Shelly Appleton-Benko

Title: Director and Portfolio Manager, Odlum Brown Limited

City: Vancouver

In the business: 16 years

Book size: $200+ million

Philosophy

Our core portfolio strategy involves quality blue-chip companies buttressed by bonds and money-market funds. We prefer to own companies directly, rather than through index or wrap funds. This makes us nimble.

We own many of the same companies clients do so as to align our interests. Our research team pays particular attention to valuation, as stocks purchased at attractive prices provide a margin of safety and superior long-term return potential. We’re currently more focused on the undervalued U.S. market rather than the Canadian market. The U.S. consumer-goods market still offers attractive valuations with opportunity for share appreciation over the next few months. Similarly, U.S. large-caps promise global growth with less risk than emerging markets.

Made to fit

To build successful long-term relationships, it’s imperative clients agree with your investment style. After each prospect meeting, we ask ourselves: is his or her approach similar enough to our own? Given our more conservative philosophy, if a client seeks a portfolio with junior mining companies, or expects double-digit returns, we suggest we’re not the right fit and offer alternatives.

Community service

We support many local initiatives that directly benefit clients—community arts and cultural events, provincial hospitals and sports events, to name a few. If a client has a particular interest, we make extra effort to acknowledge it. We once organized a Julia Child-inspired cooking lesson with one of the city’s top chefs for our clients.

Paying it forward

When I first started, I had the fortune of working alongside a senior advisor. Her mentorship provided valuable insight. Today, I’m in the position to nurture the next generation. We’ve created a role dedicated to identifying opportunities for the growth and development of each team member. This has allowed us to focus on clients, while furthering our business.

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

Originally published in Advisor's Edge

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