We do not have a strict minimum for client account size. We view the preoccupation of many in the financial services industry on focusing solely on the largest accounts to be at best egotistical and at worst against the interests of one’s own business- our larger client accounts start out as smaller client accounts!
A typical new prospective client comes from the recommendation of our existing clients – we never pay for referrals. We will typically meet at no obligation one or more times with a client interested in our services to explore whether the client’s investment priorities match with the services we are skilled at providing – namely, long-term, conservative management of investment portfolios. If we feel that a possible client would not be well-served by our services we will inform them – we have found that our services have a strong appeal to a specific set of clients, but by no means everyone.
After some deliberation, the prospective client will decide to set up an investment portfolio with us. This portfolio will use a nationally recognized, mutually acceptable brokerage as safekeeping institution, with John S. Keenlyside & Company Ltd. as Portfolio Managers. We meet again with the client to complete the necessary paperwork, and also to further articulate the client’s particular investment goals (in industry-speak, the know your client details). These facts about you are crucial to how we set up an investment portfolio for you, and we keep on file, monitor and update them where needed. We also expect that our clients will let us know as their circumstances evolve or change.
After the account is set up, assets are transferred in, either in cash, or in existing securities from the client’s previous financial institution. We will then purchase or divest securities with full trading authorization on your behalf. This is known as a “Power of Attorney – Trading”. This is the extent of our authority over your account, only the purchase and sale of securities.
As our relationship continues, we will monitor and adjust both the mixture of and the individual list of securities in your portfolio to account for changes in your investment needs, market conditions, economic scenarios and the like. At any time on this process we welcome client feedback – we’re always accessible!
You will receive several different correspondences from both us and the safekeeping institution. They will send you trade notifications (they charge a modest commission for each trade we execute through them), and monthly statements outlining positions held and activity in your account. (If there is no activity in your account, they send them out at least quarterly). The safekeeping institution also collects dividends and bond interest.
You will also receive from us once per quarter a summary of your portfolio positions, including cost bases, market values and projected portfolio income. We also send you a summary of the fee you paid to us, which is calculated as a fixed percentage of the assets you have under management with us. The percentage never changes, and this is the only source of our compensation. Depending on whether your account is registered or not, our fee may be tax-deductible. We also include a letter which outlines our thoughts on the past quarter and investment outlook for the months ahead.
At year end, you will also receive income and capital gains summaries from the safekeeping institution which you will use to file taxes.
We welcome discussions at any time with our clients; the number of meetings or conversations we have is completely up to them; some prefer a monthly call, others prefer to be left alone!
We pride ourselves on managing distinct portfolios tailored for each individual client’s specific circumstances, they are not “cookie cutter” constructions, and each client is far more than a number to us. Since 1973, we have found that this close relationship with each client has led to better investment results and peace of mind for our clients.