Knowledge First Financial (now known as Embark) is a Canadian financial services company that specializes in Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs). RESP is a government-approved savings plan designed to help parents save for their children’s post-secondary education.
Knowledge First Financial offers various RESP plans, including the family, individual, and group plans, to help families save for their children’s future education. The company also offers additional services such as investment options, financial planning, and information on government grants available to families who contribute to their RESP.
The company was founded in 1965 and is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. It is a not-for-profit organization and is owned by its plan holders. Knowledge First Financial is one of the largest RESP providers in Canada, with over 500,000 plan holders and more than $6 billion in assets under management.
Knowledge First Financial is a Canadian company that offers Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs), which are tax-sheltered investment vehicles designed to help parents save for their children’s post-secondary education.
How does Knowledge First Financial work?
Here’s how the RESP program works with Knowledge First Financial:
- Parents or guardians open an RESP account for their child with Knowledge First Financial and make contributions to the account.
- The Canadian government provides a grant of up to 20% of the annual contribution, to a maximum of $500 per year per child, through the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG).
- Knowledge First Financial invests the contributions and grant money in a variety of investments, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, with the goal of growing the account balance over time.
- When the child is ready to start post-secondary education, they can withdraw the money from the RESP to pay for tuition, books, and other eligible expenses.
- The investment earnings and grant money are taxed as income in the hands of the student when they are withdrawn from the RESP, typically at a lower tax rate than if the parents had invested the money themselves.
It’s important to note that there are some rules and restrictions around RESPs, such as contribution limits, eligibility requirements, and penalties for withdrawing the money for non-education purposes. It’s also important to do your own research and compare different RESP providers to find the one that best fits your needs and goals.
What is an RESP?
RESP stands for Registered Education Savings Plan, which is a savings plan designed to help parents or guardians save for their child’s post-secondary education. An RESP is registered with the Canadian government and offers several tax benefits to encourage parents to save for their child’s education.
Here are some key features of an RESP:
- Tax-Sheltered: The contributions you make to an RESP are made with after-tax dollars, meaning you don’t receive a tax deduction for your contributions. However, any investment earnings in the plan are tax-sheltered, meaning you don’t pay taxes on the growth of the investments until the money is withdrawn from the plan.
- Government Grants: The Canadian government offers two types of grants to help families save for their child’s education: the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) and the Canada Learning Bond (CLB). Depending on your family’s income and contribution level, you may be eligible for these grants.
- Withdrawals: When your child is ready to start post-secondary education, you can withdraw money from the RESP to help pay for tuition, books, and other eligible expenses. The money is taxed as income in the hands of the student, who is likely to be in a lower tax bracket.
- Contribution Limits: There is a lifetime contribution limit of $50,000 per child, and annual contribution limits may apply. You can make contributions to the RESP for up to 31 years after opening the account.
- Investment Options: An RESP can be invested in a variety of investment options, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and GICs, depending on the plan provider.
An RESP can be a great way to save for your child’s education and take advantage of government grants and tax benefits. However, it’s important to understand the rules and restrictions of the plan and to choose a plan provider and investment strategy that aligns with your financial goals.
What is the history of Knowledge First Financial?
Knowledge First Financial is a Canadian company that was founded in 1965 as the Independent Order of Foresters (IOF), a fraternal benefit society that provided insurance and financial services to its members. In the early 1990s, IOF began offering Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) as a way to help families save for their children’s post-secondary education.
In 1998, IOF launched the Family Group Education Savings Plan, which allowed families to pool their RESP contributions together and share the investment risk. This product was later rebranded as the Family Group RESPs and became a key offering for the company.
In 2002, IOF changed its name to the Knowledge First Foundation to reflect its focus on education savings. The company also expanded its product offerings to include individual RESPs and group RESPs for businesses and organizations.
In 2007, Knowledge First Financial acquired USC Education Savings Plans Inc., another major player in the Canadian RESP market. This acquisition allowed Knowledge First Financial to increase its market share and expand its product offerings.
Today, Knowledge First Financial is one of the largest RESP providers in Canada, with over 500,000 customers and $6 billion in assets under management. The company continues to focus on helping families save for their children’s post-secondary education and has introduced new products and services to meet the changing needs of its customers.
Is Knowledge First Financial a safe place to put your money?
Yes, Knowledge First Financial is a safe place to put your money, as it is a government-regulated financial services company that specializes in Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs).
RESPs are regulated by the Canadian government, and contributions to them are eligible for various government grants, which provides an added layer of security for investors. Additionally, Knowledge First Financial is a not-for-profit organization, which means that it is run solely for the benefit of its plan holders, and all profits are reinvested in the company to improve its services.
The company has been in operation for over 55 years and is one of the largest RESP providers in Canada, with over 500,000 plan holders and more than $6 billion in assets under management. It has a proven track record of providing reliable, secure RESP products and services to Canadian families, making it a trusted and safe place to save for a child’s education.
Has Knowledge First Financial had any legal actions taken against it?
Like any financial services company, Knowledge First Financial is subject to regulatory oversight and compliance with various laws and regulations. The company is registered with the Canadian government’s financial regulatory body, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), and is required to meet certain standards and obligations under federal and provincial laws.
However, it’s worth noting that there may be legal actions or regulatory sanctions that are not publicly available or have not been widely reported on. It’s always a good idea to do your own research and due diligence before making any financial decisions.
Editor’s note: In 2021, a Quebec class-action lawsuit against providers of group registered educations savings plans (group RESPs) was filed regarding fees that targeted Canadians C.S.T. Consultants Inc. and Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation; Kaleido Growth (previously Universitas Management) and Kaleido Foundation (Previously Universitas Foundation Of Canada); Knowledge First Financial (previously Heritage Education Funds Inc.) and Knowledge First Foundation; Heritage Education Funds and Heritage Educational Foundation; Children’s Education Funds Inc. and Children’s Educational Foundation Of Canada; and Global RESP Corporation along with Global Educational Trust Foundation. At press time, the case was unresolved.