In the air again...

Ahmed Farooq, CIMA®, CFP

Ahmed Farooq, CIMA®, CFP
Vice President - ETF Business Development at Franklin Templeton Canada

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Being on the road my entire career meant that travelling really became second nature to me. Whether it’s driving three or four hours to close a sale, or getting on an early morning flight, then jumping into a rental car to attend multiple meetings before heading back to the airport to fly to another destination—clocking up thousands of miles became my routine. That all came to an abrupt halt in March of 2020 and I’ve been homebound ever since.

So I was more than ready for my first road trip at the end of September when I travelled to Ottawa. My schedule was full too, as my clients in the area were receptive to the idea of actually meeting in person.

COVID-19 is still very much with us, however, so it wasn’t exactly back to normal. The normal excitement and energy I would have for a trip was tempered by the anxiety of travelling during a pandemic and all that entails. I was concerned about the new protocols, as well as getting on a plane for the first time in 18 months and wearing a mask for the full trip.

Usually for domestic flights, I’m a stickler for showing up to the gate 10 minutes before boarding is about to begin. Like clockwork, I would leave my home 70 minutes before a flight, arrive at the airport 40 minutes prior, race through the nexus line, head to my line in Zone 2 for Air Canada, and within minutes boarding would begin. This time, when I checked in for my flight online, Air Canada recommended that I arrive 90 minutes before take-off due to potential delays brought on by extra covid protocols and screening.

Breaking from my normal routine meant I started to worry about flying and even getting to the airport, but now speaking after the fact, I can tell you that not much has changed.  I was still able to pass through security via the Nexus line, and with less people flying I arrived at the gate much faster.  Being there almost 90 minutes early, I thought it would be good opportunity to re-visit the two Air Canada lounges in Pearson Airport.  The Air Canada Café was still closed but will be re-opening in the coming weeks and the Air Canada lounge was busy, but with less seats as people were mostly spread out. The buffet area was closed when I was there, there was a menu of prepackaged foods and drinks that were offered instead.

Seating at the gates is now limited to every other seat, and I was surprised to see how busy it was. My own flight was completely full, and I asked the Air Canada flight attendant how things were going. She said it was great to see people back and Air Canada had started to slowly add back more flights to their schedule.  I was also happy to see the plane itself had been spruced up—the attendant had mentioned that the majority of the Air Canada fleet had undergone upgrades. New seats, access to WIFI on most of the fleet, new brighter 10-inch screens and mood lighting, features I had only seen before on the larger 767, 777, and 787 planes. When we took to the air, I started feeling some of the old adrenaline that I had been missing.

After 2 full days of meetings, to end the road trip, we met with 35 advisors at the CFL game. It was 3 hours of pouring rain, but we all enjoyed ourselves nevertheless, watching the action from just behind the endzone and eating our soggy food.

It was great to finally be back on the road (and sky), the benefits of seeing clients face-to-face, catching up with them both personally and professionally, but also being able to provide updates on Franklin Templeton and our ETF offerings was something I really enjoyed. In-person meetings will almost always be my preference, even in our new digital world.  

ETF Year-End Distributions

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In the air again...

COVID-19 is still very much with us, however, so it wasn’t exactly back to normal. The normal excitement and energy I would have for a trip was tempered by the anxiety of travelling during a pandemic and all that entails.

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What Are the Risks?

Commissions, management fees and expenses may all be associated with investments in ETFs. Investors should carefully consider an ETF’s investment objectives and strategies, risks, fees and expenses before investing. The prospectus and ETF facts contain this and other information. Please read the prospectus and ETF facts carefully before investing. ETFs trade like stocks, fluctuate in market value and may trade at prices above or below the ETF’s net asset value. Brokerage commissions and ETF expenses will reduce returns. Performance of an ETF may vary significantly from the performance of an index, as a result of transaction costs, expenses and other factors. The indicated rates of return are the historical annual compounded total returns including changes in share or unit value and reinvestment of all dividends or distributions and do not take into account sales, redemption, distribution or optional charges or income taxes payable by any security holder that would have reduced returns. ETFs are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.

Ahmed Farooq’s comments, opinions and analyses are for informational purposes only and should not be considered individual investment advice or recommendations to invest in any security or to adopt any investment strategy. Because market and economic conditions are subject to rapid change, comments, opinions and analyses are rendered as of the date of the posting and may change without notice. The material is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region, market, industry, investment or strategy.

All investments involve risks, including the possible loss of principal. Investments in foreign securities involve special risks including currency fluctuations, economic instability and political developments. Investments in emerging markets, of which frontier markets are a subset, involve heightened risks related to the same factors, in addition to those associated with these markets’ smaller size, lesser liquidity and lack of established legal, political, business and social frameworks to support securities markets. Because these frameworks are typically even less developed in frontier markets, as well as various factors including the increased potential for extreme price volatility, illiquidity, trade barriers and exchange controls, the risks associated with emerging markets are magnified in frontier markets. Stock prices fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and dramatically, due to factors affecting individual companies, particular industries or sectors, or general market conditions.