Title: VP, Investment Advisor, TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice

City: Toronto

In the business: 25 years

Book size: $160 million

Asset minimum: $1 million


I stay away from heavily layered investments with high embedded fees. If I can’t explain the investment in 30 seconds, I don’t recommend it. For cash flow, I use blue-chip dividends, preferred shares and REITs. Corporate bonds are still attractive, but I prefer managed funds. I manage risk through asset weight and sector allocation in equities.

At current valuations, I’m partial to the U.S. market for clients who can tolerate risk. For long-term investments, I still see opportunities in China, India and South East Asia. Due to volatility, I favour active money managers to ETFs wherever possible. I like knowing there is oversight to the holdings and the investments are fluid.

Top 20

In our industry, the top 20% of clients contribute 80% of revenue. To allow me to promptly meet their needs, every few years I review all my clients to make sure they still fit my business model. If not, I find them the most suitable alternative in my office: a financial planner, discount brokerage or another advisor.

I try to make life easier for my Top 20. I offer them the option of meeting at home or their offices. Their calls and emails are top priority for my team. I also invite them and their spouses to a year-end dinner with my husband and me. If they ask for recommendations, I always try to offer an informed opinion, even if it’s a non-financial matter such as suggesting a good restaurant, hotel or realtor.

If your practice is built solely on generating alpha, it’s hard for people to feel confident referring you. Alpha isn’t easily repeatable; good service is.

Well exposed

I’m a media spokesperson, and this has significantly raised my profile in the community. One of my Top 20 clients sought my services after seeing me on BNN. I’m also president of a private ski club in Collingwood. Although time-consuming, it has given me high visibility to an affluent market, and resulted in quite a few clients.

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