We have provided for you a comprehensive list of answers to some frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about ASCEND MIC. Please feel free to take advantage of the information provided. As always, you can also contact us if you have anything else you would like to know.
What exactly is a mortgage investment corporation (MIC)?
MICs are government-regulated companies that invest in mortgages. Investors in MICs receive regular dividend or interest payments. Alternatively, MICs earn fees for management/administration, as well the interest-rate spread between mortgages and investor/lender payments. You can learn more by visiting: What is a MIC?
Are MICs regulated?
Yes. In fact, in 1972, the Canadian government created provisions within the Residential Mortgage Financing Act to specifically allow for the creation of mortgage investment corporations. MICs can invest in commercial mortgages, too.
ASCEND MIC is also specifically regulated by Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), along with other securities regulators. Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) also apply. In other words, we’re audited, regulated and adhere to strict financial guidelines.
There are fewer safer investment options in the market today that deliver the kinds of returns traditionally associated with MICs. MICs generally deliver low risk, high returns, transparency and predictability.
Why should I invest in a MIC?
MICs have become increasingly popular in recent years for at least two reasons:
- Compared to other investments, MICs offer traditionally high rates of return associated with relatively low levels of risk.
- MICs do all the work for you. You don’t have to be an expert in mortgages, mortgage law, or mortgage interactions. We manage all that work for you, much like a mutual fund handles all the securities transactions within a pool of investments.
Are MICs too good to be true?
In other words, why is it that an MIC offers higher rates of return with lower risks compared to other forms of investments?
Mortgages are generally very good investments in part because the Canadian construction, housing, and commercial real-estate sectors have been structurally sound and well regulated. Strict rules are in place to protect investors from default, and properties — both commercial and residential — are generally considered safe assets upon which to back loans. Mortgage borrowers have historically been willing to make high interest payments in order to secure and pay off loans, and the risks surrounding default have always been relatively low.
Do I need to be a Canadian citizen or resident?
No. Although all the mortgages we invest in and manage involve properties in Canada, and are regulated under Canadian law, there is no residency requirement to become an investor in ASCEND MIC. Although many of our investors are Canadians, you can be a citizen of the world and invest from anywhere you like.
What about dividend or interest payments?
Dividends and/or interest are how investors in MICs receive payments. By law, payments to investors are to be made regularly. ASCEND MIC makes quarterly payments to its investors. Also by law, payments made by MICs to investors are to be treated as interest for tax purposes.
Once my money is in, how can I get it out?
ASCEND MIC has a locked-term redemption policy that details when bonds or units can be sold. Locked terms include 30 days, 60 days, 120 days, 150 days, 180 days — all the way up to 10 years. No interest or returns are paid on shares redeemed before the locked term is completed.
Are my registered plans eligible?
Yes. ASCEND MIC is registered for and accepts all registered investment plans, including RRSPs, RRIFs and RESPs.
Residential or commercial mortgages?
Both. Traditionally, both the residential and commercial real-estate markets have been financially stable in Canada, with mortgages in both sectors offering high yields with relatively low risks. ASCEND MIC’s portfolio of mortgages consists of a variety of property types to ensure diversity and stable rates of return.
Why can’t I invest in mortgages myself?
Private investors are welcome to seek any opportunities for returns. However, the reason the Canadian government allowed for MICs in the first place is because the mortgages market was generally inaccessible to the average investor. There are many rules and procedures involved in mortgages that are generally difficult to understand — even for experienced investors. At ASCEND MIC, we take care of all that for you. We know the rules, we know how to administer, and we know how to deliver regular rates of return.
Don’t banks issue mortgages?
Yes, but there are countless private mortgages issued in Canada that are strictly managed and regulated. In fact, returns from private mortgages are often greater than those received by banks.
A mortgage is nothing more than a loan made to a property owner that is backed by the property itself. The borrower makes regular interest payments to the lender. It’s these interest payments that form the basis of returns in MICs and why ASCEND MIC makes regular dividend/interest payments to its subscribers.
How does ASCEND MIC issue mortgages?
All the mortgages managed by ASCEND MIC originate from us. We do the underwriting and lending, and use our trusted broker channel to maximize returns and ensure all regulations are followed.
What happens if someone defaults on a mortgage?
Although Canada’s mortgages market has been extremely stable historically, mortgage borrowers do sometimes fail to make interest payments and a default occurs. No investment comes without any risk. However, what makes a mortgage a relatively safe investment is that it is backed by collateral: the property itself.
Therefore, in the event of default, ASCEND MIC asserts its mortgage rights vigorously. If necessary, we will seize ownership of the property, liquidate and collect. We make every effort to ensure the safety and security of the funds you invest in our portfolio of mortgages.
It should also be noted that Canada’s housing, real-estate and banking sectors have been far more stable and regulated than in other parts of the world, including the United States. Canada has generally not experienced a severe housing bubble or market crash, which means property values remain stable. In the event of mortgage default, it is far more likely in Canada that the property can be liquidated at a reasonable value — if it ever comes to that.
Nevertheless, ASCEND MIC has a track record of making sound mortgage investments that yield high returns with low risk of default. That’s how we ensure the value of your investment with us.
What kind of returns can I expect?
As with any investment, there are no guarantees. However, one of the primary advantages of MICs is they have historically delivered higher rates of return compared to other low-risk investments, such as a GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate).
Units (bonds, shares, etc.) of ASCEND MIC could deliver returns as high as 12%, but often the medium-to-low risk nature of the mortgages we invest in offer yields of about 8%.
How can I monitor the performance of my investment with ASCEND MIC?
At ASCEND MIC, we make every effort to make sure our investors are well informed. To that end, we issue monthly and quarterly reports. We also have this website, which provides as much up-to-date information as possible. We issue press releases with the latest developments at ASCEND MIC. In addition, please feel welcome to contact us directly.
Our goal here at ASCEND MIC is to provide an investment option that offers safety, security and peace of mind, so we go to great lengths to make sure you have the information to make all that possible. It’s just part of the ASCEND MIC difference.