Olivia Woo, CFA

TITLE: Senior Portfolio Manager, Mawer Investment Management Ltd.

CITY: Calgary

IN THE BUSINESS: 20 years

MINIMUM ASSETS: $500,000 (for private clients)

PHILOSOPHY

Buy wealth-creating companies at a discount. When evaluating them, we run simulations to end a fair-value range. If it’s $8-to-$12, we trim holdings when the stock veers toward $12, and buy more when it hovers near $8.

We’re bottom-up managers seeking companies with consistent competitive advantage: technological edge; barriers to entry; unique assets; or brand/emotional connection, such as Apple’s.

We buy with the intention of holding forever. However, we make changes based on valuation, management capability, and other factors. We have a soft rule of maximum 6% in any one holding.

TREASURE HUNT

Our funds comprise under-the-radar, small- and large-cap stocks that provide exposure to global locations, sectors and currencies.
We don’t go for stocks like RIM that are over-covered by analysts; we go for little-known gems like Fortress Paper. We diversify away from Canada because it’s small, with a concentrated exchange.

CONSTANT COMMUNICATION

If someone sends me a cheque, I’ll call and let them know I received it. They’re never left wondering. I also keep notes about clients’ preferences, passions, and the newest interests they’re pursuing. When find related information, I share it. If my clients have young kids, and I come across a neat children’s book, I send it along with a personal note.

COMFORT-ZONE CREATION

I manage expectations by running multiple return scenarios for client portfolios—best-to worst-case—so my clients can establish a comfort zone. Many clients are uncomfortable with negative, static or minimal growth.

To ease their anxiety levels, I run their portfolios against defined objectives. If a client wants a comfortable retirement as well as a legacy, I literally divide the money into two accounts and run them both differently—growth for legacy; and conservative and cash-flow-oriented for retirement.

MY EXPERIENCE has taught me never to make assumptions about the status or net worth of the people I meet. I’m at my professional best with everyone.

Kanupriya Vashisht is a freelance journalist and writer based in Toronto.

Originally published in Advisor's Edge

Read this article and full issues on the iPad - click here.