Vice President, Investment Advisor, TD Waterhouse
In the business
In today’s low-rate environment, most portfolios need an equity weighting. My own is 70% equities, 30% fixed income. I prefer at least an even split between Canadian and global equities. Canadian equities fill the financials space; for under-represented sectors like healthcare, I look south. I stick with U.S. stocks or ADRs, which are denominated in U.S. currency, easy to access, and more cost-effective.
At home, I prefer dividend-paying companies with solid balance sheets and decent yield. For international equities, I pick managers from a family of funds, so that if clients wish to switch within the group, they can do so without incurring fees.
Not all clients’ children are natural fits for your book. Some could have divergent financial styles, like one client’s son who had every dollar invested in real estate. I knew any money he received from the estate would flow into another apartment building. In addition, a client may have enough assets to meet your criteria, but his beneficiaries may not once the estate’s divided. It might be better to cultivate new clients instead.
I serve 125 households and plan to maintain that number. I’m more focused on consolidating existing clients’ assets. Once aging clients start drawing payments, it’s counterproductive to have accounts dispersed among different firms. I tell them, “I have to manage your money as if that’s all the money you have. I can’t make decisions based on money that’s elsewhere.”
We Maritimers are private about financial affairs, so I rarely organize group events. I prefer to provide individual service—I’ve invited clients to one-on-ones with portfolio managers. I send flowers for special occasions and handwrite notes to thank clients for their business, wish them well on joyous occasions and express condolences during illness or death of dear ones.
Kanupriya Vashisht is a Toronto-based financial writer.