Vice President, Investment Advisor, TD Waterhouse
In the business
For clients who understand the risks of owning individual securities, we use a model equity portfolio with about 20 different Canadian and U.S. stocks. These include Kraft Foods, McDonald’s, JP Morgan, CVS Caremark, Canadian banks and TransCanada—all well-run companies that aren’t overvalued; have good dividend yields; strong management; good earnings growth; and are in sectors with good potential and stable growth. For clients with an appetite for speculation, we might assign 5% to 10% to commodities, biotech, gold, silver, or oil and gas.
Market-neutral hedge funds help mitigate risk while providing growth for sophisticated clients with a million or more invested. To keep 10% to 20% of portfolios uncorrelated, we include funds such as the Polar Altairis long-short hedge fund, which is completely diversified outside Canada.
With clients who aren’t as comfortable owning direct, we use a combination of managers, and Canadian plus U.S. large-cap equity funds.
I try to provide all services under one roof. I have a network of mortgage and tax specialists, and a team of cross-border accountants and lawyers. We have clients from Turkey, Italy, France and England, and work with Baker Mackenzie in Europe.
I’ve referred a client who is a cross-border tax specialist to many of my clients. I referred a couple, both radiologists, to a client who was diagnosed with cancer.
I say no to clients with unrealistic goals (like 15% to 20% returns), who expect active day trading, are secretive about assets, or have preconceived notions about how to manage their money. I let them know we’re not a good fit and refer them out. It hasn’t backfired. Rather, three years ago I turned away a client who wanted me to manage only part of his portfolio. He came back, bringing his family and substantial assets because he realized his needs were greater than just making money on a small portion of assets.
Kanupriya Vashisht is a Toronto-based financial writer.