Brett Wilson interview – 03/05 – Canoe Financial

Brett Wilson interview 2011

Few days ago I had the great pleasure of chatting with Brett Wilson, Calgary entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. Here is the video Brett Wilson interview – 03/05 – Canoe Financial (see below for interview transcript). [Click her for links to watch all five parts of the interview series.]

Kempton: I understand you are the chairman of Canoe Financial. Are you involved in the day-to-day operation?

Brett: Canoe is currently one of the top 20 mutual fund companies/asset managers in Canada. We’ve already got over two billion dollars in the system. One of the most impressive startups that I have ever seen. The company has really been running for 10 years. I stepped in as chairman and allocated about a day a week of my time to marketing, PR and development.

Its a team of ex-Fidelity, ex-EnerVest players. We’ve got a dozen people with more than 20 years of experiences, we are not a one man band, its not the Wilson fund. Its the Canoe fund. Its something I am very proud to be associated with. We are managing wealth in Canada, for the benefit of Canadians.

Our investment thesis is based on Bob Haber, one of our key portfolio managers, he has a book call Go Canada. The investment thesis is global growth will spur demand for commodities and resources that are common to North America. Resources including services that are common to North America. But within the North American complex, Canada will be the prime benefactor.

Kempton: You have a substantial investment in Canoe itself. Are you involved in selecting some of the investments within the mutual funds? 

Brett: No. We hire external portfolio managers. We have the ability to hire and engage the best of the best. We have an exclusive with Bob Harber, who is one of the top rated, ranked, and renown investment managers/portfolio managers in North America. He was managing, at one time, over $50 billions of Canadian equities. So to put another few hundred million to work every month is going to be pretty easy for him.

Kempton: What kind of style of investing was he using? Was it value investing or growth?

Brett: Bob has got a very interesting metrics. He does bottom-up analysis of companies, and he does top-down analysis of industries, and where they meet is where his propriety model look. He looks at stock performance relative to commodity performances. He got his own propriety co-relation model. Particularly, he is a huge bull on commodities but you also have to know when to buy. [Kempton: the cyclical nature …] There is a short term cycle and there is a long term bull. So he got to trade the short term cycle but invest for the long term so the bull market …

Kempton: With a focus in Canadian companies?

Brett: The focus is on Canadian companies. In fact, our funds are typically going to be more than 80% Canadian. We will keep the flexibility to do US. Because, for example, there may be an off-shore drilling contractor that works. The right price, the right investment thesis but we don’t have any in Canada, but we would like one in the portfolio, so we will turn to Diamond Drilling, just to pick a name. The large cap energy stocks, the large cap gold stocks, they are all domestic Canadian opportunities. [Kempton: The likes of Encana, Suncor, or those …] Absolutely, Goldcorp.

Note: This interview has been condensed and edited.

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