PCMA: Portland Investment Counsel Inc. has been a consistent and generous supporter of the PCMA. With your new role as PCMA Chair, how would you like to see this relationship develop?
LAFERRIERE: The PCMA has a long history, and today, we stand on the shoulders of all of those who came before us. Portland is pleased to have played a role in the evolution and growth of the PCMA because we believe that the aims and goals of the PCMA are very important to our society and to each citizen.
Indeed, I am impressed by the dedication, resiliency and creativity of the Founding Partners, the Premier Partners, the Capital Partners, the Affiliate Partners, the Executive and the Board, and the PCMA staff and volunteers. We owe a debt of gratitude to the people and the organizations that have supported and continue to the PCMA.
We at Portland will continue to support the PCMA as it grows and expands its membership.
PCMA: Do you have any specific aims for the PCMA over the next 12 months?
LAFERRIERE: The exempt market plays a critical wealth creation role in Canadian society. This role is vitally important but is misunderstood by many of stakeholders. The PCMA plays a vital role in speaking with one national voice to the public, to capital market participants and to the regulatory community. Education, policy development and advocacy are strengths of the PCMA, which will continue to grow.
Additionally, an organization is the composite of its members. I aim to enhance the “client experience” for our members by looking for ways to deliver on our outstanding value proposition.
The other goal I have is to expand on our membership. All exempt market participants should be members of the PCMA. Size matters, and as we demonstrate that we speak for a cast of thousands, we are able to represent our stakeholders and help shape policy development at all levels of government.
PCMA: How did your career in private capital markets start and what led you to this path?
LAFERRIERE: I have been involved in the securities industry in since 1986, but it was not until 2013 when the Chair of Portland Holdings, Mr. Michael Lee-Chin, outlined to me that Canadians were getting a raw deal from the traditional securities industry. Until recently, retail investors only had access to public equities, public bonds and public mutual funds – yet that is not how the most successful investors, be it a pension plan like CPP, OMERS, family offices, etc. create wealth. These successful investors create wealth through a combination of both public and private investments. Indeed, most people create their wealth privately first and then go to the public the markets. Portland and its affiliates are dedicated to the democratization of quality private investments for the retail public. We believe that everyone, where suitable, should have access to exempt market investments and that a thriving exempt ecosystem of issuers, dealers and clients is good for everyone.
PCMA: What do you love the most about your current organization? What makes it different from other firms in the same space?
LAFERRIERE: I have been with Mr. Lee-Chin and his Canadian wealth management organization, in one way, shape or form (except for a brief 3-year stint) since 1998. Our organization is comprised of Portland Investment Counsel Inc. (IFM, PM and EMD), Mandeville Private Client Inc. (IIROC) and Mandeville Insurance Services Inc. (FSCO). Additionally, Mr. Lee-Chin has interests offshore in Bermuda and the Caribbean as well as globally. What separates us from others is the bench strength of the management within the larger group and the ability to draw on that bench strength in order to form new ideas, partnerships and concepts. Our group has been able to put together a number of creative and innovative products and provide access to these products to retail investors.
However, having a good idea is worthless unless you are able to act on it. To paraphrase, “a vision without action is called a hallucination”. What separates us from other organizations is our ability to act. With Mr. Lee-Chin, we have the resources (technical capital, human capital and plain old capital) to incubate good ideas and bring them to reality.
PCMA: Please tell us briefly about your role in your company.
LAFERRIERE: I am the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the Canadian wealth management activities. I am responsible for the determination, communication and execution of our strategy, overseeing all aspects of the day-to-day activities (with the exception of portfolio management).
*Part two of this exclusive interview continues next week where Laferriere reveals a Michael Lee-Chin mantra that guarantees investment success and how the PCMA’s advocacy is worth it’s weight in gold*