NORMAN LEVINE

NORMAN LEVINE

Managing director
PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT

Years in the industry: 41
Years as a PM: 35
Industry accreditations: CFA
Typical clients: Those with a minimum of $1 million in assets

With more than 40 years of investment experience, 35 of which have been spent as a portfolio manager, Norman Levine has seen countless bull and bear markets come and go. For that reason, his investment strategy doesn’t hinge on where the markets may be in six months’ time. Rather, it’s about selecting the right companies, which currently means looking abroad. “We have more money outside of Canada right now because there is more opportunity there,” he says. “The Canadian market is so dominated by financials and resource stocks that there’s not a lot left after that.”

Across the border, stocks retain their allure for Levine, despite their high valuations. The market continues to ascend, but many observers believe that won’t continue for much longer. Such predictions don’t concern Levine too much. “Even though we think US stocks are somewhat overvalued and a correction may be in order, we are not moving out of US stocks,” he says. “We are starting to look more into Europe for value. We don’t invest by industry or by country, only by company wherever we find value.”

When it comes to his selection process for equities, timing is everything for Levine. ‘Buy low and sell high’ sounds pretty simplistic in theory, but in reality it takes a great deal of effort to find undervalued companies with good potential. “A recent example for us would be the French drug company Sanofi, which trades on the NYSE,” he says. “We thought it was undervalued because like most drug companies, it faced a patent cliff where a lot of their drugs had gone off patent.”

The pharmaceutical multinational was in the process of rebuilding its pipeline through new discoveries and acquisition, and Levine was able to buy in at a low point when sentiment was poor. Since then, the company’s moves have been reflected in increased stock prices, which has paid off nicely for Levine.

When it comes to finding such opportunities, Levine doesn’t have a magic formula. “It involves using screens to some extent, but for the most part it is lots and lots of reading,” he says. “The most successful people in our business read a lot.”

“We have more money outside of Canada right now because there is more opportunity there. The Canadian market is so dominated by financials and resource stocks that there’s not a lot left after that”
 

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  • Portfolio Management
  • 4 King Street West, Suite 805 Toronto, Canada M5H 1B6

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