In this interview, Dr. Nick Bontis answers questions regarding mutual funds, investing in disruptive technologies, blockchain, and Harvest Portfolios
SmallCapPower | September 14, 2018: SmallCapPower spoke recently with Dr. Nick Bontis to ask some questions involving current investment strategies and disruptive technologies. As a board member of Harvest Portfolios, he gave insights into the company’s investment philosophy and value proposition.
Q: Can you give us a brief personal background of your career? What initially drew you to business, securities, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)?
A: My educational background is primarily from the Ivey Business School at Western University where I completed my undergraduate, graduate, and PhD studies. I worked for several years at CIBC Securities Inc. where I gained exposure to the world of mutual funds and investment banking. It was an excellent experience for me as I was able to touch multiple areas of the bank from securities analysis, marketing, operations and compliance. My PhD dissertation focused on mutual funds where I examined 32 of Canada’s largest mutual funds and my passion for the subject has only grown from there.
Q: For those who don’t know you are on the board of directors for Harvest Portfolios Group. Could you walk us through the value proposition Harvest Portfolios offers to clients?
A: The strategic direction of Harvest Portfolios (www.harvestportfolios.com) is to avoid pursuing fads as an investment strategy. Instead, we follow an investment strategy like Warren Buffett in terms of focusing on long-term growth and stable income for the long-haul. Also, we emphasize establishing relationships with customers and intermediaries including our brokers and financial planners across the country. When examining our portfolio of products there are two industries that stand out: healthcare and blockchain. We believe that these are key sectors and should be included in everyone’s investment portfolio.
Q: Is there any advice you would give to young investors, who are just starting their professional careers?
A: When you are a young individual with many working years ahead of you the best strategy is to overweight your portfolio in equities. When you are young, and don’t have immediate family commitments or a large mortgage, you can afford to take risks and go for higher rewards. What we (Harvest Portfolios) are doing is trying to capture those high-reward investments by offering a healthy exposure to technology companies, especially blockchain, which should realize good returns in the next 10, 20, or 30 years. Additionally, it’s important for individuals to understand that blockchain and cryptocurrencies are very different things. We believe that blockchain will have an impact on a variety of businesses including retail, manufacturing and supply chain. For those interested in learning more, McMaster University is hosting a blockchain conference in January where I will be hosting speakers about blockchain and how the technology has the potential to be a disruptor (for further information see http://worldcongress.mcmaster.ca ).
Q: You will be speaking at the MoneyShow on Friday, September 14th. What are some of the themes you will be covering?
A: I believe that Canadian portfolios are underweighted in the technology sector. As an example, the TSX is currently weighted at about 3.5% in high tech. Meanwhile, the largest corporations in the world include Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft: all technology driven non-Canadian organizations. So how can Canadians expose themselves to investment in digital technologies? On Friday, I’ll be talking about some of the disruptive technologies pervasive in the past 100 years and how they’ve revolutionized how business operates. Then I’ll focus on why average investors should pay attention to disruptive technologies to earn excess returns. We (Harvest Portfolios) philosophically believe that blockchain is the next disruptive technology.
About Dr. Bontis:
Dr. Nick Bontis serves as a member of Harvest Portfolios’ Board of Directors. Nick is an award-winning tenured professor of strategic management at the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University. He received his PhD from the Ivey School of Business, Western University. His ground-breaking doctoral dissertation on the mutual fund industry went on to become the #1 selling thesis in Canada. He has won over a dozen major teaching awards and the faculty researcher of the year twice. He is also a 3M National Teaching Fellow, an exclusive honour only bestowed upon the top university professors in the country. Prior to his career in academia, Nick was an award-winning securities analyst at CIBC Securities Inc. Tom Stewart, former Editor of the Harvard Business Review and FORTUNE Magazine, recognizes him as a “pioneer and one of the world’s real intellectual capital experts” (for further information see www.NickBontis.com)
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