The heart of our investment philosophy can be summed up in one word – Diversification. Investing is like many other things in life – it's preferable to focus on what you can control than on what you can't. Investment returns are dictated by financial markets which are largely unpredictable over the short term, but investment risk is something which one can control – and the way to do so is with diversification.
We first start by ensuring proper diversification between the major asset classes – the weighting of which will be determined by your risk profile and investment objectives. Within each asset class, we ensure that there are enough securities to reduce the individual risk associated with any one. For equities, we try to ensure representation from each of the major economic sectors, picking the best opportunities from around the world. On the fixed income side, we stick to triple A credits, generally government issues to ensure maximum liquidity, making small adjustments to duration using Canada's broad-based government bond index as a benchmark. For taxable accounts, we also include preferred shares in our fixed income holdings for tax efficiency. For smaller accounts, to achieve this level of diversification we usually use a careful selection of mutual funds. Finally, when appropriate, we will include a small portion of alternative investments benefit from the negative correlation that this asset class gives.