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Can anyone tell me whether it is possible for a professional corporation to invest in low fee investments such as iShares and to have an online brokerage account?
 

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As moneygal stated, yes it is possible. But note the tax implications of generating passive income within a corp where it's taxed at the highest rate. I've read that dividends can be flowed through to shareholders without being taxed at the corporate level, but I've yet to confirm that with a second opinion.
 

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There's a snag with the dividend tax credit also with capital gains. I looked into it a bit and decided it wasn't worth the hassle.

I've heard that if you create a new corp and use it only for investing that you can avoid the big passive rate because the new corp is engaged solely in the business of investing and gets the normal small business rate.

/not an accountant.
 

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There are investment management and financial planning firms that only work with professionals with professional corporations.

At one time, when I was a licensed advisor, I worked for one of those firms, specifically on the tax and financial planning (not investment) side. As has already been alluded on this thread, this is largely a tax planning issue.

It is also a financial planning issue writ large, as the professional structures income, holdings and the practice from active ownership and management to different ownership structures as they transition to retirement.

This is an area where I think professional advice (not money management advice, although the initial question was about investment holdings) is warranted. There are a lot of factors which influence what the right structure is for any one individual and any one professional corporation.

(This isn't a very useful post. I don't think it is appropriate to make general statements online on this kind of topic. :) )
 

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It isn't clear from the initial question who the regulatory of the professional corproation is. Different regulators have different rules that augment the provincial statutes on professional corporation. For example, the CMA has much tighter rules on who can own a professional corproation than the dentists in Ontario.

In other words, your first source of advice should be to the regulator to see what is permissible (activities ancillary to the practice of whatever is premissible by most regulators under the law but then the regulator has its own special twist).

The larger question is why do you want to expose your investments to your potential professional practice liability? As you know professional corporations do not shield the shareholder from E&O liability so there is no real corporate veil to hide behind for this type of liability (which is the largest source of liability for most professional corporations).

There are tax and legal structures permissible which would accomplish your goal while mitigating your liability.

I would add to MoneyGal's suggestion and first go to your regulatory than a professional to seek advice. Good luck.
 
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