What you need to know if you’re looking to find out more about investment counseling firms
Prospective clients can obtain the names and addresses of investment counselling firms from industry directories such as “Canada’s Money Managers” or the “Top 40 Money Managers” published in Benefits Canada, the pension industry trade magazine. Some actuarial firms, such as Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt Worldwide, have pooled fund performance surveys that cover most of the larger managers’ pooled funds in Canada.
Smaller clients and individuals also have access to financial planners who keep tabs on investment managers who specialize in smaller and private accounts. Accountants and estate lawyers have contacts with investment managers, as many of their clients use the services of discretionary investment managers.
At lower levels of assets, below $500,000 in a total portfolio, the prospective client should really use mutual funds, as these are much more efficient when transactions and custodial costs are taken into account. Investment dealers offer “wrap accounts,” which use either pooled funds or invest client monies in a “model portfolio” approach for a single asset based fee. These are comparable to mutual funds and can be tailored more for specific client groups.
Most investment dealers and mutual fund brokerages are familiar with the investment managers of the various mutual funds available. Some firms, such as Nesbitt Burns Inc., have investment analysts dedicated to following the mutual fund industry and are very familiar with both the firms and particular fund managers. The financial press publishes mutual fund performance on a monthly basis and provides quarterly analyses of fund holdings. They also have reporters who follow mutual funds and do special reports on investment counselling firms. A performance measurement firm, Bell Charts, also has a software package available that your broker might have access to. This has performance statistics on most public mutual funds.
Article by John Carswell, Canso Investment Counsel Ltd.