Spotlight: Sprott Asset Management Award for Best Advisor in Alternative Solutions

Jesse Kaufman of Richardson GMP shares his memories of last year’s event, and his take on recent market trends

Spotlight: Sprott Asset Management Award for Best Advisor in Alternative Solutions
Just over six months ago, the Wealth Professional Awards took place at the Liberty Grand in Toronto, bringing together some of the most distinguished and respected members of Canada’s financial and investment industry.

Among those honored that night was Jesse Kaufman, portfolio manager at the Seidman Kaufman Group of Richardson GMP. The recipient of last year's Sprott Asset Management Award for Best Advisor in Alternative Solutions thinks of his prize as a point of humble pride.

“It felt great,” said Kaufman, the past chair and founder of the Richardson GMP Alternative Investment Group. “It was a nice, humbling honor in recognition of the work we do on behalf of our clients to source the best investment opportunities.”

While working in the service of clients went a long way toward earning Kaufman the honor, there were several other critical factors that got him to the top, not least of which was his home firm’s approach.

“I would say it’s extensive research and a commitment to the best education, so we’re constantly exploring new opportunities to further our education,” he said of his firm, which is among the largest independent wealth management boutiques in Canada. “Working in the investment community to make a better investing climate for everyone and that commitment to doing things the right way for the right reasons is what I think was recognized.”

Kaufman’s commitment to doing things right is undeniable: he is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA), Chartered Investment Manager (CIM), Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute (FCSI), and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary Professional (AIFP).  Bringing to bear his years working with top tax accountants and estate lawyers, as well as his experience as an associate business consultant to business advisors at Merrill Lynch Canada and CIBC Asset Management, he was also responsible for compiling the Richardson GMP AIG Due Diligence Checklist.

“We really believe in the work that we do and can empirically prove the validity of it,” he said.

That sense of commitment, for Kaufman, made his win that much sweeter. “It’s one thing for us to say that and to claim that we’re doing the best quality work, and it’s another thing to be recognized by an esteemed panel of independent judges,” he said. “Having the independent recognition of being top in the country at something is a good feeling. There’s some pride mixed with humility, I’d say, and appreciation, certainly.”

As the first advisor appointed to the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) Canada Board of Directors, Kaufman often writes and speaks on the subjects of portfolio construction and alternative investment. This year, he sees two developing trends.

“There’s an increasing recognition in Canada of something that’s been known in the US and Europe for a long time: the only way to [achieve stable and consistent results] is through the use of non-correlated alternative investments that don’t act like the markets… I think there’s an increasing willingness to learn and be open to different strategies, so our method of building a portfolio comprised of non-correlated assets that can produce results in any environment is being heard and more people are interested.

“The second thing, I would say, is that last year produced a number of events and results that nobody thought was going to happen. January was the worst start to a calendar year in the history of capital markets… which was followed by a very quick recovery, which was followed by Brexit, and then the Trump election, and then a huge market rally on the back of that Trump election… People had to see that volatility and uncertainty and [realize the] need to manage their wealth in a way that if things are good, they participate, and if things are bad, they’re insulated. I think last year’s events, and going into this year only emphasized and highlight how flighty our market can be.”

Kaufman certainly has a lot of expertise to draw on when analyzing industry trends, with fifteen years of wealth management experience behind him. Among those years spent mastering the markets, there have been moments of vindication – not least of which was last year’s Wealth Professional Awards.

“It was a tremendous event,” Kaufman said. “It was beautifully organized. The judges were as honorable a group as we could imagine, and there were a lot of industry leaders there. It was very nice to be included among them and certainly a huge honor to be acknowledged for the work that we do.”

This year, the Wealth Professional Awards will be held in the Liberty Grand in Toronto on June 1st. Nominations for the 2017 Sprott Asset Management Award for Best Advisor in Alternative Solutions can be submitted here.

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