Proper Due Diligence

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Has your advisor done their proper Due Diligence?

One area that is disappearing more around the world is proper due diligence. As everything becomes more and more controlled by the conglomerates, we are working in a more vanilla society.  The cost structure of these conglomerates has pushed out the individuality of almost every market I can think of.

I can only get so many paper colours, binder colours, baseboard choices…  at the local level. Yes we can special order things, but the cost can be prohibitive. I wanted a specific piece for my computer and no one carries it at the store level any more. I had to order from a website but because it is an inexpensive piece I had to also pay for shipping; making this an expensive piece for what it does. In some areas you can still get treated as an individual and not overpay, but you have to look for it.

What does this have to do with Due Diligence?

I am sure you are asking yourself by now; What does this have to do with due diligence?  I have found in the financial services industry there is less and less independence. A trend that I know is actually starting to ever so slowly turn around, thankfully – but not at the big advisor captured institutions. Most of these big conglomerates are forcing (or financially coercing) their advisors to buy what the conglomerates want.

No longer are the advisors doing proper due diligence. To me proper due diligence is sitting down with anyone managing my client’s funds: be it mutual funds, segregated funds, pooled funds, pension funds and separately managed accounts. They are working from overviews, meeting with the wholesaling representative or sitting in on the ever popular “online seminar”. What a great way to only be sold what they want your advisor to see.

These advisors are not doing their client’s any favours with this kind of quasi due diligence.

In our office, we actually sit down with the managers of the products we want to look at. It gives us a chance to question them, get their modus operandi figured out and decide if there is room on our product shelf to have this available to our clients. Being full service advisors, we are individually investing in much of the same products that they are and understand what constitutes a good buy and sell mandate. My clients invested in a closed-end equity a couple of months ago and for me, meeting with the managers was tantamount. There are so few well-constructed closed-end products that I don’t tend to do many, and really put the managers through the wringer before I decide yes or no.

Here are some examples of our current due diligence meetings:

  • Tom Dicker and Jason Gibbs, portfolio managers of Dynamic funds last week

  • Stephen Groff, a portfolio manager of CI Cambridge funds last week

  • Larry Sarbitt, a portfolio manager of IA Clarington Funds this week

  • Steve DiGregorio, a portfolio manager who will be joined by Kevin O’Leary of O’Leary funds next week. This one should be interesting as I have not met with portfolio managers of this company yet and you have to imagine Kevin O’Leary will be an interesting guest.

Our goal as advisors is to measure each and every one of these. We work well as a group; I wrote a post for my website and LinkedIn and called it “A Practical Independent Think Tank” back in August. Please click on the title to view it. We have a diverse set of advisors, with a diverse set of backgrounds and we will dig deep. We can each individually decide if these managers suit our clientele separately after being armed with all the facts. What a great way to do our due diligence.

I usually don’t send on too many of the gimmicky sayings we see on social media, but I did send this one on the other day.

If you have been following my writings you will see that I want you not to be treated like everyone else. You are an individual and Your Independence Matters (blog). Don’t be forced into the same vanilla products that everyone is buying at these institutions. You can see this on my blog Tired of Closet Indexers? Build a solution that matters to you and make sure your advisor has done their due diligence for you.

The few of us that are doing proper due diligence want this for you and you deserve it. Don’t settle for anything less.

 

If you want to see what a truly independent advisor can do for you, call me at 905-846-9060, ext.3838, email me at Terry.McIntyre@manulifesecurities.ca or visit my website at www.terrymcintyre.ca.