Since 2005, Invico Capital has distinguished itself with a record of performance that's weathered multiple economic downturns, including the Global Financial Crisis and the historic COVID pandemic. Its flagship fund’s diversified exposure to alternative asset classes, as well as its finger-on-the-pulse style of communicating with advisors, are points of pride – but those only scratch the surface. In this exclusive interview with Wealth Professional, Invico's president and CEO unpack how their firm has found success in the Canadian alternatives space.
James Burton 00:00:00
Hi everyone and welcome to this WP TV special. My name is James Burton, managing editor of wealth professional Canada. And today I'm delighted to welcome Allison Taylor, CEO and Portfolio Manager, and Jason Brooks, President and Portfolio Manager at Invico Capital Corporation. Jason, Allison, thanks for joining us here.
Jason Brooks 00:00:26
Allison Taylor 00:00:27
Thank you, James, Happy to be here.
James Burton 00:00:29
Now, this year Invigo won the alternative investment solutions provider of the Year at the WP awards, many congratulations on that victory. And there's no better time, of course, to delve into the reasons why they've been so successful. So kick things off, Jason, in your opinion, what separates a top solutions provider like yourselves from the pack?
Jason Brooks 00:00:53
James, I mean, for us, we've been around for a long time. So the first thing would be longevity. I think, you know, in winning this award, it's a demonstration that while we are a niche provider in the Canadian market of alternative solutions, we have a long-term track record. The firm was founded in 2005. Our signature fund, Invico Diversified Income Fund, started really in earnest in 2013. So we're coming up on almost 10 years of track record and that fund alone and when you look at the alternatives landscape, and you look outside of real estate, it's relatively lightly populated, particularly in Canada. So I, you know, I think this award is a function of surviving it through numerous business cycles, demonstrating sustainable returns, and having a unique strategy that I don't think has, is really available in the market outside of Invico.
James Burton 00:01:56
Nice, Jason. Allison, what do you think, enables you to keep your finger on the pulse of what advisors want?
Allison Taylor 00:02:04
Yeah, James, we're really focused on constant communication and astute listening with our advisor base. So that's really coming first and foremost, from our sales team, who are really feet on the street day in, day out, they're reaching out meeting with advisors, listening to what they have to say what they're looking for in the market. So we have six sales team members across the country. And that's what they're doing on a regular basis, as well, Jason and I are very active in meeting with these advisors to understand their needs, and what their investors are looking for. And then as well, conferences and industry events are something that we do throughout the year to make sure we're staying close to the advisor base and understanding what they're looking for, ultimately, for their investors.
James Burton 00:02:43
Back to you, Jason, you alluded to this earlier, how important has your signature fund been, in your success?
Jason Brooks 00:02:50
The Invico Diversified Income Fund was really born out of the GFC, or the global financial crisis. So as I mentioned earlier, we founded the firm in 2005, we started our first sponsor, in 06/07. And then as we all know, you know, we had to cross the desert through 2008 to 2010. And so, at that point, we had learned a lot. We were surviving as a firm, we actually grew over that period of time. But we realized that the volatility that we had in the business, in our products, really, we had to focus on now moving forward. So the Diversified Income Fund, it's a private credit product, we have in-house active restructuring capability. And we also have a commodity strategy in that fund that we added in 2014. So it also has tested, you know, a lot of business cycles. And that energy strategy, in fact, is one of the very unique things in the fund that differentiates us and has actually provided some very strong returns when the markets haven't provided it. And I think, you know, being non-correlated last year and 2022, perhaps is, you know, one of the things that the, you know, the judges looked at with this award, you know, the product was set up to be, you know, inflation have a function of inflation protection, to not be correlated with public equities. And in fact, we delivered in 2022. And so when I look at, you know, the track record we've established over these 10 years with that signature product, you know, last year was really what separated us even further from the back being that, you know, our incense Inception return was, is over 11% on a Class F unit. And last year, we earned over 17%. So, you know, the combination of those factors, I think, you know, in large part, got people's attention, and I think, you know, we're, you know, we're looking to leverage that track record, but ultimately, that is our biggest asset as a firm so the protection of that and ensuring that it's sustainable, over you know, the next 10 years or more, obviously, is our goal, both myself and Alison as the partners in this firm.
James Burton 00:05:08
Thanks, Jason, some great insights there. Now, as you both met at the WP awards, this year, we celebrated a number of women who have excelled in the industry that including the female Trailblazer. And of course, you Allison. What does it mean for you personally, to be a female CEO in this industry? And importantly, have a majority female workforce?
Allison Taylor 00:05:29
Well, you know, James, it hasn't always been easy, that's for sure. There's definitely been challenges over the years and accomplishing success as a female CEO. I think when Jason I first started in the business, and people said to him, are you crazy your partner with a female as your CEO? And so I think, obviously, there's been a lot of adversity over the years. And obviously, now that we've had some great success and achieved, but we had, I think, we're really starting to recognise and be taken seriously. I think, you know, for me, each and every day, the majority of the meetings I go to, it's definitely male-dominated. That's the industry as a whole. And in fact, I know, during my acceptance speech, I commented and it's, in fact, true. And no offence to anybody listening to this podcast that's named Dave. But there are more portfolio managers named Dave in the UK than there are female portfolio managers. So we still obviously, have a lot of work ahead of ourselves to be successful representing women in the industry. But you know, it's over the years, one thing I have seen and experienced is that, you know, Jason and I will go into a meeting as the two partners of the firm will leave and I'll say something, and they'll be like, Oh, I didn't even notice that. And so I think that the ability to be powerful, having a male, female, you know, co-founded firm is really important because women do look at things differently than men do. And that's really why research has shown that equal gender mix teams, they perform better than male-dominated teams. And I know with all the talk about ESG. Now, if people can get past the E and they actually focus on the S and the G, they recognize that, you know, having diversity on a team is really important to being creative, being successful and looking at things in a different manner. And the other thing I do want to point out, as you mentioned, obviously, we have a lot of women working here to Invico. But the other thing is, we do have a very large proportion of our team that have ethnic diversity as well. 25% of our employees were born outside of Canada. So once again, that additional diversity brings, I think, a lot of value to the team in terms of different viewpoints and different collaborations and the ability to see things through a different lens. I think it's really important for teams to be diverse. And so I'm really proud here at the team that we built here to Invico, and that has really contributed to our success overall.
James Burton 00:07:40
Right on. So, Alison, thanks so much, and I'm staying with you. What's next for the company? What solutions do you have coming down the pipe?
Allison Taylor 00:07:47
Thanks, James. From our perspective, we really want to be seen as one of Canada's premier solutions to the alternative space. And obviously, this award validates our capabilities and need being able to bring alternative solutions to the finance space. And we are currently developing numerous products that we believe are very unique, and we will be launching some of those products later this year. So we look forward to reaching out to advisors to announce the new products that we will have coming down the slate so I can't say too much now, but suffice to say they'll definitely be some very unique solutions that we haven't seen yet and Canada.
James Burton 00:08:24
Great stuff. What a great way to end. Allison, Jason, thanks so much for your time and insight.
Jason Brooks 00:08:28
Great, Thank you, James.
Allison Taylor 00:08:31
Thank you, James.
James Burton 00:08:31
Now for more information on Invico go to invicocapital.com. And for the latest news and views on the industry, don't forget, go to wealthprofessional.ca. Join us next time on WP TV.