Tangerine Investment Funds Review: Core Portfolio vs Global ETFs

I have been a longtime Tangerine bank customer (previously called ING direct, but renamed to Tangerine Bank and now owned by the Bank of Nova Scotia).  I have always been interested in the Tangerine Investment Funds as one of my good friends (who I kept nagging to get started with DIY investing and to open a TD e-series account) invests with the Tangerine Investment Funds.  Here’s my Tangerine Investment Funds review.

She never ended up opening at TD e-series account, I think because it involved too many steps and was too much of a hassle because she was not a TD bank customer already.  She chose Tangerine because she already has a Tangerine high-interest savings account and the Tangerine cash back credit card.  She’s been happy with it and keeps socking away money towards her investments.

Tangerine Investment Funds Review

I thought I would take a look at the Tangerine Investment Funds.  Recently Tangerine also launched their new Tangerine Global ETF portfolios in November 2020.  This is different from the current offerings from the Tangerine Core Portfolio.

How Do Tangerine Investment Funds Work?

Tangerine Investment Funds are basically Tangerine mutual funds.

How to open up a Tangerine Investment Account?  If you’re interested in signing up for the Tangerine Investment Funds, I would recommend signing up for a Tangerine bank account first and then adding the investment funds to your account.  They even have Tangerine joint accounts. You will also get assigned an Orange Key (a referral number) where you can refer friends and family and get $50 when they open up an account and deposit $50 (they will get $50 too!).

Here’s my review on the Tangerine Savings Account if your’e interested, I have been a Tangerine Savings Account holder (previously called ING Direct) for over 10 years and have been a fan of their easy to use interface.

They recently added lots of savings goals features and have the very attractive and high promotional rate on their US Dollar savings accounts, so there’s lots of great reasons to add an account with Tangerine if you’re interested in investing with the Tangerine investment funds in tandem.

Then you pick your selected Tangerine Investment Fund according to your risk profile and can set up pre-authorized deposits (the automatic savings plan option) so that you are dollar cost averaging.  Remember you don’t have to rebalance your portfolio and the Tangerine Investment Funds does it for you automatically quarterly.

This Tangerine Investment Funds review will go over the Tangerine Core Portfolio and also the new Tangerine Global ETF portfolios and compare the two.

Tangerine Investment FUnds Core Portfolio

There are five Tangerine Investment Funds.  These funds are tailored towards investors with different risk profiles and tolerance for investing.  I have included in brackets the annual total MER fee for each Tangerine Investment Fund.

  • Tangerine Balanced Income Portfolio (1.06%)
  • Tangerine Balanced Portfolio (1.06%)
  • Tangerine Balanced Growth Portfolio (1.06%)
  • Tangerine Dividend Portfolio (1.06%)
  • Tangerine Equity Growth Portfolio (1.06%)
Tangerine Investment Funds
Source: Tangerine

You can figure out your risk tolerance and select a portfolio by answering questions through their portfolio selector.  The portfolio comparison chart compares the fund allocation to each other and gives a brief description of each of the Tangerine investment funds available.

Tangerine INvestment FUnds Cost

What is the Tangerine Investment Fund MER?  The Tangerine investment fund products have about the same MER, or Management Expense Ratio, around 1.06%.  The trailing commission (a fee that is paid while you own the fund) is included in this.

With the 1.06% MER on this investment product, it is a good idea to compare it to other DIY investment products available on the Canadian market.

Let’s put this into perspective, and talk dollars instead of percentages.  Let’s say you have $100,000 to invest.

  • This is roughly comparable to using a Robo-Advisor, which costs about 0.75-1% in fees on your investment (or about $750 to $1000 annually)
  • In comparison, a run of the mill mutual fund is around 2.5-3% of MER (think:  Fidelity Mutual Funds, Big Bank mutual funds etc.).  The average MER for a mutual fund in Canada is 2.28% according to Barrons.  This would be about $2280 annually (2.28%).
  • The TD e-series funds are around 0.3-0.5% depending on your portfolio.  They are cheaper than Tangerine Investment funds.  Here’s how to open, invest, and rebalance the TD e-series funds if you’re interested.  With this, you will have to be able to rebalance your portfolio.  Annually this is about $500.  Here’s a comparison between TD e-series vs ETF and which one is better.
  • The cheapest of all is if you open up a Questrade account (discount brokerage) and fill your portfolio up with ETFs, for example, the Vanguard VBAL (one single ETF to satisfy your needs), the cost on that is only 0.25% (because it is free to purchase ETFs on Questrade).  Here’s how to open up an ETF TFSA with Questrade.   This would be about $250 a year.

Now, let’s have a look at the Core Portfolio funds in this Tangerine Investment Funds review.

Tangerine Balanced Income Portfolio

The Balanced Income Portfolio has over $450 million assets under management and started in 2009.  As you can see in the asset allocation, the majority of the allocation is Canadian bonds.

It has about 78% of the allocation in Canada, and if you want to avoid home bias, this may not be a good fund to have if you’re starting out.  Also, if you are early in your investing career, being so conservative and investing in fixed income will hurt your returns in the long run.  The cost is 1.06% annually.

Since inception, the Tangerine Balanced Income Portfolio returns have only averaged a return of 4.51% annually.

Tangerine Balanced Portfolio

The Tangerine Balanced Portfolio has over $1,200 million assets under management.  This is Tangerine’s largest fund.  It began in 2009 and the MER cost is 1.07% annually (they charge 0.01% trading fees on top of the 1.06% annually).

The asset allocation mix of the Tangerine Balanced Portfolio s almost 40% Canadian bonds and about 20% of US equities, 20% international equities, and 20% Canadian equities each.

Tangerine Balanced Portfolio

Tangerine Balanced Growth Portfolio

The Tangerine balanced growth portfolio has over $1210 million assets under management and the MER cost is 1.06% annually (they charge 0.01% trading fees on top of the 1.06% annually).  The inception date of the Tangerine Balanced Growth portfolio also started in 2009.

The asset allocation is 22% of Canadian bonds, 77.6% of Canadian equities, US equities, and International equities (approximately).

Tangerine Balanced Growth Portfolio Review

The average annual return for the past 10 years for the Tangerine Balanced Growth Portfolio was 8.04%.

Tangerine Dividend Portfolio

The Tangerine Dividend Portfolio is newer than the rest of the Tangerine Core Portfolios and started in 2016.  It only has just over $166 million assets under management.

This portfolio does not have any bonds and instead has 50% Canadian equity that is focused on dividends, and 25% of US dividend equity and 25% of International dividend equity.

The overall fund expenses are 1.13%.

Tangerine Dividend Fund Review

Since inception (2016) The Tangerine Dividend Portfolio has returned 6.69%.

I love dividends so I was interested to find out what yield the Tangerine Dividend Portfolio provides.  It was difficult to find the dividend distribution percentage in the financial documents on Tangerine, but it looks like the dividend distribution is 1.69%.  See the below for the chart from Morningstar showing the distribution on the NAVPS, or net asset value per share.

Tangerine Dividend Portfolio
Source: Morningstar

Tangerine Equity Growth Portfolio

Finally, the Dividend Equity Growth portfolio is also relatively new and started in 2011.  The assets under management for this fund is over $1048 million currently.

The management expense ratio, or MER, is 1.06% (an additional 0.03% is added for the trading fees).

This fund also does not contain any bond funds and is about 33% of each in Canadian equities, US equities, and International equities.

In terms of US growth oriented companies, Facebook, Amazon, Apple are all included in this fund and about 10% of the fund is information technology, or tech.

Tangerine Equity Growth Portfolio

After taking a look at the five funds available to invest with Tangerine Investment Funds, I thought it would be a good idea to lay out the pros and cons (like I always like to do) about investing with Tangerine Investment Funds.

Tangerine Global ETF Portfolios Review

Here are the Tangerine Global ETF Portfolios.  Basically you can hold ETFs within a mutual fund with these portfolios.  The benefits of having a mutual fund is similar to the reason TD e-series are attractive.  You save money on the commissions for buying these funds.  You can have automatic contributions, rebalancing and dividend reinvesting with these Tangerine funds.

These ETFs are comprised mainly of Scotiabank ETFs which is not much of a surprise since Tangerine is owned by Scotiabank.

Tangerine created something with a lower MER cost and more global exposure compared to the Tangerine Core Portfolios.

Tangerine Balanced ETF Portfolio

The Tangerine Balanced ETF Portfolio has a similar risk profile to the Tangerine Balanced Core Portfolio, or about 40% in bonds and 60% in equities.  It has about $39 million in AUM.

The MER is 0.77%.

The approximate holdings for the Tangerine Balanced ETF are:

  • Scotia Canadian Bond Index Tracker ETF (40%)
  • Scotia US Equity Index Tracker ETF (34%)
  • Scotia International Equity Index Tracker ETF (16%)
  • iShares Core MSCI Emerging Market Index ETF (8%)
  • Scotia Canadian Large Cap Equity Index Tracker ETF (2%)

There is no annualized return fund performance information as it has not been 1 year since inception yet.

Tangerine Balanced Growth ETF Portfolio

For the Tangerine Balanced Growth ETF Portfolio, it is 25% in bonds and 75% in equities.  The Tangerine Balanced Growth ETF Portfolio uses the same ETFs but in different proportions.  It has about $151 million in AUM.

The MER for this fund is also 0.77%.

  • Scotia US Equity Index Tracker ETF (43%)
  • Scotia Canadian Bond Index Tracker ETF (25%)
  • Scotia International Equity Index Tracker ETF (20%)
  • iShares Core MSCI Emerging Market Index ETF (10%)
  • Scotia Canadian Large Cap Equity Index Tracker ETF (2%)

There is no annualized return fund performance information as it has not been 1 year since inception yet.

Tangerine Equity Growth ETF POrtfolio

Finally, the Tangerine Equity Growth ETF Portfolio is 100% equities.  It also uses the same ETFs as the other Tangerine Global ETF Portfolios, minus the Canadian Bond Index ETF.  The Tangerine Equity Growth ETF Portfolio has $94 million in AUM.

The MER for this fund is 0.77%.

  • Scotia US Equity Index Tracker ETF (57%)
  • Scotia International Equity Index Tracker ETF (26%)
  • iShares Core MSCI Emerging Market Index ETF (13%)
  • Scotia Canadian Large Cap Equity Index Tracker ETF (3%)

There is no annualized return fund performance information as it has not been 1 year since inception yet.

A Tangerine Investment Funds review is not complete without analyzing the pros and cons to answer the question: Are Tangerine Investment Funds good?  So here they are.

Tangerine Investment Funds Pros

  • The ease of use if you already have a Tangerine bank account ** this is huge** (all you have to do is add an account or call the investment phone number to add the account)
  • The portfolio selector is easy to use
  • They have a dividend fund option if you’re into dividends (though the payout is under 2%)
  • They have an automatic savings plan option (ASP) so that you can invest automatically (much like a robo-advisor)
  • If you are just starting out with investing and have less to invest (e.g. under $25,000), this is a good option because there is NO minimum to invest.
  • Tangerine investment funds are automatically rebalanced quarterly ** this is huge ** Many people are intimated by rebalancing or they forget to do it regularly and let their portfolio get off kilter.
  • They have a phone number if you have any questions about your funds: Tangerine Investment Management Inc. 1-877-700-1737 and are open Mon. to Fri. 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST. 

Tangerine Investment Funds Cons

  • The Tangerine investment funds are more expensive compared to the other DIY options out there
  • The returns aren’t high for the Tangerine Core Portfolios considering the high MER of over 1%, an average annual return is around 4-8% for each of their products
  • There are no returns information available for the Global ETF Portfolios yet but I think the returns should be quite good especially with the funds with <25% allocation in bonds.
  • The distributions are annual in December, instead of monthly or quarterly, so you won’t be able to see your dividends roll in frequently, which can be quite the downer for some, like me who love to see dividends roll in.

Tangerine Core POrtfolio vs Tangerine Global ETF Review

With the new Global ETF Portfolio available it might be confusing to know which one you should invest in.  If I were to invest with Tangerine, which are better options, the Core Portfolio or the Global ETF Portfolio?

In this Tangerine Investment Funds review, let’s take a look at the MERs of the holdings of the Tangerine Global ETF portfolio:

As you can see, the MERs listed come no where near the 0.77% MER of the Global ETF portfolio.

Well, consider the Global ETF portfolios are basically just funds that hold ETFs, why not just buy the ETFs directly?  (Using a brokerage that is free for ETF purchases course.  If you paid commissions each time you bought ETFs this would add up to quite a bit if you are dollar cost averaging).

That being said, the growth of the Global ETF portfolios will likely be much higher compared to the core portfolios, if you opt for the ETF portfolios with less than 25% allocation in bonds.

The TSX has long been a drag to investors (except for this year so far, 2021) and the Canadian GDP is only less than 2% of the entire world’s GDP.

If you look at this chart from Taxtips.ca, you’ll see that the 10 year returns of the S&P500 are 16.7% and the 10 year returns of the TSX/S&P Composite are 5.8%.

TSX S&P Compsite and S&P500 Returns

Is It Worth it To Invest with Tangerine?

After looking at the pros and cons and reviewing the products available in this Tangerine investment funds review, I would recommend Tangerine funds for people who want to DIY invest and save money compared to costly mutual funds.

This would be great for investors who are too scared to invest with Robo Advisors (for reasons of being wary of the high tech world of fintech, or wanting to be backed by a big bank (Tangerine is owned by Bank of Nova Scotia), or wanting to have all their accounts easily visible from one bank if they already bank with Tangerine.

I like that it is rebalanced quarterly regularly, this is HUGE for the DIY investor who is new to DIY investing.  I also like that there is an automatic savings plan.

Tangerine Investment Funds are like the bunny hill on the mountain, when you’re just learning how to ski/ snowboard/ invest.

Really easy, not scary, and although it’s more expensive than the other options, it is still a lot cheaper than the alternate option, which is investing your money in a conventional mutual fund with the average 2.25% MER.

For those that are more adventurous or interested in learning how to DIY invest, and want to save money on fees, other options are better than Tangerine Investment Funds.

For example, comparing Tangerine Investment Funds vs TD e-series, I would do TD e-series, but I personally don’t my rebalancing myself.  The TD e-series funds range from 0.28% to 0.45%.

Tangerine Investment Funds Alternatives

As mentioned above, there are cheaper alternatives to the Tangerine Core Portfolio and the Tangerine Global ETF portfolios which cost around 1.06% and 0.77% annually.

For smaller account balances, like under $50,000, these percentages are not a big deal.  As your portfolio gets bigger though, 1% of $100,000 is $1000.  Personally on a $700,000 portfolio, I don’t want to be paying $7000+ for something that I could do myself.

For example, you could set up a Scotia iTrade Account (if you want to stick with the big bank brokerages) and buy commission free ETFs.  Ironically the Scotiabank ETFs listed above aren’t included in that list of 49 commission free ETFs.  You would just pay the MER of that specific ETF (or number of ETFs).

Buying mutual funds on TD Direct Investing also does not trigger a commission.

You could also go the Canadian robo advisor route which has fees usually about 1% or less.  These are rebalanced for you.

You could also do DIY investing yourself, with one ticket ETFs if you’re worried about rebalancing using Questrade.  ETFs are free to purchase with Questrade.

Finally, a middle ground would be to use TD e-series if you want to stick with a big bank.  Their MER ranges from 0.28% just under 0.50%.  Every little bit counts- keep your fees low.

Do you have the Tangerine Investment Funds Core Portfolio or the Global ETFs?

What is your Tangerine Investment Funds review?

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