Title: VP and senior portfolio manager, TD Waterhouse Private Investment Counsel

City: Victoria

In the business: 20 years

Book size: $200 million

Minimum assets: $1 million

To do:

  1. Get active on LinkedIn
  2. Volunteer while travelling

Opening clients up

While we use KYC tools, we don’t just document yes/no responses. For example, I ask clients to recount a point in 2008 when they couldn’t sleep well. Sometimes, I talk in dollar terms: “How comfortable will you be if your million-dollar portfolio shrinks to $900,000 in six months?” That evokes a different response than, “How comfortable are you losing 10% of your portfolio?” Responses to open-ended questions help me uncover that maximum inflection point.

A dose of dividends

In a low-returning environment, owning dividends is like owning rental property. As long as you’re not planning to sell, and the rent covers fixed expenses, you’re fine. Similarly, unless you need to trade the stocks, you’re being paid a nice stream of tax-preferred income to wait.

Focus on families

Recently, a large client’s son was starting his medical practice. Most banks wouldn’t lend to a start-up [like his] on his terms. I contacted a senior, branch-level lender who agreed to provide financing, but the regional application was declined. I explained the value of the relationship. After extensive back and forth, they agreed to the terms as long as the branch took the hit. I convinced the branch that even though one product would be loaned at a loss, the resulting family relationship wouldn’t be a loss. Sure enough, the whole family now banks with us, and the referrals keep coming.

Customized service

In one meeting you may be serving the CEO of a Fortune 500 company; in the next, someone who’s won a lottery, and has never invested before. So [present] information each would find useful. For example, the CEO might want performance attribution at an asset-class level: how did Canadian equities perform against the TSX? The lottery winner might want to know how he did compared to GICs or a bank account. Older clients might define performance as having enough cash flow to meet expenses.

Originally published in Advisor's Edge