletter subscription page. Get exclusive news and insights on the investing industry, top headlines of the week, and what you and your clients need to know.
Some Canadian financial advisors are fighting for Ukraine in ways that go well beyond their areas of expertise.
Many of them help their clients direct charitable donations in the most efficient and tax-efficient way. Some coordinate volunteers and aid expeditions, while planning future fundraisers to support post-war reconstruction efforts. Others go further and set up personalized financial resources for the thousands of Ukrainians arriving in Canada, while a few even make room in their own homes for newcomers to stay.
Carole Urias, Certified Financial Planner, Insurance and Financial Advisor with Peak Investment Services Inc. in East Selkirk, Manitoba, is preparing to welcome four members of her extended Ukrainian family – two parents and their six- and two-year-old children. elderly children – after successfully escaping to Poland.
After spending several hours on a video call going over their immigration paperwork, she realized that her fellow counselors could start offering their skills to help with complex paperwork for Ukrainians fleeing to Canada via the federal government’s new temporary resident program.
“What’s really going to be helpful and necessary is if you go through the documents required to come to Canada and say, ‘I have experience with documents like this or I can plead in your name,” says Ms. Urias. “It could make a big difference for people.”
Peter Gimon, a financial security advisor with Navigo Financial Solutions in Oakville, Ont., also offers to house newly arrived Ukrainians.
“My kids moved out and I have a 4,000 square foot house and it’s just me and my wife right now,” Gimon says.
While waiting for his local Ukrainian church to send out an appeal on behalf of new immigrants, he says it would be a good idea to establish a group of volunteer counselors to help him.
“When people are displaced and have to come here, many of them don’t have anyone to help them establish themselves financially, especially when it comes to protecting them from those who might try to take advantage of them. them or to rip them off,” he said.
Helping Ukrainians should only be a starting point, Gimon says, saying advisers should help those coming from other parts of the world such as Afghanistan or Syria, as they will need to reassess their finances.
Taras Pidzamecky, CEO and general counsel of the Ukrainian Credit Union (UCU), a member-owned financial cooperative in Toronto, says the organization dates back to 1944 and has helped waves of newly arrived Ukrainians find their foot in Canada. It is also a personalized accompaniment of the last generation. Some examples include preferential loan terms, no-fee bank accounts, and credit cards with $1,500 limits without the need to submit credit history or collateral.
“Some have never left Ukraine and don’t speak English and will have no access to finance,” Pidzamecky said. “They are going to have different needs compared to others who may have traveled a bit, speak a bit of English and are a bit more affluent.”
The organization aims to help those most in need, but the resources are available to everyone, he adds.
UCU has branches in 12 cities across Ontario, and many of them have become networking hubs, connecting people who want to volunteer and those who need advice, Pidzamecky says. The Hamilton branch recently helped coordinate two humanitarian flights to Ukraine.
UCU also waives all fees for wire transfers and money transfers to Ukraine or neighboring countries where millions of people have been displaced.
It’s a similar situation in Manitoba, where the Carpathia Credit Union has also started waiving fees associated with sending money to Ukraine and implemented a one-click donation capability on its website.
Other ways to donate
Craig Swistun, Associate Portfolio Manager at Lexicon Financial Group at Raymond James Investment Counsel Ltd. in Toronto, says counselors can provide the most value to those who can afford to provide other financial support.
“If a customer wants to give $200 or $500 on their credit card, then they have more power, but I think it’s our job as industry professionals to just say…” Can we? us explore that?” says Mr. Swistun. . “From that will come a more efficient way to donate.”
Giving to a national charity that works in Ukraine, as opposed to a charity based in Ukraine, allows the donor to get a tax credit, he says, “and then you can do some quick math and figure out how it allows you to give more. ”
Donations of appreciated securities allow the donor to obtain the same tax credit while avoiding capital gains tax. They can also be processed in as little as a day and any registered Canadian charity can accept them, Swiston says.
“Is it slower than giving money? Yes, but is it much slower? No,” he says. “Giving money is the fastest, but least effective way to give.”
Meanwhile, Funding Matters Inc. in Toronto has created an online tool called Giftabulator that potential donors can use to compare different ways to offer financial support to Ukraine.
Bill Petruck, the company’s managing director, explains that part of the goal is to provide advisors with a platform similar to a mortgage calculator that allows them to discuss broader goals with clients, such as how to support Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction efforts.
“We want to educate people, but advisors have to play a role,” says Petruck. “The reality is that most donors won’t know where to turn. They won’t realize they need to talk to their advisor about it.
To learn more about Globe Advisor, visit our home page.