From time to time, Hillsdale is in the news. Our partners often speak at conferences or other events, and our accomplishments are covered in the financial media.
Bay Street BBS Interview with Hillsdale Portfolio Manager, Alfred Sum, BASC, MASC, CFA, FRM
Interviewers: Joanna Jin and Viki Qi
Mr. Sum is a Portfolio Manager on the team that manages Canadian and Global equity strategies at Hillsdale. As a member of the portfolio management team, he assists in the design and implementation of the firm’s proprietary research. Prior to joining Hillsdale, Mr. Sum was an Investment Analyst at Cornerstone Capital Partners, Senior Analyst at TD Securities and Senior Risk Analyst at RBC Capital Markets. Mr. Sum has over 10-years’ experience in financial and quantitative analysis.
Q: What are the key factors you would attribute your success to?
A: It is important to follow your own passion and do what you like to do. I found investing an interesting career as it’s closely linked to global events and it’s interesting to research companies from different industries. Secondly, don’t give up on learning. Lastly, always remember to be humble, willing to listen, but also able to develop your own philosophy over time.
Q: What important trends do you see in the industry?
A: Globalization brings the world much closer. The largest companies now generate more than half of their revenues outside of their domestic markets. The fast-paced technology development has also impacted the investment industry in areas such as high frequency trading, big data analysis and ETFs in both passive indexing and active investment space.
Q: What are your thoughts on current market valuation and investment opportunities?
A: The equity market has enjoyed multi-year rallies since it hit bottom in March 2009 during the financial crisis period. Current market valuation is relatively expensive but not outrageous. This is supported by stronger company fundamentals and an extremely low interest rate accommodated by central bank policy. Sectors such as auto parts and lumber should continue to do well as housing and auto markets improve.
Q: What are the most important skills to develop in order to be successful on the buy side?
A: Practical skill requirements are very different depending on which type of investment firms you are looking into. In general, an understanding of company fundamentals, strong analytical skills and market knowledge are all important. Some roles will also require strong statistical and programming skills. Don’t overlook soft skills like communication and public speaking/networking capabilities.
Q: Any other advice for new grads who want to break into the industry?
A: My first suggestion to new grads would be to open your own investment account and start investing with your own money. It doesn’t matter how much. You will be able to tell if you truly have a passion for investments after a while. Try to read more, learn from other professionals and learn from people’s mistakes. There are many ways to succeed but usually only a few common ways to fail.
Q: Any recommended reading?
A: Investment books from famous investors such as Warren Buffett, George Soros and Jim Rogers. My latest read is “The Quants” by Scott Patterson which describes how a group of mathematicians revolutionized Wall Street but nearly destroyed it in 2007-2008.
About Bay Street BBS
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