5i Research Review – Get an Investing Advantage

As a DIY investor, it is easy to want to gain an advantage with your portfolio.  After all, no advisor or other financial professional is watching over your money.

A large portion of our investment portfolio is in various forms of real estate. But, we do have a chunk of our portfolio invested in the market. And we self-manage it.

So, when the opportunity came to review 5i Research and everything it offered, I jumped at the chance.

What is 5i Research?

When I was new to investing, and to be honest, before I started this blog, I had never heard of 5i Research. But many bloggers were referring to it, which definitely piqued my interest.

5i Research is a Canadian investing education platform that was launched in 2012.  Its goal is to help investors; with everything from picking stocks to avoiding costly mistakes.

As a company, they realized that advice in the investment industry is highly biased because of the inherent fee structure and often a conflict of interest.  

5i Research aims to provide objective, independent information. They don’t charge any assets under management fees and receive no compensation when you buy or sell holdings.  Their funding model is strictly from membership fees, not individual companies or brokerages.

Going through all of the information behind the paywall, I found 5i Research to be very transparent with any holdings held by its staff. They clearly stated if they had any financial interest in a company they provided information on.  

I don’t know if this is because of a regulated requirement or because they have the desire to be so transparent. And I’m assuming that when they say they have a financial interest in a particular stock, it is because they have invested in it themselves.

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Who is Behind 5i Research?

Like any company, they are only as good as the people behind the name.  There are 5 main stakeholders in 5i Research.

Peter Hodson is the founder and head of research.  The Global and Mail called him one of the Warren Buffetts of Canada, and he is a former chairman of Sprott Asset Management LP.  Peter comes with 25 years of investment industry experience.

Working with Peter are Ryan Modesto as Chief Executive Officer, and Barkha Rani, Chris White, and Michael Huynh as Investment Analysts.  All 4 come with a list of credentials behind their name and varying levels of experience in the investment industry.

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a commission if you purchase through my links.  Please read my disclaimer for more information.

What Features Does 5i Research Offer?

Without buying a membership, you can directly access 5i Research’s blog, market data, and limited discussion forum on their website.

But if you’re looking for more robust information and advice, that can be found behind the paywall.

5i Research offers the following features in its paid membership:

  • Reports on 70 stocks with easy-to-read ABC style rating
  • Model Portfolios that members can follow and track.  Members can receive email updates with changes (buy/sell) to the portfolio
  • Q&A Database of over 120,000 historical answers. Members can also ask their own questions and expect an answer within 2 business days
  • Easily searchable Discussion Forum. What is offered for free on their website is only a fraction of what’s provided to their members.
  • Watchlist function where you can track your own stocks of interest and be emailed alerts for the stocks on your watchlist.

How Much Does 5i Research Cost?

There are 3 main pricing tiers for the paid membership option.

  • Basic Membership – $209.95/year
  • Basic + Portfolio Analytics – $390/year
  • Investor Suite – $999/year

And with either of the first 2 tiers, you also have the option to add on an ETF Update and online subscription to Canadian MoneySaver Magazine for $53/year.

And the best part? As a Handful of Thoughts reader, you can instantly save 25% off your first year when you sign up using this link. If you scroll to the bottom, you will see that the savings are applied immediately.

Portfolio Analytics

Portfolio Analytics is like having a second set of eyes review your portfolio. 5i Research provides an automated review of your portfolio, analyzing for critical mistakes, opportunities, asset classes, geography, and sector allocation.

You can also load all your holdings in one place to easily track your investments instead of logging into multiple platforms. And sign up for portfolio alerts to stay up to date on any stock or ETF you want to track.

In my opinion, Portfolio Analytics is an excellent option for someone with a bit of experience managing their own investments but who wants a bit more analytical tracking or firepower behind them.

The Investor Suite

The Investor Suite is an exclusive membership with only 250 spots (at the time of writing, these spots were already 80% full). It is the premium research tier for 5i Research for investors really looking for an edge.  The Investor Suite best suits investors with experience researching or reading company reports.

If you decide to purchase the Investor Suite, here is what is included:

  • Basic 5i Research membership
  • Portfolio Analytics
  • ETF Update
  • Online subscription to Canadian MoneySaver Magazine
  • Monthly newsletter (typically 10 – 20 pages)

And if you’re not sure if the Investor Suite is for you, don’t worry; they offer a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Why I Like 5i Research

The people behind the company have a lot of experience and definitely know what they are talking about when it comes to the research behind specific equities.  As a whole, they provide objective information from a Canadian perspective.

With all of the American information and tools out there, it’s refreshing to have a Canadian company to rely on and look to for investment research and ideas.  Their 3 pricing tiers offer something for every DIY investor’s needs.

I really appreciated the 3 model portfolios and how they were broken down.  Someone could easily follow their template to build their own investment portfolio depending on their risk tolerance and personal investment policy statement.

And if you are a DIY investor looking to invest in something other than ETFs, then 5i Research is a great alternative to the fees investment advisors often charge.  At just $209.95/year (or $390/year if you opt for Portfolio Analytics), you could save tens of thousands of dollars every year compared to an advisor that may charge you upwards of 3% to manage your portfolio.

That doesn’t mean I am against financial advisors.  A fee-only financial advisor from time to time can be a great complement to a 5i Research membership.

And finally, I appreciate saving money. That’s why I’m happy to offer you 25% off your first year with 5i Research through this link. If you’re already a DIY investor, it’s worth checking out to learn more and see how 5i Research can help your portfolio.

Who is 5i Research For?

5i Research is for you if you:

  • Are ready to take control of your portfolio
  • Have some experience investing already
  • Want to save money on management fees
  • Are interested in investing in growth or dividend stocks
  • Are looking for ideas on what to invest in
  • Want additional analysis of your portfolio

But, 5i Research isn’t’ for everyone.  I consider it more an advanced tool for a DIY investor looking to invest in equities other than ETFs.

Not sure if 5i Research is for you? If you’re already a DIY investor, it’s worth checking out to learn more as an investor. I spent just a few weeks looking around and learning so much.  Imagine what you could learn through an annual membership.

How to Get the Most out of Your 5i Research Membership

Like any membership fee, I always want to get the best bang for my buck.  Even though the annual fee is much cheaper than paying management fees, here is how I would get the most out of my 5i Research membership. 

  • Be looking to invest in long-term buy-and-hold stocks
  • Have a clear Personal Investment Policy Statement so that I know what I’m looking for before starting my membership
  • Sign up using this discount link to save you 25%
  • Pay for an annual membership, and during that time
    • Do a ton of research 
    • Add products to my portfolio
    • At the end of the year, decide what the next step is
      • Either cancel my membership at the end of the year or
      • Decide to renew and continue to learn more about investing in individual stocks
  • If I do cancel, after a few years, I might look to repurchase a membership to see how things are doing or if I want to take a more active approach for a short period of time.

Full disclosure: I’m not looking to invest in growth or dividend-producing stocks right now.  If you are, then 5i Research is a great low-fee option.

Final Thoughts

To be honest, when I first looked behind the paywall for 5i Research, I found it a bit overwhelming.  

But after spending some time navigating around, I found a ton of information that made sense to me.  The limitations of 5i Research are only from my own knowledge limitations.

If you’re a DIY investor looking for an investment advantage, then 5i Research might be just the product you’re looking for.  You can leverage the experience and knowledge of its team of professionals to your benefit.

And depending on where you are in your investment journey, the price is very affordable for what you get overall.  It might be worth trying for a year to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Personally, we are currently focused on our real estate investments. But a 5i Research membership will definitely be something we purchase again in the future as we start to shift our investment focus.

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