in discussion with a
Private Capital Planner
Ancaster’s Carl Maragno is a financial planner with a successful
and highly focused practice of approximately 50 families. Carl was
licensed within an IIROC dealership but in 2008 and 2009 his client
base began to ask for investments with attributes that he was
unable to access with solely a public market platform. By chance,
he picked up his wife’s Annual Investment Report from the Ontario
Teacher’s Pension Plan, which set off a multi-year search to
improve the diversification of his clients to partially include private
assets in client portfolios where reasonable. To execute on his
vision, he began working with a portfolio manager to manage his
client’s core investment positions and joined the exempt market
dealership Pinnacle Wealth Brokers in 2013.
Tell us a bit about your background and your practice today.
I started at Investors Group in 1987. Over the years I attained
the CFP designation and was previously IIROC licensed. My
practice is very focused, with most of my clients requiring a mix of
planning, insurance and access to investments. In general, I believe
that a multi-asset class allocation strategy for clients is important
and should include alternative investments such as real estate and
private equity to diversify portfolios and protect client assets.
How has your practice evolved over the past 10 or 15 years?
How did you decide to move into the exempt market?
It was back in 1999 and 2000 when the frustration began. The
equity markets started to become more volatile and unpredictable
to say the least and interest rates started to come down.
Clients are the ones that I have to provide advice and direction
to. As they started approaching retirement (or were already in
retirement), they were looking to me for guidance and asking,
“What can we do to sustain our portfolios and what can we do to
sustain or increase the income?” And the frustration was the lack
of options that I had.
That started the process where I began wondering: “What can
I find for my clients that will help them preserve their capital? They
are looking for something by and large that I can’t provide, so how
am I going to find it?” It really came around by chance when I
was reviewing the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Annual Report
because my wife is now a retired teacher. Reading the report led
me down the road to find a way to access private investments and
to discover what the exempt market was all about. At the time I
wasn’t familiar with either of them.
From a client standpoint and considering the financial
planning landscape today, much of the demand stems from the
legislation driving RRIF withdrawals. It forced me to try to find
yields that could satisfy their needs. Many years ago I used to
be able to provide investments that could provide those kinds of
yields in the public markets but those opportunities by and large
aren’t available today. It was important for me to see what the
institutional funds were doing. I discovered that they were leaning
more heavily on the private capital side in order to get higher
income, more consistent and predictable returns, lower volatility
and less market related risk.