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Frequently Asked Questions

We are dedicated to helping clients throughout the investment process.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. 

In the meantime, you might find the answers below.  

  • What do you do?
    We offer discretionary portfolio management to clients looking to delegate the investment process. We seek to serve private individuals and families, as well as corporations, foundations, trusts, charities, and other institutions. We use a long-term, low-turnover, value-oriented investment strategy to invest directly in stocks and bonds. We open and manage separate accounts for each client with an asset mix tailored to their financial goals, risk tolerance, income needs, and tax situation. We strive to deliver high absolute returns over the long term. We provide a personalized, attentive service that always puts customer interests first.
  • What is a portfolio manager?
    Portfolio managers are specialized firms and professionals who manage investment portfolios on behalf of their clients. They can differ from mass-market advisors or retail brokers because they tend to manage larger amounts of money for fewer clients. This often allows for lower management fee rates and an enhanced level of attention to each client and their portfolio. Portfolio managers are regulated by provincial securities legislation. To be qualified as a portfolio manager, extensive academic and practical investment research experience is required, and high ethical standards must be upheld. By law, portfolio managers owe their clients a fiduciary duty, meaning they must act in the best interests of their clients.
  • What is a Chartered Financial Analyst?
    The CFA has become the world’s preeminent investment designation. It demonstrates a commitment to professional ethics and expertise, as well as a broad range of skills needed for the most competitive careers in the investment profession. Charters are only available to individuals that pass three exams, join a local CFA association, complete four years of practical experience, and certify adherence annually to the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.
  • What is discretionary portfolio management?
    Discretionary portfolio management means the portfolio manager does not require the client’s consent or approval before trading for the client’s account. The portfolio manager has the authority to make day-to-day investment decisions for each client portfolio. Each account is managed according to an Investment Policy Statement which is agreed to and signed by the client. Discretionary portfolio managers have a fiduciary duty to act with care, honesty, and in good faith. They must always act in the best interests of clients. They must clearly communicate any conflicts of interest to clients.
  • Is a discretionary portfolio manager right for us?
    A discretionary portfolio manager is often the preferred choice for high-net-worth clients. Clients may not have the time, interest, or expertise required to manage their portfolio. Some clients do not want the stress or burden of having to make regular investment decisions. They might not want to continuously approve trades recommended by their broker or mutual fund advisor. Clients might prefer to spend time with a portfolio manager discussing strategic issues, instead of individual investments. Some clients prefer portfolio managers because they are fiduciaries, meaning they must act in the best interests of clients. Clients might prefer to deal with a portfolio manager given the high level of experience and education required to obtain registration with provincial securities regulators. Some clients are attracted to the lower fees charged by many discretionary managers compared to some brokers and financial advisors, especially since the portfolio manager’s fees are often tax-deductible. Finally, clients might like that some portfolio managers are independent and unbiased and many do not receive commissions for selling funds.
  • Why should you manage our assets?
    Erin Greenfield, our portfolio manager, brings many years of institutional investment experience managing global portfolios for one of Canada’s most well-known investment teams. Mr. Greenfield is a driven, passionate investor, who loves his job. He brings the right temperament for investing, a common-sense investment philosophy, experience over several market cycles, and constant focus on the long-term. He relentlessly researches existing and new investments. Our firm is completely independent. We are not selling you products or earning commissions from other firms. You deal directly with the portfolio manager, rather than a stockbroker or an advisor, and your portfolio will be tailored to your specific situation. We have a robust and simple operating structure, with clients at the centre of all decisions.
  • How can we become clients?
    First, we meet with you to understand your needs, objectives, priorities, and risk tolerances. We need to understand your financial situation, expectations, and investment experience. Next, we suggest a strategy and portfolio that we think best fits your investor profile. We can answer any questions, including about our investment philosophy or experience. If you want to proceed, we can walk you through the various documents, helping you to complete the Investment Policy Statement, the Investment Management Agreement, and the custodian’s account opening documents. Once you have opened accounts with the custodian, cash or securities can be transferred from other institutions without tax implications.
  • Who are your ideal clients?
    Our ideal clients are comfortable delegating investment decisions to a discretionary portfolio manager. They understand the benefits of investing in companies and are therefore comfortable with investing in stocks and can tolerate the market’s fluctuations. They are fiscally careful, allowing for accumulation of savings. They seek a reasonable level of growth for their portfolio. They are not looking to get rich quick, or for the next hot stock picker. They look to compound their wealth methodically. They think long-term, with a time horizon of many years. They want their investments guided by a common-sense process implemented by a disciplined professional. Our ideal clients are not only individuals – we also seek institutional mandates with foundations, trusts, and funds operated by other firms.
  • What types of clients do you assist?
    We seek to assist individuals, families, estates, trusts, pension plans, foundations, endowments, corporations, and funds operated by other firms. Individuals include executives, business owners, professionals, and retirees.
  • How do you charge fees?
    Our only revenues are from investment management fees charged directly to client investment accounts. Investment management fees are charged quarterly, in advance. They are calculated based on the market value of client assets at the beginning of each calendar quarter and are subject to HST. Larger accounts pay lower fee rates. Our fee rates are generally lower than fees on many actively managed retail mutual funds. They are transparent and clearly identified in the reports you receive. Our compensation is not linked to the number of transactions in client accounts, and we do not receive any commissions, sales incentives, or referral fees from third parties. Therefore, the potential for conflicts of interest is minimized. Your accounts reside at a custodian, providing an added layer of protection. The custodian charges a custody fee, commissions on equity trades, and mark-ups on any bonds and currencies we purchase for you. These costs are also all reported to you, and we are available to explain them any time.
  • Are your management fees tax deductible?
    Yes, our management fees are tax deductible for non-registered accounts (sometimes referred to as cash accounts or margin accounts). Therefore, it is important to keep copies of our invoices for your annual income tax records. Our fees charged in registered accounts, such as RSP’s, TSFA’s, RIF’s, and RESP’s, are not tax deductible.
  • What is your minimum account size?
    Our services are designed for individuals, families, or entities with a minimum of $500,000 of investable assets. By having a minimum account size, we can provide every client with more attention and expertise at a lower fee rate, while still allowing for significant time to research sound investments.
  • How do client accounts work?
    Each of our clients open unique brokerage accounts in their own names with our chosen custodian. These types of accounts are sometimes referred to as segregated accounts, or separately managed accounts. The custodian holds your investments for safekeeping but does not make any investment decisions. We make all the buy and sell decisions for the accounts we manage. Although clients are not directly involved in each decision, we are always available to discuss investment decisions. We have no authority to move cash or securities out of clients’ accounts at the custodian, except for payment of our fees. Only clients can withdraw assets from their accounts. We are only authorized to manage the investments contained within each client’s custodial account and to charge our fees to the account.
  • What types of accounts do you offer?
    We offer registered accounts and non-registered accounts. Registered accounts include RSP’s, RIF’s, TSFA’s, RESP’s, etc. Non-registered accounts are sometimes referred to as cash accounts, margin accounts, or taxable accounts. They can be owned by individuals, companies, or trusts.
  • How do separately managed accounts differ from funds?
    Your separately managed account, also known as a segregated account, is in your name. Your investments will not be co-mingled with those of other investors. In other words, your investments are separate from all other client accounts. This is different than a fund, which is a separate legal entity that is a pool of assets from multiple clients and the clients own shares of the fund. The value of each fund share is based on the valuation of the securities in the fund. With your separately managed account, you will own stocks and bonds directly.
  • What are the advantages of separately managed accounts?
    Separately managed accounts provide flexibility in tailoring a portfolio to the specific objectives and situation of each client. For instance, constraints on position sizes and geographies can be tailored, as can restrictions on cash levels. Larger accounts can benefit from lower fee rates. Clients can monitor the activity and holdings in their accounts online at any time. This increased transparency can lead to more meaningful discussions between clients and their portfolio manager. Separately managed accounts can be managed more efficiently for taxes. For example, the transparency of account activity and costs makes it easier to trigger a particular capital gain or loss on an individual investment. And unlike a fund, the timing of capital gains and losses are not impacted by the inflows and outflows of other investors.
  • Can we deposit or withdraw our funds at any time?
    Yes, your investment accounts are in your name. You can revoke the authority giving us discretion to manage your accounts at any time by written notice to us. Adequate provision must be made for the proper settlement of all outstanding trades and commitments. For deposits, you can mail the custodian a cheque made out to them, send an electronic or wire transfer from your bank account, use your bank’s online bill payment platform, or use a transfer form if transferring assets from another Canadian brokerage. For a withdrawal, if the funds are available, the withdrawal can be made immediately by cheque in your name, or electronically to your bank account if you have provided written authorization. If cash is not available because your assets are currently invested, we will initiate a sale of securities, and the money becomes available within 3 business days. It usually takes 1 to 5 days for a deposit or withdrawal transaction to be completed end-to-end.
  • Does the firm hold client assets?
    No, we never take possession of client investments, or handle client cash. Our clients open accounts in their own names at our chosen custodian. Only you can move cash or investments into, or out of, your custodian accounts. The custodian sends you regular statements directly without our intervention, and you can view your accounts online at any time. Our firm has the authority to do all the investing in the accounts, and to charge our fees to the accounts.
  • What is the role of the custodian?
    Our chosen custodian is responsible for opening, maintaining, and closing client accounts. They maintain current and accurate records of client holdings and activity. They execute and settle trades according to our instructions and hold your securities for safekeeping. They prepare and send account statements and tax slips. They provide clients with secure online access to view and monitor their accounts. They calculate and report tax information to the relevant government agencies. They record and receive interest and dividend income and ensure all other services related to securities regulation and administration are properly conducted.
  • Do you offer investment products?
    No, we do not offer or sell products from other firms or institutions. Instead, we buy stocks and bonds directly in your account on your behalf. We earn our fee strictly on the value of the assets we manage. Since we do not sell products, we do not earn commissions or trailer fees. Therefore, we are not tempted to sell you a product just because it pays us a high commission.
  • Do you invest in mutual funds?
    No, we generally do not invest client money in mutual funds or hedge funds or use external money managers. We focus on directly owning publicly traded stocks and bonds. We may occasionally buy low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETF’s) to efficiently manage client cash flows, or to temporarily manage exposure to certain sectors, asset classes, industries, or geographies. Also, there may be instances where we feel it is more cost effective for our clients to own fixed income ETF’s, as opposed to owning bonds directly.
  • What is your investment style?
    We are long-term, fundamental, value investors. We seek to invest in profitable, growing companies, with strong balance sheets, motivated aligned management teams, and good competitive positions. We like companies with consistent track records, that generate good cash flow. We like to own shares in approximately 25-35 companies, diversified by industry and geography. We are generally buy-and-hold investors, tending to hold investments for many years. We take a disciplined approach, spending significant time considering a company before investing. We do our own research, completing detailed analysis and a valuation of each company before investing. We are independent and comfortable investing when our ideas are not trendy, or even contrarian. We are focused on analyzing individual companies, rather than taking high level views on the market, an industry, the economy, or country. We are concerned with the price we pay for each investment. We must be able to purchase it below our estimate of its worth. We will not overpay just to invest in a great company. A stock’s popularity has no bearing on our analysis or decisions. In fact, we tend to shy away from the most popular stocks, as they are often overvalued. Our favourite time to invest is when markets are paralyzed by fear and the financial press is filled with gloom. This is a great time to find bargains, as undisciplined investors often sell at cheap prices to avoid more pain. Often, we invest in companies when they are out of favour or being somewhat ignored by other investors.
  • Why choose active investing over passive investing?
    We believe in active investing. This means we pick investments individually based on their fundamental merits and considering their valuation. We are not fans of passive investing. We do not want to blindly own the market as a whole. There are companies in most indexes we do not want to own, whether it be because they do not meet our fundamental criteria, or they trade at valuations we do not find attractive. We believe that for psychological reasons there are often areas of the market that get swept up in fads and short-term sentiment around new, popular, or glamorous ideas. We would prefer to avoid these areas, which is difficult using passive investing. With all that said, we acknowledge there are times when passive investing beats active investing, and therefore there will be times when we underperform other investors. We accept this, while taking comfort in understanding our companies well and knowing they trade at valuations that should lead to good future returns.
  • Do you invest outside of Canada?
    Yes. We believe investing in securities from outside of Canada can diversify client portfolios, and the larger opportunity set can lead to higher returns over the long term. Our portfolio manager brings many years’ experience managing global portfolios from one of the largest asset managers in the world. However, it is important to acknowledge that international investing is subject to additional political, currency, regulatory, and economic risks. Therefore, it is important that you have a long time horizon and that you can tolerate portfolio volatility.
  • What different types of mandates do you manage?
    We manage global equity portfolios, and where a client’s risk tolerance and risk capacity warrant, stocks are complemented with fixed income investments. These include direct ownership of bonds. If we feel it is more economically beneficial for our clients, we may purchase exchange-traded fixed income funds (ETF’s). Fixed income investments are used to generate income as well as capital gains. They provide diversification and help us manage risk, reduce volatility, and preserve client capital.
  • How do you manage fixed income portfolios?
    We invest directly in government bonds, corporate bonds, and mortgage securities. Where a client’s risk tolerance and risk capacity permits, we may purchase debentures, bank debt, asset-backed securities, bonds that are below investment grade (also known as high yield bonds), and quality preferred shares, which have tax benefits in non-registered accounts. Occasionally, if we feel it is in the best interest of clients, we may buy exchange-traded fixed income funds (ETF’s), or, for clients that do not need liquidity, we may purchase guaranteed investment certificates (GIC’s). Fixed income securities are used to generate income and occasionally capital gains. They provide diversification and help us manage risk, reduce volatility, and preserve client capital. In times of elevated investor fear and market turmoil, we can take advantage of fixed income securities trading at a discount to their estimated worth. Conversely, when fixed income securities are overly expensive, we may choose to hold cash, or move to other more attractive areas of fixed income.
  • Do the firm’s managers invest in the same stocks as clients?
    Yes. The investment portfolios of our clients and our officers are managed using the same investment philosophy. We believe we can minimize conflicts of interest and align incentives by having our officers own the same equity investments as clients. Any new equity investment made for client accounts will also be purchased by the portfolio manager’s personal portfolio. We commit to disclosing the portfolio manager’s personal holdings to clients upon request.
  • Should we borrow money to invest?   Do you invest on margin?
    We do not invest on margin, and we do not recommend clients borrow to invest. Using debt to leverage your returns does magnify positive returns, however it also magnifies downside volatility and drawdowns. In extreme cases, you may be forced to sell investments to cover margin calls. This can result in permanent loss. As a result, using margin debt can result in focusing too much on the short term. It can tempt investors into trying to predict short term market moves. It can lead to emotional decision making. Investing is already hard enough. Companies have operational leverage through their fixed costs, and many use financial leverage. These facts contribute to markets already being volatile. As patient and prudent value investors, we like when the market goes down, because it means we can buy more securities of good companies at cheaper prices. Having this frame of mind would be much more difficult if we were distracted by having margin debt.
  • Do you consider tax implications while managing investments?
    Yes, we always evaluate the tax consequences of our decisions. We may delay or avoid selling securities with large unrealized gains. However, sometimes there can be good reasons to incur capital gains tax. For instance, a security could become very overvalued, or a company’s business fundamentals may deteriorate. Alternatively, there may be more attractive opportunities available. If you would like, we can collaborate with your accountants to reduce income taxes where possible. We may place certain types of securities in certain types of accounts if it leads to a preferential tax treatment.
  • What are the risks of investing in stocks and bonds?
    Risk is an unavoidable fact of investing, which clients must accept. It is important clients understand that markets fluctuate – both up and down – and can be volatile. We work hard to understand and assess risk. However, we acknowledge that many risks cannot be anticipated or controlled. Some risks we choose to tolerate, some we choose to avoid, and others we try to manage. The value of some businesses can be materially or permanently impaired due to risks. We deal with this primarily by being investors – not speculators, meaning we try to avoid the many stocks that seem to be better for speculation than investing. These include, for example, unprofitable start-ups, companies based on unproven technologies, and small resource companies. We look for companies that are well-established, have track records of profits, strong balance sheets, stable management, and good governance. But even investments chosen this way are subject to unavoidable risks, such that some can be unsuccessful. These risks can include, exogenous risks such as random events, unexpected crises, unpredictable wars, terrorism, outbreaks of diseases, or natural disasters. We use diversification to protect against these risks. If these risks come to bear, we analyze the situation unemotionally, with a long-term outlook. Rather than sell in a panic, we often find these situations provide great buying opportunities. The potential for system failure is another type of risk. Systems including banking, markets, government, mortgages, and credit can fail, even if only temporarily. Here too, we protect against these risks through diversification, but also through completing detailed fundamental analysis, avoiding hot sectors and fads, and adhering to traditional valuation techniques. Investments are also subject to economic risks – which can involve interest rates, inflation, international trade, unemployment, productivity, economic growth, etc. Rather than try to invest based on macroeconomic views, we think the best way to manage economic risks is diversification, solid fundamental analysis, focus on the long-term, and being opportunistic when prices are abnormally high or low. We also seek companies that tend to perform well in both good and bad times. Investments are also subject to industry-specific and company-specific risks. Our strategy to manage these risks is to follow industries closely, diversify, use fundamental analysis to identify strong companies, and refuse to overpay. While risk is an unavoidable part of investing, we generally believe the risks are worth taking. Over the long-term, saving and investing in companies is the best way we know of to grow wealth intelligently and methodically over time.
  • How often do you report to us?
    Our custodian provides each of our clients with a statement for each of their accounts on a quarterly basis (or monthly if there is activity). These statements include month-end holdings, market values, and costs, as well as purchases, sales, interest, dividends, and other activity for the period. For efficiency and environmental reasons, we encourage clients to elect for electronic delivery of these statements. Clients can also monitor their accounts online at any time. The custodian will provide you with required tax slips after each year-end. Additionally, we send each family an annual statement analysing all your household’s accounts on a consolidated basis. This report provides extensive details of your family’s investment performance over time, as well as all costs and compensation you have paid.
  • How often will we meet with the portfolio manager?
    We encourage you to contact us any time you have questions or concerns. We want you to feel comfortable with us and your portfolio. We recommend clients meet the portfolio manager regularly (quarterly, semi-annually, or annually). We will meet with you at least annually to understand if your circumstances, goals, or risk tolerances have changed. We need this information to update our Know-Your-Client records and your Investment Policy Statement. We are unique in that you interact directly with the portfolio manager. In other words, you are meeting directly with the person making the stock and bond selections in your portfolio. We believe you will gain value from this relationship over time. At most institutions, you would interact with an advisor, a broker, or a planner who is not directly involved in analyzing or selecting stocks on a regular basis.
  • Will you meet with our other advisors?
    Yes, we can meet and collaborate with your other advisors to discuss your financial situation. This includes professionals in the areas of tax, insurance, estates, business, accounting, succession, and philanthropy, as well as other financial planners. Getting your various advisors together can result in more comprehensive and disciplined planning. Decision making can be simplified and optimized.
  • What is an Investment Policy Statement?
    Together with you, we will establish and agree to an Investment Policy Statement at the outset of our relationship. This document records your overall financial position, investment objectives, income and liquidity requirements, tax status, risk tolerance, and your capacity to withstand volatility. This information is used to guide the creation and ongoing management of your portfolio. Your Investment Policy Statement outlines the general asset allocation rules we must follow in managing your money. We must review, update, and agree on this document with you annually.
  • What is asset allocation?
    Based on the Investment Policy Statement we establish and agree with you, we determine what portion of your assets to allocate between stocks, bonds, and cash. This is a critical decision, as asset allocation is the main driver of the return and risk of your portfolio.
  • What is an Investment Management Agreement?
    When you become a client, we enter into an Investment Management Agreement with you. This is a formal agreement stipulating the terms under which we are authorized to manage your investments on a discretionary basis. The agreement includes details of our fees, the custodian, and the frequency of reporting.
  • Are you regulated?
    Yes, our firm is registered with the securities commissions in Ontario and British Columbia as a Portfolio Manager. This means we must meet strict regular financial reporting, capital, and insurance requirements. Our firm’s financial statements must be audited by an external audit firm annually. We seek to continually pursue best practices in the areas of compliance and operations. Our registration entitles our firm to manage investment portfolios on a discretionary basis for residents of Ontario and British Columbia. Our portfolio manager is also registered with the securities commissions in Ontario and British Columbia as an Advising Representative and as our Chief Compliance Officer. Under these registrations, both our firm and our portfolio manager have a fiduciary duty to act with care, honesty, and in good faith, and always in the best interest of clients. Investment decisions are therefore made independently and free of bias. You can check the registration of any firm in Canada at the Canadian Securities Administrators’ registration search website.
  • Are our accounts guaranteed?
    No. Investing in stocks and bonds involves many risks, and volatility should be expected. It is important that you understand this. It is important that you are comfortable with the risks, and that you can tolerate the volatility. Our strategies are only appropriate for the long-term portion of your savings.
  • Is our money insured?
    Like all large brokers in Canada, our custodian is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. The CIPF provides limited protection in the case our custodian becomes insolvent. The CIPF does not provide protection against any other type of risk or loss. It does not guarantee the value of your investments. Our custodian is a major reputable financial institution subject to several regulatory regimes, including minimum capital requirements. Therefore, it is unlikely our custodian would ever become insolvent. If it were to become insolvent, the CIPF would work to ensure that any property being held for you is given back to you. If any property in your accounts was missing, the CIPF would attempt to recover it for you. In the unlikely case that these efforts failed, the CIPF would provide compensation for the value of the missing property as at the date of the insolvency, up to certain limits. For an individual, the limits of CIPF protection are $1 million for all general accounts combined, $1 million for all registered retirement accounts combined, plus $1 million for all RESP’s combined.
  • Do you have a code of conduct?
    Yes, our firm has a Code of Conduct that all officers and employees must adhere to. It is reviewed and updated regularly. In addition, our officers are subject to the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct and/or the CPA Code of Professional Conduct.
  • How will our portfolio be treated compared to larger accounts?
    Fair dealing is one of our fundamental policies. This means you will always be treated fairly, regardless of account size. We take seriously our fiduciary duty to treat all clients with fairness in the allocation of investments.
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