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Get The Down Low On Series D Mutual Funds

Jan. 22, 2014
3 mins
An older professional woman gazes out the window while taking a break from working on her laptop at home

Attention do-it-yourself investors: the slick next generation of the Series D has arrived.

If the above sentence reads like complete gibberish or sounds like a new car launch to you, then you’re in the right place.

A New Type Of Mutual Fund

While discounted mutual funds have been available from low-fee fund firms like Phillips, Hager & North and Beutel Goodman for a while now, RBC has recently added "Series D" funds from Invesco, BlackRock and Mackenzie.

Translation: if you have investor wits and don’t care much for advice but still want an actively managed mutual funds, Series D mutual funds might be your bag.

In an attempt to wrap our head around how the Series D funds work, we chatted with Doug Coulter, president of RBC Global Asset Management Inc. Here’s what he had to say:

MW: What is a Series D or discount mutual fund?

DC: Series D is designed specifically for self-directed investors who would like to benefit from the professional investment management offered by mutual funds, but wish to do the investment research and decision making themselves.

Series D is available to clients with a minimum of $500 to invest per mutual fund, per account, and a subsequent investment minimum of $25. Series D units are available on over 100 RBC Funds, PH&N Funds and BlueBay Funds across a variety of asset classes and investment styles, corporate class funds and currency-hedged options, enabling investors to build well-diversified portfolios.

MW: How do they work?

DC: Series D works the same as any other mutual fund series.

The main difference is the pricing: Series D charges a lower management fee because there is no advice component that an investor would pay when investing through an advisor. Thus, Series D units are suitable for self-directed investors who want to invest in actively managed funds and enjoy the cost savings associated with making their own decisions.

Series D can typically be purchased through discount brokerages (such as RBC Direct Investing) or through PH&N Investment Services.

MW: What's the purpose behind Series D and how does a series D differ from other mutual fund series?

Series D will appeal to the do-it-yourself investor who is looking for lower-cost, actively managed mutual funds, without an advice component.

From our perspective, Series D supports investor choice.  For many investors, a full-service advice model makes sense.  For many others, a self-directed model is appropriate, and Series D enables investors to make that choice and invest accordingly.

Canadians today have a range of options available to them when investing in mutual funds, depending on the type of access, service and advice that suits their needs. We support that choice.

Series D rewards do-it-yourself investors for managing their own investments.

MW: What type of investor would want to avoid these funds?

Investors who are looking for access to investment professionals, advice on portfolio construction and buy-and-sell recommendations or services like budgeting and retirement planning may prefer to deal with a full-service advisor who can provide these and many other services. In this case, a more traditional mutual fund solution (which would include a fee for advice as part of the fund’s management fee) would make sense.

The choice is in the hands of investors, where we believe it belongs.

Andrew Seale

Andrew Seale is a freelance writer with an absurdly hyperactive mind and predilection towards the obscure and eclectic. He frequently shares his personal finance experiences and mishaps with TheDot readers but has also been known to profile business leaders ranging from financial savants to bootstrapped entrepreneurs. His work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Yahoo Canada Finance and News, Profit Magazine, The Toronto Star, Enroute Magazine, and on the back of napkins sometimes tucked into the pockets of strangers. He can be found at

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