Organizational changes at Jarislowsky Fraser Limited

March 3, 2014

Plan sponsors may wish to consider whether this investment news has any implications for the investment options available within their plans.

In January 2014, Jarislowsky Fraser Limited (JF) announced organizational changes within the U.S. Equities and Canadian Equities teams as follows:

  • the promotion of Dan Hanson to the role of Head of U.S. Equities;
  • the subsequent resignation of Helen Beck, Head of Canadian Equities;
  • the promotion of Bernard Gauthier  to the role of Head of Canadian Equities (replacing Ms. Beck); and
  • the addition of Aaron Bennett to the firm as an analyst covering the energy and natural resources sector.

Ms. Beck was a member of the Investment Strategy Committee (ISC) and lead manager of the JF Canadian Equity Fund. Her resignation follows the recent departures of:

  • Charlie Ongking (ISC member and co-manager of the JF U.S. Equity Fund and JF Global Equity Fund) in February 2013,
  • Len Racioppo (President and Chair of the ISC) and Marc Trottier (member of the Executive Committee) in November 2012,
  • Sami Hazboun (senior associate, co-lead U.S. equities Portfolio Manager; ISC member) in February 2012, and
  • Joseph Sirdevan (lead U.S. equities portfolio manager, ISC member) in March 2011.

Charles Nadim continues in his role as assistant Canadian Equity manager. JF is looking to replace Mr. Gauthier (previously co-manager of U.S. equities and member of ISC) on the U.S. equity team.

We are concerned with the level of senior turnover within the ISC and the fact that its members have not worked together for a long period of time. Despite the strong relative performance results, we also note the significant asset redemptions from JF's segregated funds on our core investment platform, particularly the Canadian Equity fund, which has declined by 3.5% in 2012 (return was +10%) and by 15% in 2013 (return was +23%). As of December 31, 2013, the JF Canadian Equity Segregated fund assets totalled $816 million.  We continue to closely monitor developments at the firm, including leadership structure and investment personnel, and provide updates as new information becomes available.

Background

Dan Hanson joined the firm in April 2013 as co-manager of U.S. equities. Based in New York, Mr. Hanson has more than 20 years of experience in U.S. and global equities, both as an analyst and portfolio manager at various firms including BlackRock, Merrill Lynch Asset Management and Bear Stearns.

Bernard Gauthier has extensive experience in Canadian equities, particularly in the banking and financial sector. He has more than 25 years of industry experience - including over six years managing portfolios – and became a member of the Investment Strategy Committee in December 2012.

Aaron Bennett is an accomplished research analyst and portfolio manager with over 12 years of industry experience in the energy and natural resources sector. Prior to joining JF, Mr. Bennett was with the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan where he held senior portfolio management positions focusing on energy and natural resources, including co-management of a portfolio of private equity investments in timberlands and energy.

Questions?
Please contact your Sun Life Financial Group Retirement Services representative.