Director of private wealth management

Years in the industry: 35
Years as a PM: 31
Industry accreditations: CFA
Typical clients: Individuals and families of all types

As the director of private wealth management at Genus Capital, Leslie Cliff puts a high priority on retirement planning – and given Canada’s aging population, her expertise in this area is a valuable commodity. A 35-year veteran of the business, Cliff has observed plenty of change in the wealth management industry, and not all necessarily for the better. “The banks have changed,” she says. “They are incredibly aggressive and push their staff hard to find cash in their systems and get that cash invested in some bank product.”

The people seeking her services have also changed; they now have other considerations beyond simply earning returns on their investments. “They are better informed and have lots of options,” Cliff says. “They want their investments to match their personal values – therefore, fossil fuels, tobacco and poorly governed companies are out for some clients.”

As far as her investment strategy for 2017 goes, Cliff believes in proceeding with caution, a position that’s already reflected in her portfolios. “We have cut back equity positions to a benchmark weight from slightly overweight – we are selling emerging countries and the US to buy in Europe,” she says. “The low-interest-rate environment has pushed us to higher-yielding stocks and corporate bonds and mortgages.”

On the topic of regulation, Cliff finds common ground with many of the other portfolio managers featured here, specifically in her belief that CRM2 was more of a Band-Aid solution than a true cure. “Before, clients were very frustrated because they couldn’t find their fees,” she says. “Now they only know about some of their fees, but they are being told all fees are being disclosed, which is sadly not true. It’s disappointing for the industry and a lost opportunity.”

“Clients are better informed and have lots of options. They want their investments to match their personal values”

Company Information

  • Genus Capital Management
  • 860 - 980 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 0C8

Contact Information