Investment Philosophy

Because investments power your finances, they are the engine of your financial plan, a well-constructed portfolio is critical.

During a consultative process (yes, we really are interested in getting to know you!), we will develop an investment policy statement, or IPS, based on your long-term goals, your ability and willingness to take on risk, and your live-for-today needs and goals.

Once we have an idea of what you need and expect from your investments, we construct a tailored portfolio with a top-down global approach.

There are two main approaches to investing: bottom-up and top-down. Sona takes a factor-based, diversified, top-down approach.

Bottom-up investing involves individual stock picking, usually with a short-term focus.  A bottom-up approach lacks a coherent overall strategy, which is critical for matching investments with client goals. This type of approach often misses the forest for the trees. The forest fire can be missed if you are too focused on a single tree. There are also diversification benefits if you not only own more than one tree, but more than one forest.

A top-down approach is where broader economic factors drive tactical asset allocation decisions. At Sona we believe that most return is attributed to asset allocation and long-term factors of return, not security selection. We believe the best portfolio involves a diversified low-cost and low-turnover approach that also takes advantage of passive and factor-based investing. Merging this portfolio with your financial plan is the key to reaching your goals.

Global Diversification

Part of being truly diversified, means not only looking at companies based in the United States, but also globally. Investors are naturally drawn to what they know – a home bias. Canadian investors tend to invest more in Canada, German investors tend to invest more in Germany, and you guessed it, US investors tend to invest more in the US. The US bias is even more pronounced since the US is the strongest single economy in the world.

But based on world market capitalization, the US makes up around 52%:

While international and emerging markets stocks have not fared as well as the US over the last few years, it is important to remember that:

  1. Non-US stocks help provide diversification benefits.
  2. Recent performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

As an example

A diversified portfolio is unlikely to be the best or worst performing relative to any one country, but diversification usually provides more consistent outcomes and more importantly helps reduce and manage catastrophic losses that can be associated with investing in just a small number of stocks or a single country.