Nick Bakish

Nick Bakish

director of wealth management, Richardson GMP, Montreal
Designations: CFA, CLU, TEP, Fin. Pl., FCSI

The gold standard is the CFA. It’s internationally recognized and requires the most study.

The designation gives me a framework to evaluate pricing for various securities, so I can employ an appropriate investment strategy. For example, understanding pricing models, such as discounted cash flow or relative multiple analysis, is critical. I balance this with my knowledge of risks for various asset classes, like liquidity, credit, interest rate, currency, systemic, and idiosyncratic risk. Armed with these assessments—and knowledge of how different asset classes correlate—I create a whole portfolio that meets my client’s needs, balancing the goal to achieve a desired return with the levels of risk my client’s comfortable assuming.

Reg Jackson

Reg Jackson

portfolio manager, JMRD Wealth Management, National Bank Financial, London, Ont.
Designations: FCSI, FMA, CIMA, CIWM

The most important designation I have is my Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation. Few Canadian advisors have it, so it’s a competitive advantage for our team (my partner Paul has the same designation).

The CIMA gives me the expertise to effectively hire and fire third-party managers. For example, I identify a manager’s style drift by asking questions, such as, “Why are there non-dividend paying securities in the portfolio when the mandate strictly states that a security must pay a dividend to be eligible for inclusion?” Style drift happens more often than you’d expect and becomes prevalent when a non-dividend payer moves up sharply—think Nortel and Valeant.

A bonus is the conferences, which are a great opportunity to network and learn about industry trends — especially U.S. trends that will probably later occur in Canada.

Monica J. Weissmann

Monica J. Weissmann

wealth manager, Manulife Securities, Toronto
Designations: CFP, CIM

My most valued designation is the CFP, which I earned in 2002. It’s comprehensive—dealing with taxes, legal issues and the diverse financial situations of clients.

It also has an ethics component focused on clients’ best interests. In a way, CRM2 implements the CFP’s ethics component.

My values are aligned with the ethics component, and it strengthens my client relationships.

I do not shy away from arguing with a client when what he wants to do is contrary to his interests or needs. Most of the time, the client will come around to my position, or we will compromise.

But with discussion, I have an opportunity to better understand his motivations, and that cements the relationship.

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by Michelle Schriver, assistant editor of Advisor Group.