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An investor with a unique look at diversification

Andrea Thompson.

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Andrea Thompson


Senior financial planner at Raymond James in Toronto

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The portfolio

Most of her investments are in mutual funds and ETFs, including two hedge funds. She also owns individual stocks such as Shopify Inc., Open Text Corp., and Firm Capital Mortgage Investment Corp., as well as shares in her company, Raymond James Financial Inc.

The investor

She was exposed to financial literacy at a young age. Her father, an actuary, taught her how to read the stock pages at the age of 2 and explained GICs to her at the age of 8. She participated in investment challenges during high school. "I've always been surrounded by it," she says.

How she invests

"I focus on diversification across different types of investments, not just the stock market," Ms. Thompson says. For instance, she bought a condo in 2007, has a hedge fund that profits from volatile markets and has a small position in a cryptocurrency. She also makes regularly monthly contributions into her Registered Retirement Savings Plan, her company's employee stock purchase plan and maximizes her tax-free savings account each year. "I believe that regular, systematic investing is the best strategy for the long term and I adopt a buy and hold strategy for most of my investments," she says.

Best move

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Investing in the aftermath of the 2008-09 global financial crisis. "Everything took a beating," she says. There was a lot of price upside for those with the purchasing power and a strong stomach. "It was a hard time for anyone to be an investor and … to approach investing from a non-emotional standpoint," she says. "That was one of my best moves and helped to transition me from a trader to thinking about investing in a different way."

Worst move

"Overall, the worst move I've made is chasing investment returns. I think it's something a lot of people do when they don't really understand investing," she says. "Before I was even involved in the investment side of the industry … I thought the best thing to do was to see what had done well in the past couple of years and buy that. Obviously, that is almost always the wrong approach." One example was a Chinese growth fund she bought around 2006. It lost money, as economic growth in the country slowed, and she sold it a couple of years later.


"My biggest advice, for any investor, is to understand what the goals are for your money. That will allow you to determine not only the best investment strategy, but how much you should be investing to reach those goals. It's not just what you're buying and selling … but how much risk you need to take and how much you need to save to reach those goals … You have to know what the front of the puzzle looks like before starting putting the pieces together."

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About the Author

Brenda Bouw is a freelance writer and editor based in Vancouver. She has more than 20 years of experience as a business reporter, including at The Globe and Mail, The Canadian Press, the Financial Post and was executive producer at BNN (formerly ROBTv). Brenda was also part of the Globe and Mail reporting team that won the 2010 National Newspaper Award for business journalism. More


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