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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

your financial advisor and to ask good questions.

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

and 2008-09?).

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

educational modules?

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

bear markets.

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 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, Inc.



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