We have clearly defined ideas about how to invest successfully. We believe quality of service is a key element of what we have to offer. Click on the buttons below to learn more on these subjects.
Our investment philosophy is built on four main tenets. We strongly believe that discipline is a primary key to successful investing. Systematic investment is the best way to ensure that you invest the amounts you desire. We are optimists but our world view is tempered by experience. There are five vital risks of investing and all of them have to be dealt with. Click on the buttons below to learn more on these subjects.
The Five Risks and Risk Management
We also believe that understanding and managing risk is critical to successful investing. After all, return of capital is even more important that return on capital. To manage risk one first needs to recognize what those risks are. There are five principal investment risks:
1.Permanently losing capital. This can largely be dealt with by doing one’s homework to be confident that a given investment is sustainable. An even more effective tool is diversification. We believe that by limiting individual corporate exposure to about 5% of a portfolio, potential permanent loss of capital is greatly reduced. 2.Market volatility. Prices go up, prices go down. This is true for all stocks, bonds, commodities, real estate and any other marketable investment. Time smooths out the bumps. Aside from only investing in things that do not change in price, market volatility is unavoidable. The best way to deal with exposure to market volatility is to have an investment time horizon for those assets that is long enough to let time smooth out the bumps. 3.Income taxes. Taxes erode your rate of return. They are unavoidable but they can be reduced and they can be deferred. By taking advantage of various features of the Income Tax Act such as RRSPs, TFSAs, and the favourable tax treatment of dividends and capital gains, among other things, the erosive effects of taxation can be reduced. A secondary risk in this category is tax policy risk. Governments come and go and governments change tax laws. One needs to be prepared to adapt to those changes and not be too reliant on any one feature of tax law so as to minimize the potential to suffer from adverse income tax changes. 4.Inflation. It is insidious. It eats away at the purchasing power of your savings and investments. At an inflation rate of 3%, the cost of living about doubles in 24 years. This means that over the course of your retirement, your cost of living will likely double. 5.Distraction. In a busy world it is easy to forget to pay regular attention to one’s investments. In our media saturated universe it is just as easy to get caught up with “flavour of the day” investment themes and end up deviating from the path your investments need to be on. The need for news media to sensationalize transitory events makes it far too easy to focus too much on the wrong risks. The world is awash in information but there is less knowledge and even less wisdom out there. Information is comprised of facts or opinions on any number of subjects. Knowledge represents the compilation and contextualization of facts. Wisdom is the productive application of knowledge.
One of the most important roles we perform as your investment advisor is that of risk manager. Managing the risks of loss of capital, volatility and taxation are inherent and ingrained in our disciplined investing philosophy. We can’t control the rate of inflation, but we do remain cognisant of it at all times and always factor the need to overcome it into our thinking. Perhaps the most important risk management function we perform is dealing with distractions. You lead a busy life and may not have the time or inclination to pay attention to your investments every day. Even if you did, you might not have the expertise to pay the right attention at the right time. We work full time at managing investments. We put a lot of effort into being knowledgeable by sorting through the facts and opinions and filtering out the hype and the noise. We work very hard at being wise when it come to managing your portfolio.