"Seg" funds no longer make much sense

MoneySense Magazine, by Julie Cazzin
October 2008

If you’re a senior citizen, a small business owner or simply a cautious investor, you’ve probably heard sales pitches for what are known as segregated funds. Our advice? Steer clear.

“Seg” funds are offered by insurance companies; at first glance, they look much like mutual funds. But seg funds impose very high fees — as much as 4% a year, which is substantially more than the 2% to 2.5% that most mutual funds charge, and four to 10 times what index funds bill you.

So why would anyone buy a seg fund? A major appeal used to be that creditors could not seize seg funds if you went bust. So if you had concerns about your financial health, or ran a small business in a risky industry, seg funds provided you with a lockbox that your creditors couldn’t get into if things went wrong.

Full text: Segregated funds: A cracked nest egg