COVID-19: Financial resources for Canadian physicians

The latest information, news and resources to help you navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on your finances and more.

COVID-19: Financial resources for Canadian physicians

Doctors, thank you for taking care of Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. While you’re focused on the health of your patients, we’re committed to protecting everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

We’re here to help you and your family whenever we can, including navigating federal and provincial support measures. If you or your employees have been affected by a reduction in income, we can also help you determine what financial assistance might be available, including programs available through Scotiabank if applicable.

Need to talk to someone at MD? We’re here to help

Are you a practising physician worried about loss of income?

See what federal and provincial support measures you could qualify for

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MD Market Watch Podcast

Ed Golding explains quantitative easing

Ed Golding explains quantitative easing as it’s being actioned to support global markets during the COVID-19 pandemic. What exactly is it, how it works, and why it’s so important?

Read transcript

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Frequently asked questions

To protect our clients during this pandemic, we’ve replaced all face-to-face meetings with virtual meetings for the foreseeable future and have created virtual alternatives for all client events. MD already has robust infrastructure that enables many of our staff to work from home as efficiently as if they were in the office. This has left us well prepared to continue to operate and serve you effectively, while looking after our employees and their families.

We have instructed all MD employees to work from home, except for those who perform essential services that require them to be in the office. In all, 99% of MD staff members are working from home. Employees who must be in the office are coordinating their schedules so that no more than 15 people will be in any one office at any one time and that physical distancing and appropriate cleaning and sanitary measures are maintained at all times. We’ve also replaced face-to-face client meetings with virtual meetings for the foreseeable future and have created virtual alternatives for all client events.

MD already has robust infrastructure that enables many of our staff to work from home as efficiently as if they were in the office. This has left us well prepared to continue to operate and serve you effectively, while looking after our employees and their families.

MD already has robust infrastructure that enables many of our staff to work from home as efficiently as if they were in the office. This has left us well prepared to continue to operate and serve you effectively, while looking after our employees and their families. Your MD Advisor* is able to meet with you virtually by video conference, which allows for free and full discussions. This way, they can continue to take care of all your financial needs and answer any questions you have.

To schedule a meeting, simply sign in to your My MD account and send your MD Advisor* a secure message. Together, you can arrange a convenient time. If you don’t have a My MD account, you can call or email your MD Advisor or your regional MD office. You can find a list of MD offices on the “Find an office” page

The situation is changing on a daily — and in some cases hourly — basis. To help, we’ve created a one-stop resource where you’ll find information about the effects of the pandemic on your finances, as well as other news. We’re adding new information daily and updating existing posts as new details emerge.

As of April 13, 2020, physicians, nurses, paramedics and other healthcare personnel are being prioritized by Scotiabank’s contact centre teams, who will help them with their banking needs. Seniors (age 75 years and older) will also receive priority service when they call the Scotiabank contact centre.

Physicians and other healthcare workers should call 1 888 777-4650, which is a priority line reserved for them.

Seniors (75 and older) should call Scotiabank’s regular customer service line —1 800 472-6842 —and they will be prioritized on that line, based on their profile (age) information.

As a part of your financial plan, your MD portfolio was designed to achieve your long-term financial goals while respecting your comfort level with risk and volatility. We’ve already adjusted our tactical asset allocation in response to changing market conditions to ensure you’re protected, and you can be sure that we’ll take further action whenever necessary.

Since the end of February, MD has been taking concrete steps to help shelter your portfolio and position it to weather a global recession. First off, we have materially reduced stock-market exposure by increasing investment in cash and bonds. In addition, we’ve increased the amount of cash that we hold in some of our stock-market funds; in others, we’ve moved into stocks (e.g., consumer-staples stocks like Costco) that are more likely to maintain value even in a market downturn. Finally, we are continually reassessing all our investment strategies and making adjustments as necessary.

While we’re making tactical changes to help protect your investments in the short term, it’s important to stay invested to make sure you benefit when the markets recover — which they will do eventually. To ensure the best investment performance in these challenging times, it’s crucial to maintain your longer-term perspective and avoid making emotional decisions.

If you have any questions about your portfolio, please contact your MD Advisor*.

Yes, your MD Advisor* can help you figure out what economic measures that you, your family and/or your business might qualify for. You can also visit Invested MD, where we have provided a roundup of the new measures, organized by their relevance to medical students and residents, practising physicians, retired physicians, and family members. We have also created an interactive tool for physicians to help determine which support measures you could be eligible for.

No one, including MD, knows for certain what will happen to markets in the short term, or if we have seen the bottom of the market in this recession. That is why we always build the best portfolios we can for each client’s time horizon and objectives, and manage portfolios knowing that volatile periods are virtually inevitable.

The scale of the lockdowns worldwide in response to the COVID-19 crisis has never been seen before, so it’s impossible to accurately predict the impact on the global economy, employment levels and consumer demand in the future. Faced with this uncertainty, it is reasonable to expect continued wild swings in the financial markets until we settle into a “new normal.” Investors should prepare for that continuing volatility and try not to fixate on day-to-day market fluctuations.

In time, the markets will be OK again; we just don’t know it that will be in a few weeks, months or years.

Overall, MD funds and portfolios have performed as expected for a period of extreme volatility caused by an unpredictable external shock. Equity funds have lost value since their peak in February, and bond funds have protected portfolios from the severity of the loss. Certain funds, such as quality growth funds and dividend mandates, have performed very well, while value-biased funds, for example, have performed worse because of higher allocations to financial stocks.

At MD, we haven’t changed our philosophy or process during this period of volatility; however, we’re conducting formal investment reviews more frequently and are acting faster than usual to adjust MD funds and portfolios in response to rapidly changing information. For example, normally we would conduct an investment review and consider our tactical position once a week, and this would usually lead to a material decision once every month or so. We are now doing investment reviews and considering our tactical position every day, seven days a week, and making a number of changes each month.

Right now, we’re focused on navigating the next three to six months in the hope that the economy regains some normalcy —meaning that markets once again respond rationally to long-term policy decisions and the general state of the business cycle. In the meantime, we remain vigilant, and even defensive, in the face of short-term uncertainty.

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