By our registration, we carry a fiduciary duty to all clients under common law. Stewardship is more than a legal obligation to Dixon Mitchell, though – it’s the cornerstone upon which our firm was built and the spirit that guides all that we do. Our goal each day is to provide a disciplined and rigorous investment process to clients within a culture of fairness, transparency, and cost control.
In establishing Dixon Mitchell we set out to provide clients with a focused investment management approach, not just a collection of unwieldy mandates that wind up replicating broad market indices. We also wanted to eliminate conflicts by creating a structure in which company success is a product of client success, knowing that high fees are a major impediment to investment results.
Unfortunately, the birth of the firm coincided with a difficult backdrop for a manager focused on fundamentals. At the time, a soon to be defunct telecom giant was Canada’s largest company and occupied a dominant weight in the TSX, while investors were still fully captivated by the dot-com craze. This compounded the challenge of starting an investment manager from scratch – not only did we face the expected hurdle of persuading clients to hire a manager with no assets or track record, we also had to explain why their portfolios would include little exposure to the most popular stocks of the day.
Of course, it didn’t take long for the market to emphatically remind everyone that metrics like sales, profits, and valuation did still matter. Our prudence through this turbulent period both catapulted the company forward and reaffirmed the vision that was the seed of Dixon Mitchell’s creation. As stewards of wealth, our most important role is to manage investment risk on behalf of clients, even if that means missing out on short term gains or temporarily appearing to be behind the times. This determination would serve our portfolios and clients well less than a decade later when markets were brought down once again, this time by the sub-prime lending crisis.
Today Dixon Mitchell is significantly larger, with a diverse client base and a wide complement of professional staff. Over time, we’ve vastly expanded the depth and scope of our investment process, devoted substantial capital to analytical technology, and added portfolio mandates to round out our coverage. Still, at the heart of everything we do are the same principles that led us to open our doors in the first place: that sound investing is always the product of a methodical and repeated process and that the best outcomes happen when client and manager interests are closely aligned.