Title: Senior VP and investment advisor, Macquarie Private Wealth
In the business: 20 years
Book size: $800 million
I love reading, cross-country skiing, mountain climbing, hiking and travel
We make sure to understand the culture of companies we deal with. I often refer to this as the Calgary advantage, because we have a more personal and open approach to business. That makes it easier to do fundamental analysis of the balance sheet, competitive position, market pricing, management, etc.
We’re equally hawk-eyed about governments and their regulatory systems. We deal with countries that have a strong commitment to transparency and the rule of law. We’ve had bad experiences in certain emerging markets where trust was lacking in every transaction. Luckily, a growing number of regions are becoming more aligned with Canadian political and ethical standards, and so are becoming increasingly attractive as investment possibilities.
While we mostly rely on thorough market research, our clients are another great way to vet the investment ideas we come up with—many are experts in industries these potential opportunities emerge from. Often, we present them with ideas and get their reflections.
We layer a number of investments we think are fail-safe, especially in today’s market, like arbitrage funds or companies that are low-cost producers in their fields. Between 80% and 90% of a client’s portfolio is focused on such investments. The remaining is invested in higher-risk investments with higher potential returns, such as junior energy stocks.
Our clients are presidents, CEOs and board members who have already been prospected to death. So rather than be in a hurry to make a pitch, we listen. We only approach prospective clients when we have something massively unique for them. It’s sometimes six months to a year after meeting someone before we even show them an opportunity. The focus is never on quantity; always quality.