In the early 2000s, Cecil Baldry-White and his team of advisors in Campbell River ran a thriving investment management business, managing over $200 million of client assets. However, they became increasingly aware that there was a better way of managing clients’ money, to dampen volatility and to potentially increase long term returns. To take their clients’ portfolios to a higher level of management it would take two things – discretionary management and the inclusion of meaningful allocations of private alternative investments such as mortgages and real estate.
In early 2008 Baldry-White reached out to his long-time former colleague and friend, Kevin Kirkwood, CFA to help him build a new company and more diversified portfolios for clients. While preparing to launch the new firm the 2008 financial crisis hit, deepening their resolve to reduce portfolio risk.
“They could see how hard it was for clients to go through the rollercoaster of the stock market and they knew how to help, but also knew they didn’t yet have the tools or the licensing to do it,” says Emily Hofmann, a portfolio manager with Alitis Investment Counsel.
So in 2009, Baldry-White, a former colleague and Kirkwood received the firm’s new registration as a portfolio manager and they formally launched Alitis Investment Counsel— a firm where they could finally offer their clients the potential for reduced volatility and the consistent, long-term performance they deserved.
In order to offer their clients investment opportunities in private real estate, private mortgages and other alternative investments typically only available to the ultra-wealthy, Alitis Investment Counsel has supported its staff in obtaining the necessary experience and education required for licencing as portfolio managers.
“This licensing takes a great deal of experience and education to achieve — you need to have a minimum of four years of relevant experience, plus accreditation,” says Hofmann, who was granted her registration as a portfolio manager in 2020. “It’s a very high level of licensing which elevates our responsibility from being advisors to being fiduciaries! Having both our firm and our team members registered allows us to offer discretionary management and a suite of valuable alternative investments.”
Comox branch opening soon
Alitis Investment Counsel currently has offices in both Campbell River and Victoria, and services clients across Canada. This summer they’re opening a new office in the Comox Valley, on Aspen Road, near Quality Foods. With three of the Alitis team already living in the Valley and a growing client base in the region Alitis felt this was the appropriate plan to expand.
According to Hofmann, “It’s really a commitment to the people and community in the Comox Valley. We could service these clients out of our Campbell River office, but we know that having local staff and a local office makes a big difference. It’s a commitment to our staff, our clients and our business associates who refer clients to the firm — we’re here, and we want to be part of the Comox Valley’s future.”
Hofmann says people and community are core values at Alitis, and she’s proud to say they haven’t lost that focus as they’ve grown. It’s one of many things she loves about her job. “I was really lucky to land at Alitis. My husband and I had a long-term dream to move to the Comox Valley, but I worried I’d be limiting my career opportunities if I left Victoria. Not the case as Alitis was well ahead of most, if not all, investment firms in Victoria at the time of inception. Working at Alitis has allowed me to take a step up in my career, while also enjoying all the amazing benefits of living in the Comox Valley.”