by Scott Ronalds

People are the core of every business. If you’re a client of ours, you probably know some of our staff by name. But you probably don’t know their IQ, golf handicap, or pet’s name.

In this new blog series, we won’t go that far, but we do want you to get to know some of our people a little better. After all, they’re our real competitive advantage.

First up, Lori Norman.

Lori joined the firm in 2014 and works with clients providing advice on asset mix, portfolio construction and monitoring, and other investment-related issues. She has over 25 years of experience in the business and has worked on the fixed income side (bonds) as well as the client side.

London, England, was where Lori started her career, and she longs to visit her old stomping grounds when she can (I’m told I have to hit up The Altruist Wine Bar for a G&T and Purbani Wanstead for chicken tikka masala next time I’m in the Royal City). Along with a love of travel, she’s a fan of good food, good wine and good conversation. Lori’s two daughters are in university (the younger one starting next year) and her son is a budding soccer, pardon football, star.

Investing is in the Norman blood, with her husband also working in the business. One of Lori’s talents is her ability to speak to clients as real people rather than just a number, and help them make sense of investing. It helps that she’s a passionate investor herself, being Co-Chair of Women in Capital Markets (Vancouver division) and an advocate for empowering female investors. And one thing I’ve come to admire about Lori after seeing her in action with clients is that she doesn’t judge people and respects everyone’s situation.

What does her own portfolio look like? If you’ve come to know us, you’re all too aware that we pound the table on having a Strategic Asset Mix (your target breakdown of stocks and bonds). Lori’s SAM is 90/10. She uses our Builders Fund (mostly) and Founders Fund to get there. Her portfolio should in no way influence yours; rather, it’s meant to provide some colour on the fact that she’s a long-term investor comfortable taking on a higher level of risk.

Being a not-so-subtle interviewer, I threw two questions at her to get things rolling.

Quick, what do you like the most about this business, and what drives you crazy? Her responses: “The people, and the people.” Also not very subtle.

And then a follow-up question: How do you think the industry will evolve over the next 10, 20 years? She thought a little longer about this one. “More integration of personal finances (banking, savings) with investing. Technology will be driving the change — more automation. ‘Mass personalization’ is a term I am hearing more. Regardless, I think advice, attentive customer service and communication will always be needed. Our business is about relationships and trust and I don’t see AI [artificial intelligence] changing that significantly in the next 10-20 years.”

Like many of us, Lori’s been primarily working from home since COVID-19 reared its ugly head. I posed a few questions on the topic.

How has the adjustment been for you? Her reply: “I thrive on the energy of teams and people, so the biggest adjustment has been the lack of in-person interactions. Video calls aren’t the same. And for someone who talks a lot at work (guilty), I’ve had to learn different ways to communicate with (bother) my colleagues – technology is pretty helpful on this front.“

And what’s been the biggest challenge? She didn’t need to think hard about this one. “Trying to accommodate teenagers who sleep till noon and wake up instantly hungry.”

If you’ve got any questions for Lori of the investment kind, you can reach her via our toll-free number (1-888-888-3147), or you can schedule a time for a more in-depth phone or video call through the booking feature on our website. Don’t be shy, she’s a great resource and sounding board for all things investing. And she’s got a recipe for chilli-caramelized pork on cucumber salad that’s to die for.