When everyone can essentially offer the same tools and service, how can you differentiate yourself?
In the financial services industry, we all utilize similar tools for our clients. Whether it be mutual funds or insurance, many times these tools are virtually the same. While service can be a factor that elevates a client's experience, the use of a unique selection process for choosing the right tools can further enhance the value provided.
So what is our process? To begin, it is important to realize that there are 10,000+ mutual funds that exist in the Canadian marketspace. Most of these funds were created by marketing departments to fill a perceived client need. In other words, most of these funds were not borne from a foundational investment thesis.
Through 27 years of research and industry experience, Fernhill has been able to identify 16 funds (5 companies) that we believe are truly investment oriented.
This research is then further scrutinized through our due diligence process. We make a point to attend the due diligence conference of each of the 5 companies, every 2 years. Our purpose is to personally meet the individuals responsible for our clients' money and ensure that the reasons we decided to use them in the first place, still exist.
There are very few firms or advisors that make an ongoing effort to meet with portfolio managers or CEO's. Many of them rely solely on analyst information, company financials and performance charts. While these are all very important sources of information, they cannot replace the value of meeting face to face with the decision-makers that run a company or in our clients' case, a mutual fund.
If you had a choice, would you invest in business based solely on financials, charts and graphs? Or would you also take the prudent step to meet with management and ask them questions to better understand the business?
One of our partners, Edgepoint Wealth Management, recently created a video to help illustrate their investment philosophy and approach. You can watch the video here: Edgepoint Video.
At Fernhill, we believe that our due diligence process provides our clients with the comfort of knowing that we base our recommendations on personal research that further enhances the typical industry processes.