Thane Stenner reveals what keeps his wealth management practice strong even in weak market conditions
This article was produced in partnership with Wealth Professional.
“I love bear markets, quite candidly, because it allows us to step forward and stand out,” says Thane Stenner, one of Wealth Professional’s Top 50 Advisors in 2023, about declining share prices and cautious investor sentiment over the past year.
Such a statement from someone who manages portfolios worth billions of dollars may seem surprising, but it reflects an industry expert’s confidence in his team’s ability to overcome any market downturn. After all, the senior portfolio manager and senior wealth advisor at Stenner Wealth Partners+ (CG Wealth Management) has steered his business through both bear and bull markets during his three decades in the profession.
What distinguishes Stenner’s practice is “keeping the clients’ interests in mind, first and foremost,” he says in this interview with Wealth Professional. Accustomed to working with sophisticated investors who have high attention to detail, he and his team are “intensely focused on the service model and try to proactively always be ahead of the curve from the point of view of what [the clients] might be needing”.
This approach has inspired word-of-mouth referrals and introductions, leading to the growth of Stenner Wealth Partners+’ client base and assets under management despite recent challenges in the industry at large.
[“We’re] very, very fortunate. I think our assets this last year were up over 50%. So, we’re very blessed when that came about from six or seven new clients. We only take on maybe eight new clients a year because it’s a very exclusive practice,” Stenner explains.
Amid dreary forecasts for the Canadian economy in 2023, Stenner is prepared for a difficult environment that he says may last another 10 to 18 months.
“We’ve got a shopping list, well researched, where we’re kind of knowing the things we want to buy at cheaper levels. Currently, our discretionary portfolio [is at] 55% cash, which is unusually high for us,” he says. This indicates an “extremely defensive” strategy founded on advanced research and awareness of what to invest in long before the panic phase occurs.
“What we want to basically do is be very ready and tactical and opportunistic when things get to what I summarize in a non-technical phrase as the puke phase,” that is, a situation where fear is at an extraordinarily high level. Stenner expects corporate earnings to disappoint for several months, but sees a “really strong buying opportunity” for investors.
For the rest of the year, Stenner Wealth Partners+ aims to boost its clients’ portfolios with long-term bonds, and is looking into commodities, technology stocks, and publicly traded REITs. The 16-member advisory team will also continue its hands-on service through customized plans for a clientele that includes entrepreneurs and family offices with philanthropic activities.
With regard to building client relationships, Stenner’s perspective goes beyond financial factors. Personality and values fit is also a part of the equation.
“We want to deal with really wealthy people, but we also want to deal with people that are really good [and] family oriented,” he says.