March 20, 2023

Damn Good Advice: Meet Canada’s Best Wealth Advisors

Marley Hutchinson / The Globe and Mail

Christina Anthony

Vice President, Manager, Portfolio Manager and Investment Advisor, Odlum Brown (Vancouver)

Christina Anthony has been interested in helping people manage their portfolios at the University of British Columbia, where she attended the Portfolio Foundation Management program while pursuing a degree in finance. He first worked as a bond trader at Goldman Sachs in New York and then in investment banking. After three years in New York, he moved to Goldman Counsel in Seattle, earned his CFA designation, and then moved to Odlum Brown in Vancouver in 2002. “Through my banking and trading experiences, I gained a great perspective on how companies really work and how the stock and bond markets interact,” he says. “Then I was able to take a step back and say, if I’m looking at this as an investment opportunity, what’s important to me and how am I going to analyze it?” Especially understanding the debtor side of the business has been key, he points out, referring to the 2008 financial crisis. “It was the mortgage market crash that happened first,” he says, explaining that his credit history “gives me a good idea of ​​what was going on.”

The best advice I’ve ever received

Prioritize the most important things in your life, which for me is taking care of my family and friends and trying to be a good member of my community. That might not sound like much wealth management, but it’s what’s at the heart of how I think and who I am.

My advice to investors

Have enough cash to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves, because we may not know what will cause the market or individual companies to pull back, but if you have the cash, you can take advantage of them.

My investment motto

Buying great companies with good management that have built-in innovation leads to strong competitive advantages. We know that these companies will continue to thrive and grow regardless of how the market is doing. And that means if we invest in them long enough, our portfolios will grow.

Jessica Lee / The Globe and Mail

Rob Tetrault

Senior Portfolio Manager and Branch Manager, Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management (Winnipeg)

Funding was all over Rob Tétrault. His father was an investment banker, his mother an accountant. He started out as an insurance lawyer, but when the job didn’t bring him much personal satisfaction, Tétrault quit to get an MBA and then started his own practice in Winnipeg 13 years ago. He calls the move the best decision he’s ever made. “I consider myself lucky to be in this industry and to have been able to surround myself with such quality people,” he says. “I wouldn’t trade my team for anyone else. They are fantastic.”

The team includes his sister and fellow advisor Tania Tétrault Vrga and his father Claude, who heads business strategy. “I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have great mentors, especially my father,” says Tétrault, who is proud Métis and dedicated to helping Indigenous people achieve economic success. “He was a mentor, so he was able to share a lot of the mistakes he made with me, which allowed me to avoid making the same mistakes. I’ve learned so much from him.”

The best advice I’ve ever received

When my dad got cancer last year, he told me to focus only on the things you can control. It really guides my life and has greatly reduced stress and mental anxiety.

My investment method

We always focus on risk-weighted returns. So what kind of return can we generate for the volatility of the client’s portfolio? We believe that each investment should be looked at independently and that there are a number of other assets you can invest in beyond stocks and bonds. And we’ve generated phenomenal risk-adjusted returns by focusing on it.

My Investment View

I’m a big believer that when the market is right, if you have cash or additional capital or if you can rebalance, add as many equity investments as you can. And you don’t really have to worry about what you’re buying at the bottom. There is no doubt that the market will recover. I don’t know when that will happen, but you definitely want to own shares now and in 2023.

Ross Ferrier

Branch and Investment Advisor, CIBC Wood Gundy (Thornhill, Ont.)

As a high school student, Ross Ferrier had two dreams: to play professional baseball and work in the investment industry. He was drafted by the New York Mets out of the University of Waterloo and played in the minors for three seasons. He started his second career as a counselor 24 years ago. Now he manages 30 other advisors and their staff. Ferrier believes his success stems from his approach to building relationships with clients, not his knack for picking stocks, bonds and mutual funds. “I don’t think you could be successful and have a lot of customers if you didn’t do a good job in that regard,” he says. “But if I look at my career, it’s been more of an interest in people’s lives and the service we provide to customers.”

He says the service involves creating a plan that works for each unique situation, goals and personality. “We have clients with hundreds of millions of dollars who can choose investment people anywhere,” says Ferrier. “They have big goals and they let me serve them so they can achieve those goals. It’s an incredible responsibility, but I love it.”

My mentor

My mother was born in Jamaica and I spent a lot of time there. I read about Michael Lee-Chin early in my career and cold called him. There weren’t many people of color on Bay Street back then, and while I always considered my color a super advantage because it stood out, it was nice to see someone with similar roots that was a successful industry. We’ve been close ever since.

My investment method

I look at each client portfolio as if it were my own money at stake. There is nothing I would put my clients’ money into that I wouldn’t have invested. I also look at things from a holistic perspective. I tell clients to look to other asset classes to grow their net worth – even ones I don’t trade.

My Investment View

This is the period when returns normalize to what they have been historically. Because the previous two years were not normal. People may have to please single digit returns.

What keeps me up at night

Someone with an iPhone may pretend to be a quality purveyor of information and may be acting on behalf of a source with a biased view. People are being manipulated and that worries me.

Alain Claveau/The Globe and Mail

An-Lap Vo-Dignard

Senior Wealth Advisor and Portfolio Manager, National Bank Financial Wealth Management (Montreal)

“I love people,” An-Lap Vo-Dignard explains part of what makes him happy in his work. A lifelong Montrealer, Vo-Dignard has worked in the wealth and portfolio management industry for over 20 years. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in finance from HEC Montréal, Vo-Dignard started on the credit side of the financial world. He soon became an advisor after being drawn to the stock market. Vo-Dignard joined what is now National Bank Financial in 1998 and began working with partner Ian Provost in 2001. “We analyze risks differently, so we complement each other well. I worry about things that are less likely to happen but can have a big impact,” says Vo-Dignard. “Ian is more concerned with things that have a higher chance of happening but a lower impact.”

The team now consists of 15 employees, including analysts and a financial planner – everything customers need is at hand. All these years later, Vo-Dignard is still passionate about his work and building a better world. “I’m proud that I was very vocal in helping to create the bank’s ESG committee,” he says. And he is happy that his clients can now get stable returns by investing in companies that are doing well. “Before, it was almost like charity because the returns were really bad,” he says. “But we’re getting to a stage where you’re rewarded.”

Which keeps me going

In addition to the fact that we generate good returns and the market is rising, a great day is when a customer is so satisfied with our services and trusts us so much that they want to refer a friend or family member to us. That is the highest compliment and it humbles me.

Investment prospects

Volatility is something investors have to get used to. But short-term volatility can be a long-term opportunity. When people panic or get too excited, you have the opportunity to buy low and sell high. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Stay with quality companies: good balance sheets and not too much debt, sensible management, leaders in their field and good brand power.

The best advice I’ve ever received

A very successful entrepreneur once told me, “Never do business with someone you don’t share the same values ​​with.” Sometimes you flag something without knowing exactly why, but you have to trust your instincts.

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