RYAN LEWENZA, CFA®, CMT®, Senior Financial Advisor & Portfolio Manager, Turner Investments, Toronto
“The Future at Your Fingertips”
Ryan Lewenza is a Senior Financial Advisor and Portfolio Manager at Turner Investments, a part of Raymond James Canada. For the last eight years, he’s been working with partners Garth Turner and Doug Rowat to help a long list of clients reach their financial objectives.
Ryan is also a self-described “chart nerd”.
His 25-plus years in the finance industry include a number of different research roles, where he’d deep dive into markets, economics, stocks and bonds. He worked on the research desk at one of Canada Big Five banks and eventually became the Chief Investment Strategist for Raymond James Canada, providing investment professionals with insights and research to guide their decision making. Ryan was one of only a handful of chief investment strategists in Canada.
These experiences instilled in him a lifelong passion for analytics and investment research, and today, that passion serves him – and his clients – very well.
A unique approach to investing
Ryan’s background in research has shaped his investment style. For example, his unique approach to asset allocation combines both fundamental and technical analysis – a knowledge that helps him determine not only what to buy, but when to buy.
“Combining these two approaches often gives me a bit of a leg up and improves our overall investment performance and success,” says Ryan, who has both the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Market Technician (CMT) designations, a combination few people hold. “Most of the time on Bay Street you’re either one or the other. Over the last 20 years, as I’ve developed my approach, those two disciplines have helped me become a better investor.”
In 2016, Ryan’s investment expertise and analytic approach caught the attention of Garth Turner, and he was invited to join him as his right-hand man at Turner Investments.
The inspiration of Garth Turner
Garth Turner has had a storied career. He is a former business journalist, best-selling author, entrepreneur, broadcaster, and financial advisor. He also served as an MP and Minister of National Revenue and was a leadership candidate for the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. “When most people are thinking about retiring, he decided to become a financial advisor and start a new career.” It’s quite a career. Within 12 years, Turner Investments was managing $1.5 billion in assets.
Today, Garth is easing into semi-retirement, and Ryan, along with partner Doug, looks after the day-to-day operations and manages the portfolios – all under the umbrella of Garth’s core investment philosophies. “Garth set the agenda,” says Ryan. “And we are carrying the torch that Garth has established.”
Balance is a cornerstone. “Number one, we don’t believe in taking a ton of risk. We have a balanced portfolio, 60 per cent in stocks and 40 per cent in fixed income. We target a six to seven per cent annualized rate of return. For us, that’s the sweet spot. As we like to say, we like to hit singles and doubles.”
Another core philosophy: they are global investors. Portfolios hold a combination of U.S. and international investments, with South Korean stocks recently added to the mix.
Number three, says Ryan, is they only invest in ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). “We don’t invest in individual stocks. We never invest in mutual funds because the fees are too high. Studies show that most actively managed mutual funds underperform the benchmark.”
Their approach is a stable, low-risk approach that brings steady gains for clients over the long term. And it’s a large book of satisfied clients. Ryan, along with his partner Doug, look after 950 households.
Ryan’s clients are like-minded individuals who align with the team’s investment philosophies. His approach – a combination of nose-to-the-grindstone research and analysis and hands on guidance – has earned him the trust of clients from across the country – in all provinces except for the Northwest Territories. Ryan is U.S. licensed, so he also works with people south of the border.
Communication and financial literacy are key
With a large client list that’s spread wide geographically, communication is a priority. The team holds a weekly conference call for clients every Tuesday, and Garth and Ryan write daily posts that are published on Garth’s blog, greaterfool.ca. The posts educate clients on a wide variety of financial topics. The website, named after a Canadian bestseller penned by Garth, is one of the most visited financial blogs in the country.
Hand in hand with communication is a focus on financial literacy. “We’re trying to educate and empower Canadians through the blog,” says Ryan. While primarily a tool to help Canadians make informed decisions about their finances, Greaterfool.ca also allows readers to learn more about Turner Investment’s balanced, long-term, and ETF focused approach to investing. If that approach aligns with theirs, readers often become new clients.
“What I love most is applying this knowledge and experience, 25-plus years, to now help people achieve their objectives, to buy a home, pay for their kids’ education, transition into retirement,” says Ryan. “When my clients retire and they say, ‘I'm having the best life, I don't have to worry about my account because you guys are looking after it’, that is the best possible reward I can get.”
“I have the best job in the world because of two things: one, I get to do the nerdy investment research analysis that I'm so passionate about, but now I get to help people directly.”
Ryan is grateful for his good fortune and makes it a point to pay it forward. He gives back to the community, both with his team at Turner Investments, and as an individual. This includes raising money to buy winter gear for shelters and missions to give to homeless people. He also sponsors local charities, including New Circles, a not-for-profit that raises money so new immigrant families can buy food, clothing, and presents during the Christmas season.
Family, he says, is number one. Ryan’s wife Lisa is a real estate agent, and they have two young boys, eight and ten. Given Ryan’s success in finance, will one of his sons follow in his footsteps? Maybe.
“My oldest says he wants to be a pilot first. If he can’t be a pilot, he says, Dad, I’ll work for you.” Ryan laughs, “If he says I’m his number two option, I’ll definitely take it.”
Janice Tuff is a professional writer and communicator who got her start in radio copywriting.
Three decades later, she continues to draw upon the valuable lessons learned in her radio days: grab your audience’s attention quickly and always tell an engaging tale.
Ryan Lewenza, CFA®, CMT®
Senior Financial Advisor, Portfolio Manager
Turner Investments Raymond James
Scotia Plaza, 40 King St. W, Suite 5300
Toronto, ON, M5H 3Y2
T: 416-777-6416 F: 416-777-7020