In contrast to many of the portfolio managers featured here, Jennifer Black is new to the job. While she has been in the wealth management business for 14 years, this is her first as a discretionary PM. As such, she offers a unique perspective on what the job entails and improvements that can be made to benefit clients.
“I would like to see more client cost transparency,” she says. “CRM2 addressed some of the costs by showing what dealer revenue is per client, but it did not address hidden costs embedded within MERs that a client is paying.”
In addition, Black is a supporter of the drive toward a best interest standard across the wealth management space, where she believes there is currently too much grey area. “Just being an advisor and passing some courses is not enough,” Black says. “Advisors need to provide clients value-add year after year in order to earn business. Is the client simply coming to an advisor for investments, or are they looking to get guidance in other areas as well?”
As an accredited discretionary manager, Black can move as she see fits when investment opportunities present themselves. Being able to take immediate action is a big plus for her, although she always takes the long view when it comes to her clients’ assets. “Our portfolios are designed for the long-term goals of our clients,” she says. “We ensure that anything short-term, like short-term cash-flow needs, can withstand a market correction.”
Her firm, DFS Private Wealth, is under the Mandeville Private Client umbrella, so it’s not too surprising that alternatives and private equity are key components of her portfolios. On the fixed-income side, with the key rate in Canada still entrenched at 0.5%, Black looks globally for exposure. This diversification helps to protect her clients should a market correction occur. “The markets’ continued rise does bring some caution,” she says, “but we are always cautious when building our portfolios to ensure downside protection at all times.”