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Our Approach

The world of finance has seen dramatic change, disruption and innovation over the past quarter-century, with three key factors standing out as most consequential for Canadian investors:

  1. Our more diverse, open, complicated and growing economy.
  2. The current all-time low interest rate environment.
  3. The need to build innovative and managed portfolios while keeping fees as low as possible.

The traditional 60% equity, 40% fixed income approach to asset allocation served many investors very well in the past, but the double-digit fixed income yields this approach was built on are now a long-distant memory. Creating and preserving wealth for today’s investor requires a more flexible approach – one that recognizes the realities of today’s market environment and leverages innovative insights and solutions to help investors navigate the tectonic shift in the investment landscape.

Our approach begins with understanding two very important things about you:

  1. Your ability to take risk. Also known as risk capacity, this refers to the level of risk that you could reasonably take given your asset level, employment income, financial goals and obligations, investment time horizon, and other circumstances.
  2. Your willingness to take risk. Also known as risk tolerance, this is the psychological or emotional dimension of risk. Essentially, it’s the amount of risk you can take while still being able to sleep at night.

Some investors have a risk capacity that is significantly lower than the level of risk they are willing to take, while others enjoy circumstances that give them a risk capacity that’s much higher than the level of risk they can emotionally tolerate. Our goal is to get a clear understanding of your risk capacity and tolerance, and then build your plan around whichever of the two entails the lower level of risk.


We offer four model portfolios, each built with a specific risk level in mind:

Aggressive Growth. Comprised mostly of equities, this portfolio has the highest allocation to risk assets. This option is suitable if you have a very high risk capacity and the ability to tolerate large swings in the value of your investments. Since markets have historically trended upward over the long term, holding investments with the most growth potential over an extended time horizon will maximize the return on your portfolio.

High Growth. This option is appropriate for clients who seek strong growth potential with a more moderate level of volatility. It’s suitable if you’re not currently relying on your investment portfolio to supplement your lifestyle and if you can ride out the downside in challenging markets. Active management helps maximize returns in up markets while research-driven risk management mitigates the severity of drawdowns when market conditions become unfavourable.

Balanced Growth. This is our middle-of-the-road portfolio. You’re not extremely conservative, but preservation of principal is still important. You’re likely drawing from your portfolio to supplement your lifestyle so income is important, but you would also like to see some growth over the long term. This is our most common portfolio for clients who are near or in retirement.

Balanced. Our most conservative portfolio. You have a low tolerance for risk and put a heavy emphasis on preservation of principal. You don’t mind having your funds put away somewhere a little safer to ensure that if market conditions are poor, you won’t see a significant drop in value. While the higher allocation to bonds will not provide as much income in the current low interest rate environment, it will also not be as volatile during unfavourable times.

Our Investment Process

Building a well-diversified portfolio that answers the challenges of today’s complex market environment requires a multi-faceted, team-based approach. Each member of the PWM Private Wealth Counsel team brings a unique perspective and background, and sits on internal committees and subcommittees to manage a segment of the portfolio that aligns with their core strengths and expertise.

Subcommittee members are responsible for their respective sections of the portfolio and report back to the full advisory group. Our approach ensures we are taking full advantage of the collective knowledge and experience of the group, while also benefitting from the expertise of each individual member. This adds meaningful value to the portfolios, which translates into greater wealth-creation potential for our clients.