- SUZEN FROMSTEIN
MATTHEW SAMMUT CEO FORTRUS FINANCIAL: "Helping Investors Level the Playing Field Through Educat
Far too many of us have watched our capital
fail to gain traction, to stagnate, or even to
erode. Matt Sammut, Founder and Chief
Investment Strategist at Fortrus Financial Inc.
believes that this downward trajectory is, at
least in part, due to systematic failure - the industry is
dominated by companies that, regardless of the market
conditions, preach (and implement) long-term (buy and
hold) investing strategies and that fees/commissions
(often hidden) encroach upon returns.
How does the individual investor level the
playing field? Through Education and Empowerment.
We live in a fast-paced, exceedingly complex world.
If we want to grow our assets we need to be able to
ask the right questions, to understand what is going on
in the markets, and to be proactively engaged in the
That’s where Fortrus Financial can help. The company
engaged some of the best minds in the business world
to create 44 proprietary educational modules on a wide
variety of relevant investment subjects. None of the
modules use jargon or overly legalistic language.
Q: What inspired you to start Fortrus
In my corporate career, I worked for two major
banks, Canada’s largest independent brokerage firm and
one of the world’s largest investment firms. I observed
that the corporate business model (profitability driven
and focused on its own success) was often at odds with
the best interests of the investor. I left the corporate side
of the business because I wanted to help investors make
the financial system work for them.
Q: What services does Fortrus Financial
Fortrus Financial is a Canadian strategic
investment/financial coaching service committed
to educating individual investors on how to build
and protect wealth through its on-line and personal
coaching platform, and objective, monthly newsletters.
Whether you are just starting out, building
wealth, retiring or leaving a legacy, Fortrus Financial’s
educational platform can help you make informed
choices about things like market timing and risk
In terms of personal coaching, Fortrus will,
for example, tell you when you are paying too much in
fees (and how to save fees); when you should consider
investing in a specific market segment; when particular
investments present great risks and why; and, what
you should do to manage your risk.
Q: How is Fortrus Financial different
from the banks and big brokers?
Fortrus is not trying to sell a specific
investment product. The only thing it sells is
coaching and education. In the last sixteen years the
market was up 39% (excluding dividends). That is
an average return of 2.1% per year. If you used the
Fortrus tools, the same portfolio would have been
up 321% or 9.3% per year. On a $100,000 portfolio,
that is a difference of over $282,000 (see chart).
Fortrus only has one goal: to give you
the knowledge and the confidence to challenge
If required, Fortrus will work with your existing
team of professionals (accountant, lawyer, financial
advisor, etc.) to ensure your money is working as
hard as it should be.
Q: I have been told that market timing is impossible.
Is this true?
Selling right at the top of any market or buying right
at the bottom of a crash is nearly impossible unless you are
extremely lucky. Since Fortrus believes in science and not luck,
it has created tools that allow investors to get out near the top
and to get back in near the bottom. This runs counter to our
psychological states - at market peaks, we feel positive and think
markets will keep going up forever. At troughs, fear kicks in, and
we want to run for the hills. Eliminating these emotional reactions
is critical for long-term success.
The visual at the top right of the page is an example of a
simple, proprietary market-timing tool that Fortrus investors use:
As stated earlier, this is the difference between a ‘buy
and hold’ return of 39% and making 321% by using a market- timing tool that responds to market realities. That is over 7.2
times higher performance.
Q: Isn’t my financial company providing the strategy
for my portfolio?
They try, but many organizations follow prescribed
strategies that do not adjust to market conditions. No other person
or institution will ever care as much about your money as do you.
If you do not have the tools or understand how markets work, you
will continue to fall prey to market collapses (remember 2000-02
Investors often get themselves into trouble because
they don’t have a strategic plan, and their investment portfolio
is not well managed. Some of the areas of failure typically
include investing on the basis of a stock tip or idea from a media
source, buying into markets at the top of a run, and lack of risk
management techniques such as currency exposure, and having
too much money invested in a specific asset class.
Q: Can you give me some idea of what’s in the 44
Fortrus constantly updates its video and webinar library.
Current educational modules include Market Timing, Risk
Management, Psychology of Investing and How Our Minds Work
Against Us, Debt Management, Minimizing Fees, Fixed Income
Investing, Hedging and Investing in Falling Markets and Precious
Metals. There is even a module for teenagers. All lessons are
available in downloadable pdf, can be viewed onscreen or via
There are also 23 proprietary Investment/Savings
Calculators. These include Education Savings, Savings Goal
Calculator, Millionaire Timeline, Future Value, Rate of Return,
Retirement Savings, and Mortgage Payoff Goal Calculator.
Q: What does Fortrus think I should be doing to
build and preserve my wealth?
Fortrus believes there are ten critical things you can do to build
and preserve your wealth.
1. Ensure your portfolio is structured to meet your specific
goals and risk tolerance level.
2. Determine your asset allocation ranges between growth,
fixed income, and cash and then revise when necessary.
3. Work out a currency allocation plan that maximizes
performance and preserves capital.
4. Determine the current market cycle. The only party that
wins with a “buy and hold” strategy is the party that sold you the
product. Depending on whether the markets are rising or falling,
you have to do different things.
5. Have the right risk management tools to protect your
capital. Maybe you made good investment choices then lost all
the gains to currency and/or market corrections.
6. Assess the different sectors and individual companies
and ensure that all of your investments are not concentrated in
one market sector. Far too many investors put money into a stock/
sector after it had its big rise or sold a stock/sector after it fell.
7. Use inverse funds to protect capital and to make money
when markets are falling. This is especially true during secular
8. Manage your account on an ongoing basis and respond
to changes in real time.
9. Minimize fees - as many fees are hidden, many investors
are paying 1.5-3.0% in fees without knowing it.
10. Determine your actual rate of return in Canadian dollars.
The good news is that with the right knowledge, and
tools each of these ten factors can be managed.
Building wealth is more than just building assets. You
also have to know what’s going on in the world and how it affects
your investments. To thank you for reading this article Fortrus
Financial is pleased to provide free access to two proprietary
1. Four 4-Minute Market Insights. This document analyzes
world economies and identifies ways to profit (https://www.
2. An introductory video to help you understand how financial
cycles impact you https://lnkd.in/e7X7Wfm or go to Fortrus
Financial on YouTube for many other free educational videos.
Suzen Fromstein, APR is an accredited communicator and the former Director of Communications at The Investment Funds Institute of Canada. She specializes in writing for the financial services and insurance industries and has completed freelance assignments for BOMIC, TD Bank, President's Choice, ABN Amro, Desjardins Financial Security and SunLife Financial, among others. Suzen is also the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides Category.
Suits and Ladders Fromstein, Suzen; Paperback Sold by Amazon.com.ca, Inc.