by Scott Ronalds
Gord O’Reilly, a senior Portfolio Manager at Fiera Capital (the manager of the Steadyhand Equity Fund) and the key decision maker for our fund, will be retiring from Fiera at the end of the year. He has been at the helm of the Equity Fund since its inception in 2007.
Gord was a founding partner of CGOV Asset Management, the firm we first hired to manage the fund. CGOV was acquired by Fiera in 2018, with Gord staying on as lead manager of our fund since the acquisition.
Effective January 1, Nessim Mansoor will take over as the lead manager. Nessim is head of the Fiera Canada Large Cap Equity Team, which Gord is a senior member of. The two have been working closely together over the past few years and share a like-minded investment philosophy. The rest of the team includes two other portfolio managers, Nicholas Smart and Tony Rizzi, and five equity analysts. Nessim, Nicholas, and Tony all joined Fiera in 2016. They previously worked together at Empire Life and have built a successful track record as a team.
The mandate for the fund will not change. As a reminder, its long-term investment parameters are as follows:
- North American focused. Emphasis is on Canadian and U.S. stocks, complemented by some overseas equities.
- Position sizes typically range from 3% to 6%.
- Annual portfolio turnover is anticipated to be less than 20%.
The fund is expected to hold 20 to 30 stocks going forward. This is a slight deviation from Gord’s approach, whereby he wouldn’t own more than 25 securities.
A transition plan has been formalized between Gord and Nessim and will be executed in a way that considers the tax ramifications of any portfolio turnover. To be clear, we don’t anticipate an overhaul of the fund. Gord and Nessim have a similar view on many of our existing Canadian holdings, and we expect this part of the portfolio to remain largely intact. We do expect some changes, however, on the foreign equity side. Nessim likes a few U.S. and global businesses that we do not currently own, and we anticipate they will replace a few existing holdings.
With the collaboration that already exists between Gord and Nessim and the established investment process of the broader team, we believe this transition will be seamless and will continue to provide investors with attractive returns going forward.
We have come to know Nessim and his philosophy well over the past five years (since Fiera’s purchase of CGOV) and believe he and his team are talented investors. Salman (our Chief Investment Officer) and Tom (our Chair) continuously evaluate other investment managers to ensure that we have world-class investors overseeing your money, and they are confident that Nessim is the right manager for the Equity Fund.
Gord has been a great partner of ours since we launched Steadyhand. Under his leadership, the Equity Fund has achieved a first quartile return over the past 15 years (meaning it ranks in the top 25% of its peer group). We wish him the best in retirement. At the same time, we’re excited about the skill set that Nessim and his team bring to the table.
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