Things I Have Learned

by Michael Andrews

Learning is not something that stops after college or university, lifelong learning  is a commitment. Experience is a great contributor, although at times it may create biases, being part of peer groups is another way to learn through differing perspectives and attending industry conferences. This year I have been fortunate to have attended three conferences with three core themes:

  • Family Business Planning
  • Wealth Planning Strategies
  • Investment & Portfolio Management

The Exit Planning Institute Annual Summit took place in Scottsdale AZ in May which focused on the strategies, opportunities and challenges business families face on transitioning/exiting their business. It was a group of over 200+ multidisciplinary professionals who work with business families who are transitioning or thinking of transitioning their businesses to another family member or third parties. The collaboration between the multidisciplinary professional community was unlike any other organization I have been part of.

Topics Covered:

  • Drivers to increase business value
  • Identifying Owner readiness
  • Systems and processes in the business that provide 2nd generation leadership opportunities
  • Collaboration with interdisciplinary advisory teams
  • Strategies to keep the family and business wealth intact

In September I attended the Assante National Conference in Toronto gathered over 400+ advisory and team members and national and international industry leaders interacting to share wealth management strategies and challenges facing Canadian families including topics such as:

  • better understanding long term care options and shortcomings for aging parents and clients
  • workshops on tax planning and estate strategies with the ever-changing Canadian tax rules.
  • Regulatory changes and client impact

I have just arrived back from attending the Canadian Advanced Advisor Conference in Santa Monica which is a “think tank” of 75 Canadian advisors and academic scholars,  as Professor Kenneth French coming together collaboratively to exchange ideas and strategies around a shared evidence-based investment philosophy. The core focus was:

  • helping our clients achieve their financial and personal goals when current industry sales tactics are major distractions.
  • Discussing current economic factors and the research on market impact/client portfolios  i.e., Fed/Bank of Canada rate
  • The academic research around cost of trading, indexing and implicit costs that clients do not see
  • Leaning more about cryptocurrency and the complexities within it

The advantage of working in an industry for 35 years is you see things and you get to know things. What I have seen while attending this last conference are top advisors from across Canada who are committed to make our profession better and the industry more accountable. They are guided by shared principles and core values. Exchanging ideas and sharing stories on how we can elevate the depth, breadth, and delivery of impactful services to Canadian clients. In a time when doing the minimum appears to be good enough, these advisers, from various firms rise above to set a new standard. This all sounds like it should be a pervasive industry statement, but I assure you it is not. This is why I feel privileged to be invited along side this group. In one of the talks, Professor French shared with us the top things he knows about investing This got me thinking about what I have learned in about investing, wealth and what is important to The Andrews Group of Assante Capital Management Ltd

Six things I know about Investing

  1. staying focused and committed to a clear goal is simple to say but harder to execute. over my 35 years the clients with the ‘tortoise’ strategy have beaten those who have tried the ‘hare’ strategy. Which reinforces what my mom used to tell me “Slow and steady wins the race.” My dad always said, “water was more powerful than a rock as it was steady and unrelenting.” Wealth accumulation shares the same qualities.
  2. No one likes market declines and there is no sugar coating, this year has been a tough one, but they are absolutely essential for you to be financially successful in achieving your long-term goals.
  3. The stock market is simply a mechanism to buy shares in businesses, it is not a gambling or lottery like activity. It is investor behaviour that creates this activity.
  4. Investor success is mostly attributed to the personalized combination of stocks and bonds and the proportion (customized to you) to which they are weighted. This customized proportion allows you to “stay in your seat” in turbulent times to reap the future success.
  5. Managing your portfolio is about buying these stocks and bonds based on evidence based academic research, keeping trading costs low and diversifying globally.
  6. Focusing on your goal, being aware of investment principles which are important, controllable, and ignoring all the noise that appears to be, but is not important and most of all beyond your control.

The Four Things I know about Wealth

  1. Wealth creates complexity as there are many intertwined moving parts
  2. Wealth can be emotionally challenging
  3. Wealth can be destructive to family harmony
  4. Wealth’s intertwined components need a collaborative, proactive champion.

The Most Important Things I Know

  1. You, our client has always been and will continue to be the most important.
  2. We will be thinking of ways to solve an issue or find an opportunity for you beyond the hours of nine to five.
  3. We will celebrate together, go through hardships together and we will always show up when you need us.
  4. That our level of caring and the scope of our services is beyond industry norms
  5. We will always be your champion.

This material is provided for general information and is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to compile this material from reliable sources however no warranty can be made as to its accuracy or completeness. Before acting on any of the above, please make sure to see a professional advisor for individual financial advice based on your personal circumstances.
Assante Capital Management Ltd. is a Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.