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Wealth Professional Article featuring Maili Wong, CFA

Leading Portfolio Manager Maili Wong featured in Wealth Professional magazine

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Embracing volatility

While some portfolio managers may fear volatile times, Maili Wong sees them as an opportunity to buy companies on sale and enhance quality

 

This issue of Wealth Professional Magazine spotlights 8 of the country’s leading portfolio managers and their pandemic-proof strategies.

Click here to read this 2 page article on Maili Wong’s philosophy on embracing volatility and managing risk throughout market cycles and access the full digital magazine by Wealth Professional.

Wealth Professional Magazine article Embracing Volatility

Wealth Professional Magazine article Embracing Volatility

The challenges that COVID-19 has created for many in the wealth management industry is just another to add to the list. Yet not everyone views the challenges the same. For Maili Wong, senior portfolio manager, director and EVP at Wellington-Altus Private Wealth, she has seen the volatility as opportunity and is now upgrading positions in her portfolios because of it.

Wong entered the industry in 2000 and became a discretionary portfolio manager in 2012 as the practice she was part of, with her father, was not only transitioning to her but from a more transactional one to discretionary. “I had grown up with a portfolio management background through schooling in the UBC portfolio management foundation program. We were taught by institutional money managers how to manage a portfolio as institutional managers would and were held to those standards. So, I started my career learning how to manage on an institutional basis.”

In addition to her education, Wong also gain more exposure to different techniques while working for a global management firm in New York. After she obtained her CFA, she returned to Vancouver to begin working as a portfolio manager.

“I saw an opportunity to merge this global institutional portfolio management style with high-net-worth individuals and families. The discretionary management style is a win/win and can liberate both investors and advisors to do their best work. Now, it is the only way we would look to do what we do.”

Wong describes her approach as three-fold. She takes a scientific, disciplined approach; embraces volatility; and globally diversifies. “I call it smart diversification. The idea is to include as many different types of investment, that behave differently under different scenarios, so you are diversified across asset classes, geographies and different industries.”

With one of her pillars being embracing volatility, 2020 presented many opportunities for Wong. She notes that because it is rooted in her approach, it is something that her clients understand. While other portfolio managers’ clients may have been panicking, because of the communication and processes Wong and her team had in place, it allowed them to focus more on opportunities than managing client emotions. “When markets dropped, we looked to pick up quality companies on sale or switch to other low prices and upgrade the quality of the portfolio. We talk about opportunities like this out of the gate when we set the asset mix and we ask how much risk clients can tolerate.

“We talk about how, in any given year, the market can pull back 10%. When you set that mindset, it creates calmness because clients remember what we talked about. When it happens, they know we are taking steps on their behalf to upgrade the portfolio quality.”

Before the pandemic, Wong says she was already positioning the portfolios more defensively, focusing on companies with solid cash flows, good balance sheets and low paying dividends compared to overall profits. When the markets sold in March, Wong sought to buy into quality companies on sale or those with strong growth prospects. “We added to positions benefiting from the work-from-home, digital way of living lives. We picked up some technology names that had sold off, but that we felt would benefit from people working from home. Even in the retail space we looked at some companies that shifted to be more online. Ultimately, as discretionary managers, our clients hire us to make those day-to-day informed decisions to set up them up for long term success.”

Part of setting up that long-term success is taking advantage of all the tools available. For Wong, that includes passive investment as well. “As long as they have a good process to give you exposure to areas of the market you want to have all the time. You must be mindful, when using passive investment tools, that the construction is owning what you want to own, market cap or equal weighted. Passive tools can be very effective, if built the right way.”

Wong saw 2020 as more of an opportunity than a challenge but it comes back to her underlying philosophy. She says that establishing and sticking to that philosophy is one of the toughest things portfolio mangers need to deal with.

“I would say the biggest challenge is making sure you have an investment philosophy and stick with. When we get times of challenge, like we have seen, portfolio managers just buying the stocks they know or who don’t have a strong disciplined process, can be affected by the emotional aspect of the volatility. I always say it is about the process, not just the outcome. You want to make sure that you have the discipline to stick with and see through your process.”

Having that process is one thing Wong says will create a successful portfolio manager. Yet there are a few other qualities she outlines. “A good portfolio manager is humble, hungry and smart. Humble being that they can recognize they are not smarter than the market. You will make investments that don’t turn out, so being humble enough to cut losses and move on, take corrective action, and not let your ego get involved. Hungry, meaning you are always looking to improve and hone your skills. And smart, by investing in your own competence.”

 

Article written by Darren Matte, Wealth Professional Magazine November 2020 edition

Maili Wong, Named One of B.C.’S Most Influential Women by BC Business Magazine

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Vancouver, BC – We are pleased to announce that Maili Wong, CFA, CFP, FEA, First Vice-President and Portfolio Manager, and Best-selling author of Smart Risk: Invest like the Wealthy to achieve a Work-Optional Life has been named one of B.C.’s Most Influential Women in Finance by BCBusiness magazine.

In the March 2019 issue of BCBusiness, the fifth annual B.C.’s Most Influential Women feature honours dozens of female leaders who work in finance.

“I am humbly honoured to receive this recognition from BCBusiness, and offer congratulations to all the other incredible women for their contributions as leaders in finance. Thank you to BCBusiness for this recognition as we continue to inspire generations to lead.” says Maili. 

To celebrate their achievements, BCBusiness is holding an inaugural networking and panel discussion event for women in business on March 7, 2019. For more information or media inquiries, please contact the Smart Risk Team at [email protected]

 

Introducing: Smart Risk Magazine – Winter 2018/2019 Edition

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I’m pleased to share with you the 2nd issue of “Smart Risk Magazine” – a lifestyle magazine about wealth matters.

This magazine brings thought leadership articles from across Canada and a variety of industries and contributing partners together to inspire readers to think differently about risk…and ultimately, empower readers to make better financial decisions and create lasting financial freedom.

You can now access it instantly HERE for your free digital copy, or contact our Smart Risk team ([email protected]) for a paper copy.

Most recently, I was honoured to be named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100TM.  When asked what does “powerful” mean to me?  My response, “powerful” means “impactful”.  I hope by curating high quality financial educational content through platforms like this Smart Risk Magazine, I can inspire more women and men to turn challenges into a source of strength, and find in their vulnerability the courage to achieve a deeply-rooted state of financial security.  And ultimately, by relieving us from financial limitations, we are free to create exponential positive impact!

Don’t miss our health and wellness tips like overcoming the “human energy crisis” by learning how to manage stress, or how “grit will take you farther than talent”, how to become “irresistible”, and how to change an unhealthy mindset into a perspective that can ultimately create a happy and purposeful life… and more!

I invite you to continue the conversation with me, and I welcome you to ask any questions, share your feedback with us, or join the Smart Risk community by emailing me at [email protected].  We look forward to hearing from you.

Warmly,

Maili Wong, CFA, CFP, FEA

www.smartriskinvesting.com

Bestselling Author of Smart Risk: Invest Like the Wealthy to Achieve A Work-Optional Life (available at Amazon.ca)

My Unforgettable Navy Experience – Lessons Learned

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Written and as experienced by: Maili Wong

I recently joined the Royal Canadian Navy as part of the Canadian Leaders at Sea (CLaS) program. I spent 4 days aboard a naval ship and it changed my perspective forever!

Picture this: 12 leading Canadian business women are invited to leave their stilettos at home and join the Canadian Navy aboard the HMCS Ottawa warship, stepping outside their comfort zones and into the foreign lifestyle of a military warrior. Some of my highlights included:

  • Sleeping in tri-level military bunk beds complete with seatbelts for rough seas
  • Surviving the rockiest night at sea, highlighted by 4 meter swells while sailing at 24 knots 100 miles offshore California to Esquimalt, BC
  • Participating in military surface firing exercises, Man Overboard exercises and “battle problem” demonstrations
  • Be-friending a Naval Tactical Operations Group Leader (i.e. “Navy Seal”) and taking a selfie with him while fully-loaded in military weaponry
  • Within 45 minutes of landing after the 4 day open sea adventure, cleaning up and dining at a formal reception at the official Government House in Victoria, with the British Columbia
  • Lieutenant-Governor Janet Austin, the senior Canadian Naval leadership and Commander of the Pacific Fleet

Would you believe it? Well, it happened, and I’m grateful to share with you the lessons I learned from this incredible life adventure. Upon reflection, this experience has helped me be a better mom, friend, leader and trusted strategic advisor to my clients, by enriching my perspective after “walking the walk” and after gaining a deeper understanding about how to help others find stability amidst turbulent situations. It has also helped me gain a new perspective on how to build a stronger and more deeply rooted foundation, upon which to build sustainable growth.

Read More

Planning a Wedding on a Budget? CBC Radio Interview with Maili Wong

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Planning a Wedding on a Budget? CBC Radio Interview with Maili Wong

Often our clients are asked to help cover the costs of their children’s weddings. With the average Canadian wedding cost rising each year, (to nearly $25,000 according to the Globe and Mail and WeddingBells survey) the question becomes, how much should one spend on a wedding?
This week, Maili was interviewed on CBC Radio for her expert opinion and she shared the following tips:

  • Initiate a “money talk” as a couple to set realistic goals and budget for the wedding. According to a CIBC Survey, over 40% of young couples state that financial stress weighs on their relationship.  Minimize the stress, and stick within a realistic budget.
  • Be creative about saving money on wedding expenses that have little long-term impact!
  • Consider the alternative uses for the money – i.e. saving in a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) or Registered Retirement Savings Account (RRSP) or towards a down payment on a home.  For example, $25k invested at 5% can double to more than $50k within 15 years.
  • Save and invest the money for high-priority uses in the future, like moving expenses or higher education costs.

Maili Wong is Redefining Retirement with OPAL Discovery Centre Interview

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Redefining Retirement

Achieving and sustaining a work-optional retirement is possible. Maili was invited by Opal Element Lifestyle Retirement to share with their community on how to achieve and sustain a liberated, quality lifestyle, and have no worries about how long the money can last, or whether anything can be left to pass on to future generations. Read More

Maili Wong Feature in Kerrisdale Insider: Smart Risks are Her Forté

Maili Wong Feature in Kerrisdale Insider: Smart Risks are Her Forté

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Maili Wong was recently featured in the Kerrisdale Insider where she shared her insights on taking smart risks for longterm financial success and stability. Visit the full article on the Kerrisdale Insider to see how two life-changing experiences helped Maili excel as a Investment Advisor, and go on to publish her 2016 Amazon Best Selling Book, Smart Risk. Click here to read the full article. Read More

Maili Wong on Moolala​:​ ​Money Made Simple ​with Bruce Sellery

Maili Wong on Moolala​:​ ​Money Made Simple ​with Bruce Sellery

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Are you ready to take the steps towards financial freedom?

Click here to listen to Maili Wong on Moolala​: Money Made Simple with Bruce Sellery to discuss what Smart Risk truly is. Learn how to identify false financial diversification, and how to make smarter choices with investing and saving in order to reach your financial goals.

Learn how to create a beneficial and safe financial plan by listening to the Moolala Podcast here.

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