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Guaranteed Investment Contract (GIC)


A Guaranteed Investment Contract (GIC) is a contract that guarantees the return of principal and a fixed or floating interest rate for a predetermined period of time. It is typically offered by insurance companies and used primarily by institutional investors like pension plans. In essence, it functions similarly to a certificate of deposit but is not federally insured.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Guaranteed Investment Contract (GIC)” is: guh-ran-teed in-ves-muhnt kon-trakt (G-I-C)

Key Takeaways

1. Guaranteed Stability: Guaranteed Investment Contracts (GICs) offer guaranteed total return on initial investment regardless of market conditions. These contracts, issued by insurance companies, offer the investor a predetermined interest rate over a specific period of time, fostering a sense of certainty and security for the investor’s principal.

2. Fixed Interest Rates: Another key feature of GICs is the provision of a fixed interest rate. This means that regardless of the fluctuations in the financial markets, GIC holders are assured of a steady, regular income over a specific duration, which can be fulfilling for risk-averse investors or retirees.

3. Limited Liquidity: Although GICs provide a secure investment option, they also come with limited liquidity. Before investing, one must understand that the money you invest in a GIC is locked for a certain period. Early withdrawals may result in penalties, making it less flexible than other forms of investments.


A Guaranteed Investment Contract (GIC) is a significant financial instrument primarily in insurance and retirement planning industries. Its importance stems from its ability to offer a stable and secure investment avenue to investors. GICs guarantee the return of the principal amount and a fixed or floating interest rate over a predefined time period making them appealing to conservative investors and retirees. They help in reducing investment risk and provide predictable income streams, essential for retirement planning or long-term financial strategies. Consequently, GICs offer reliable growth potential and play a crucial role in diversified portfolios.


A Guaranteed Investment Contract (GIC) is a valuable financial instrument often employed to safeguard the assets of an individual or an organization with minimized risk. Its primary purpose is to serve as an agreement between an investor and an insurance company wherein the investor is assured a specific rate of return on their investment after a designated period. This structure effectively turns the GIC into a sanctuary for capital that might be subject to undue risk in volatile markets. Whether it’s individuals looking to support retirement savings or businesses looking to protect their cash reserves, the guaranteed rate of return provided by a GIC shields investment capital from loss while offering moderate growth.Furthermore, GICs are often utilized as a stable funding mechanism within larger investment or financial strategies. For instance, pension plans often use GICs to ensure that a certain percentage of their plan assets are secure, thereby reducing overall portfolio risk for members’ retirement funds. Alternatively, businesses might also deploy GICs as a short-term, interest-bearing tool to foster strategic cash management. The benefits of GICs extend beyond individuals and companies, as these instruments also play a significant role in supporting capital adequacy for insurance companies, thereby boosting the financial system’s overall stability.


1. Insurance Companies: Many insurance companies sell Guaranteed Investment Contracts as a stable option for investors seeking a low risk investment. These products often form a major part of an insurance company’s portfolio. For example, Prudential Financial offers GICs that guarantee both principal and a fixed rate of return to their clients.2. Retirement Plans: GICs are often used within employer-sponsored retirement plans. In the United States, the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) includes the option of investing in a GIC via the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). With this investment, federal employees are guaranteed to receive a specific rate of return on their investment over time.3. Education Savings Accounts: Parents or grandparents often use GICs as a tool for saving for a child’s education. In Canada, for example, a parent might deposit money into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and use a GIC within that RESP. This provides a secure investment with a guaranteed return, ensuring that the funds will be available when the child is ready to go to college or university.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Guaranteed Investment Contract (GIC)?

A Guaranteed Investment Contract (GIC) is a type of investment product typically provided by insurance companies. It is a contract that guarantees the return of principal and a predetermined interest rate to an investor.

How do GICs work?

An investor purchases a GIC for a specified term, let’s say five years. The issuer guarantees the repayment of the invested capital in addition to fixed interest over the term of the contract. At the end of the five years, the investor receives their original investment plus accrued interest.

What is the primary purpose of a GIC?

The primary purpose of a GIC is to safeguard the investor’s principal while providing fixed and steady returns. It is typically purchased for conservative, low-risk investment strategies.

Can you lose money in a GIC?

In theory, you cannot lose your initial investment in a GIC. The principal is guaranteed and if the issuing company goes bankrupt, your investment up to certain limits, is usually insured.

Are the returns from a GIC taxable?

Yes, in most cases the returns from a GIC are considered as income by tax authorities and are taxable.

Is a GIC a good investment option?

The suitability of a GIC as an investment option can depend on individual circumstances and investment goals. It is often considered a safe and conservative investment, suitable for those who prioritize capital protection over high returns.

Are GICs liquid investments?

No, GICs usually are not considered liquid investments because they have a set term. If you wanted to cash out a GIC before it matured, you would typically face penalties.

How can I purchase a GIC?

GICs are typically issued by insurance companies, banks, and other financial institutions. You would purchase a GIC directly from these organizations, often through a financial advisor or broker.

What happens upon the maturity of a GIC?

Upon maturity of a GIC, you will receive the full principal amount that was originally invested along with the earned interest. At this point, you will typically have the option to either reinvest or withdraw your funds.

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