Why black belt ETF champion moved to an independent

WP Awards winner explains switch to Raymond James and her passion for investment vehicle

Why black belt ETF champion moved to an independent

Mary Hagerman is calm. She’s a black belt in karate, practiced in the art of control. She detaches her emotions from the task at hand and, as an advisor, has built an investment strategy that does the same. Hagerman’s firm belief in ETFs as the perfect tool to take the emotion out of investing won her the ETF Champion award at last year’s WP Awards.

Hagerman’s had a big year since winning the award. She’s strengthened her personal brand, continued her ETF education efforts, and made the switch from Desjardins to Raymond James. Hagerman told WP a little bit about her commitment to ETFs and why she’s gone independent.

“First and foremost, I am between the client and their portfolio,” Hagerman said, “I ensure that I am doing the necessary work to stay objective and control my emotions as the markets go up and down. I communicate with [clients] in a fashion that keeps them reassured that we are not letting emotions enter the investment equation.”

ETFs are Hagerman’s favourite tool to ensure that. Passive ETFs, in particular, offer a way to stay invested long term, demonstrating how clients win when they keep money in the market. She’s a firm believer in the benefit of staying in capital markets over time, using a well-constructed portfolio with solid asset allocation and investments free from the emotional whims of an active manager.

She’s taken her ETF evangelism past individual clients. Hagerman is an educator, advocate, and author, always extolling the virtue of ETFs as a means of achieving an objective investment strategy. In 2016 Hagerman published a book The Black Belt Investor in which she shared how a calm, controlled, martial-arts inspired approach can win in capital markets. She’s continued to build her personal brand as an educator and advocate. That was some of why she made the switch to Raymond James Ltd.

“My presentations and writing have attracted people outside of my firm,” Hagerman said. “Actually I was invited to transition to Raymond James, where I continue to serve my clients as a portfolio manager.

“They're supporting me as I get my message out there and develop my brand as an expert in financial anxiety.”

She typifies the switch from Desjardins to an independent firm as a “move to” rather than a “move from”. Raymond James offered her the freedom to build a personal brand. They were excited about the public work Hagerman was doing and ready to support her.

“The entrepreneurial spirit of an independent firm like Raymond James is very compatible with the type of interests that someone like me has,” Hagerman said. “It facilitates the creative process.”

Hagerman believes she won the ETF Champion award for going “above and beyond” in her ETF advocacy. She thinks this year’s winner should be someone who is active in the ETF world who goes above and beyond the call of duty, educating people, making creative decisions, and doing their utmost to demonstrate the benefits of ETFs, not just to advisors, but to clients too.

“I'm really looking forward to hearing who's going to be the ETF champion this year,” Hagerman said. “I'm looking at my trophy right now and I'm very happy to have it beside me as I do my work.”

The 2020 WP Awards take place on May 28 at the Liberty Grand in Toronto. Nominations are open until February 25, 2020, so don’t delay, if you think you know an ETF champion worthy of the award nominate them here.  To buy a ticket or book a table, click here.