Skills and experience are table stakes for any successful team. We have a team of professionals at Taylor Asset Management that is defined by passion, drive and integrity.
One month into my ﬁrst semester at business school many (many) years ago, I knew I wanted to manage money. I cut my teeth at Confederation Life Insurance Company – Canada’s premier value shop at that time. As an equity analyst at “Confed”, I learned the core principles that formed the foundation of the investment approach that I still use today. Most importantly, I learned to focus my attention on fundamentals – the facts – ignore the noise and leave emotions out of it.
After Confederation Life, I moved on to manage equities at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Board and then Altamira Investment Services. Prior to founding Taylor Asset Management, I spent the better part of a decade as head of the Value team and as lead manager of the Dynamic Canadian Value line-up at Goodman & Company, Investment Counsel. I’ve learned some important lessons during my 28 years in the industry such as sticking to what you know and never deviating from strategy – clients need to know what to expect from you. And, when you make a mistake, don’t let your ego get in the way – ﬁx it! This can be a humbling business. The markets are bigger than all of us but if you’re patient and stick to your discipline, your clients will be rewarded in the long run.
I’ve had a number of personal achievements during my 30 years in the investment industry and my efforts have been recognized with top honours for various industry awards including the Canadian Investment Award for Canadian Equity Fund of the Year in 2006, 2009 and 2010. But I’m most proud of the recognition I’ve received for long term performance. I’ve received 15 Lipper Awards for top returns over three, ﬁve and most importantly ten years in the Canadian equity and balanced fund categories.
What I most love about my career is the opportunity to work so closely with clients and the relationships I’ve built over the years. I’ve always considered clients to be my partners and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work directly with them again through Taylor Asset Management. I’ve brought together a team of skilled, honest and hardworking professionals to help me build Taylor Asset Management into a ﬁrm that our partners want to do business with and investors want to entrust their money with. I’m excited to come to work every day. I’ve spent my entire career doing research – analyzing companies and the markets, trying to ﬁnd the best investment opportunities for my clients. I love what I do and I wouldn’t change a thing.
As CFO and COO, not only do I bring a strong grasp of the core fundamentals which are vital to the role, I also bring a clear understanding of the business as a whole. Early in my career as a Chartered Accountant, I provided audit and consulting services in the ﬁnancial services group at Ernst & Young and then led the ﬁnancial reporting team at Systemhouse Group of Companies.
Prior to joining Taylor Asset Management, I earned my stripes at two of Bay Street’s most innovative and successful asset management ﬁrms. Working with clients in the ﬁnancial services group at E&Y, piqued my interest in the sector so I made the move to ﬁnancial services and joined Synergy Asset Management in 2000. As Director, Finance at Synergy and then Chief Compliance Ofﬁcer at Acuity Investment Management, I gained a unique perspective of investment operations from two different vantage points. I was also exposed to two quite diverse, and yet strong, management styles. I’m excited to bring this experience to Taylor Asset Management.
There’s more to being a CFO than simply getting the numbers right, although that certainly helps. A good CFO is a strong strategist and an effective communicator. I’m fortunate to have worked with some very strong leaders and to have had the opportunity to take my career into many different corners of the investment business. The dual role of CFO/COO is exciting and challenging – I juggle the concerns of all corporate constituents and their respective needs for the business without bias.
We have a tight-knit team at Taylor Asset Management – a team built on mutual respect, trust, and chemistry, and rich with experience. I love my position as CFO/COO. I’m not just the ﬁrm’s “bean counter” – my ofﬁce is “the doorway through which all information passes.” It’s my responsibility to interpret and share information with the management team, and to draw on its collective expertise to make our business stronger.
After leaving graduate school, I started my career as a financial analyst with Bank of Montreal’s Asset Management Services group, supporting the Bank’s four wealth management subsidiaries. Preparing forecasts certainly wasn’t the most exciting role but it was a great introduction to the industry, and working alongside management provided a lot of insight into the different wealth management-based businesses. The Bank’s mutual fund business was very small but starting to gather steam so I made the move and joined the team as Product Manager, responsible for marketing and positioning investment products and services. As a small team we were nimble, and without layers of bureaucracy, we were highly responsive to clients’ needs. It was in those early days of my career that I learned the importance of communication. When it comes to their money, clients need to be informed.
After nine years with the Bank, I spread my wings and moved on to Fidelity Investments Canada as Senior Manager, Marketing and then joined the product management team at DundeeWealth’s Dynamic Funds. During my seven years at Dynamic, I held progressively senior roles starting as Senior Product Manager responsible for the firm’s value fund line-up, and later leading the team as Vice President, Product Management. As a liaison with portfolio management, I worked closely with the sales team and institutional representatives to position investments.
I’ve spent all of my career in the investment industry. After two decades, I’ve had exposure to every facet of the business. What I’ve most enjoyed is working directly with clients - investors and the investment professionals that assist them. My role at Taylor Asset Management is communication. It’s my job to arm individuals with the information they require to make informed decisions about our products. I’m fortunate to work at a firm that isn’t hindered by bureaucracy with a team that puts clients first and believes in open and honest communication. It makes my job easy.
Growing up on a farm in rural Ontario, I didn’t have much exposure to the investment industry – there weren’t a lot of investment shops in Parkhill. However, commodity prices and industry trends were popular topics on the farm, and when my cousin recommended reading “The Wealthy Barber”, I was intrigued. As an economics student at the University of Western Ontario, my interest grew. A fellow student urged me to join the school’s Investment Club. An investment club didn’t sound like the typical “good times” club that Western was known for, but he assured me otherwise, “it’s a good group of guys who meet for beers once a week and talk about stocks and stuff.” I gave it a try, and before long, I convinced the group to let me try my hand as the Club’s fund manager. I was hooked.
What most interested me about investing, was digging deep to really understand a company and its industry. I graduated with a plan: move to the big city; get my CFA charter; and seek out opportunities to develop my analytic abilities. My long-term goal was to get exposure to all parts of the industry, and I knew strong research skills were essential to success. I was fortunate to land a role as an analyst at Stone Asset Management straight out of school. From Stone, I joined CIBC World Markets as an analyst in the corporate finance group. After two years I made the move to CIBC’s sell side research team – a leading research shop – and had the privilege of working as an associate with a top-ranked equity analyst. After a few years as an associate, I was promoted to lead industrials analyst in 2006. The industrials space is extremely broad, highly technical and economically sensitive. My experience covering industrial products at CIBC was invaluable. I worked hard and learned a ton. I received Starmine Awards for top stock picking in 2008 and 2009 – achievements I’m particularly proud of given how volatile markets were at the time.
Sell side analysts get a bad rap because of preconceived biases in the industry. As a lead analyst covering key sectors for some of our industry’s top money managers, it was important for me to have the respect of my clients and for them to trust me for objective and well-researched opinions. I like to think I achieved that. I worked hard to arm my clients with as much information as possible about the companies I covered to assist them in making critical investment decisions. When I felt I was ready to move to the buy side, it was important for me to partner with a portfolio manager who works equally hard and is trusted and respected by their clients. I’m excited to work alongside David, a proven manager and analyst whose opinions, like mine, are formed by extensive research and facts.