Meet some of Canada’s Top Wealth Advisors

Alexandra Horwood

Director, wealth management, portfolio manager and investment advisor, Richardson Wealth, Toronto

Horwood worked her way up to become an advisor at her family’s wealth management business before striking out on her own. “I love the energy of the business—it’s entrepreneurial,” says the 34-year-old, who studied business and law at the University of Waterloo. Early in her career, Horwood began attending an annual mining convention, and now half of her clients are mining executives. “The goal is for clients to participate in the upside of the market but also be well protected from market risk,” she says. For her portfolios, she uses actively managed funds with strong track records, such as Turtle Creek Equity Fund and Canso Corporate Value. That strategy lets her focus on tax and estate planning. Her clients have also owned shares in private companies before they went public, such as Pinterest and DraftKings. “I always co-invest with my clients,” says Horwood. “We also do not think it is possible to time the market.”

Elizabeth Petticrew

Managing director, senior vice-president and senior portfolio manager BMO Nesbitt Burns, Vancouver

Petticrew worked as a geophysicist analyzing data to figure out where to place offshore oil rigs before becoming an investment advisor. Marrying analytical skills with meeting clients is more enjoyable than doing a solitary job of writing reports, she says. “I’m a very social person.” When managing client portfolios, the 58-year-old and her team pick all the stocks and bonds. She is bullish on U.S. equities and owns companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Goldman Sachs. “My mantra starting in 2020 was, ‘Welcome to the second half of what I believe will be the longest bull market in American history.’” Given today’s low interest rates, Petticrew prefers dividend-paying growth stocks to bonds. Investors should focus on high-quality companies that have good management, products and services, she says, and a moat to protect them against competition. “Stop listening to the noise and do not try to time the market. I have never seen it work.”

Maglan Naidoo

Vice-president, senior investment advisor, Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, Edmonton

Maglan Naidoo immigrated to Canada at age 16 from South Africa after he and his brother were expelled from school for protesting apartheid. His family settled in Saskatoon, where he later earned an economics degree but struggled to get a financial services job. “I tried for years to get into this field, but I couldn’t get a break,” recalls Naidoo, 56. He then moved to Edmonton for a job at a bank, where he eventually became an investment advisor, and then gravitated to Canaccord because of its entrepreneurial culture. Because some clients get too jittery when stocks are crashing, he isn’t always a fan of buy-and-hold investing. “Protecting investors in a down market is our focus,” he says. “We will trim, take profits, sit on the sidelines and buy back later.” He also invests in liquid alternative funds, such as CI Munro Alternative Global Growth, which will raise cash and use hedging strategies. In recent years, Naidoo has focused on stocks of disruptive growth companies and has even bought shares in private firms, such as DraftKings, before they went public. He now advises getting exposure to climate change stocks. “Under the Biden administration, clean energy will be a big focus,” he says.

Maili Wong

Executive vice-president, senior investment advisor, senior portfolio manager Wellington-Altus Private Wealth, Vancouver

Before returning to her hometown in 2006 to become an investment advisor, Wong spent five years on Wall Street, including a stint helping to manage a boutique hedge fund. Back in Vancouver, she teamed up with her father, a veteran in the business, to build their wealth management practice. “I still manage money as a portfolio manager, but now it’s for high-net-worth individuals and families,” says Wong, 42. “It’s more rewarding and impactful.” Wong focuses on protecting clients’ capital but also embraces market volatility. Valuation and early coronavirus concerns led her to reduce equity exposure in client portfolios before the market crash in March 2020. That provided cash to buy stocks such as Alphabet, Amazon and Disney at cheaper prices during the plunge. Investors should expect at least a 10% drawdown in equity markets each year, Wong says. Instead of fearing declines, “we see this as an opportunity to buy high-quality assets on sale.”

Jay Smith

First vice-president, senior portfolio manager CIBC Private Wealth, Wood Gundy, Toronto

Jay Smith’s path to becoming an advisor was unorthodox. After earning a PhD in […]

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