Wealth Management

Voted #6 on Top 100 Family Business influencer on Wealth, Legacy, Finance and Investments: Jacoline Loewen My Amazon Authors' page Twitter:@ jacolineloewen Linkedin: Jacoline Loewen Profile

January 29, 2018

10 Questions Anthony Lacavera wants us to ask

Seeing Anthony Lacavera in his casual suit and hip haircut at my formal Bay Street Investment Club made me curious. Yes, Anthony has his book to promote, but what would be his message for the room of mostly public market investors?

I was not disappointed. Anthony challenged the room of influential investors about our shared responsibility for the future of Canada. Anthony quickly picked apart the realities of our laws and our attitudes that if changed, could mean a radically different future for Canada. All of these points are expanded upon in his very good book, How We Can Win.

I have entrepreneurs as my client base, and Anthony’s book is giving me a treasure trove of discussion points for my client meetings in 2018. There are stories about Canadians such as heroes I have been fortunate enough to know such as Claudia Hepburn who helped found The Next 36, Michael Serbenis who created the Kobo, Andy Burgess of Somerset Entertainment, Michael Hyatt of Bluecat and Craig Campbell who built a security company. 

There are also discussions about the Canadian-centric issues I have heard too many times and, quite honestly, I have stopped discussing because they do not seem to change. It was refreshing to hear Anthony's passion.

These were my pick of Anthony’s many questions directed to my Bay Street Finance Club. These ten points particularly sparked me and made me grit my teeth. This year, I hope to use these to bring my best to Canada:

  1. Why do we think it normal to go for gold when it’s hockey but we are satisfied with being fourth or tenth in business ratings? The Americans go for survival of the fittest but Canadians think it is mean to crush competitors like cockroaches. Anthony says, "We need to start clawing our way up the value chain."
  2.  Why do our government leaders go to the Google offices to get their photo ops? Surely, politicians should prioritize their support of Canadian companies such as Hootsuite? Stop by the Hootsuite HQ in Vancouver, politicians, and you will be surprised by the results. 
  3. Can we stop being afraid of picking winning companies and rewarding them? This requires we get past the “everyone’s a winner” attitude and to pick one leader and focus the financial rewards.This means putting government funding in large placements into fewer businesses. We need to be comfortable that competition is positive.
  4. Why is not one Canadian VC or private equity firm invested into one of the leading Waterloo area companies, Thalmic Labs? Why does it take Americans to do the investing? Thalmic Labs comes out of the Next 36 program and are a great Canadian venture. 
  5. Why should we care where investment money originates? Globealive had the government tell him his investors had to get out of his company because they were from a different part of the world. The Middle East is not banned from my bank as potential clients and Anthony's investors certainly cleared the barriers. 
  6. Why do we have such difficult inter provincial trade barriers and what does it cost business?
  7. Why do most Canadian companies not think of being an export business? They are satisfied with being big enough. 
  8. What is Canada known for? Why do we have investors into cannabis but not into Ai, Machine learning? Uber, co-founded by a Canadian, is in MaRS and has a Canadian Ai expert leading it. Surely our VC investments should be going into these tech endeavours but we seeem to like the drug industry more.
  9. Why are Canadian entrepreneur leaders not known and celebrated?  We all know Bill Gates or Elon Musk (ironically a Canadian) of America but how about Ryan Holmes of Hootsuite?
  10. What can we do to reduce the brain drain of our tech students to America? We are losing our youth to the USA. My son is graduating from Waterloo and is off to Seattle to work for Microsoft so that point really hurts! Ouch.

Waterloo students create WatVision to help visually impaired to read touch screen

The Waterloo student teams create products in their fourth year and I was impressed with my son and his group - WatVision. 
Their product is to help visually impaired people read a touch screen. The idea developed as a visually impaired person talked about how the new coffee maker at work had a touch screen which he could not use, unlike the old coffee machine.  
This product has been created to help a visually impaired person use a touch screen. Check out the video.

The video shows Craig demoing how to use our system. Here is a breakdown of how he did it.
  1. Start the app and point your phone camera at the touch screen you are trying to use
  2. Listen to the app, it will guide you to aim the camera at the entire screen. It will give commands such as “Move Left” or “Move Up” to help the user capture the whole screen.
  3. Place the finger wearing the ring on the touch screen and begin exploring!
That’s all it takes, let the app do the reading for you. When your finger moves over text or buttons, the app reads out what its for so you as the user can decide whether you want to use it or not.
Interesting in trying it?
We are looking for participants to try out the system and give us feedback as we continue to develop. If you or someone you know has a visual impairment and would be interested in trying out the Watvision system, contact us at watvisionteam@gmail.com.

January 21, 2018

Annual Investment Luncheon at The Empire Club

2018 Investment Outlook Luncheon

I was honoured to be invited to join the head table at the Annual Investment Outlook Luncheon held at the Empire Club. We were joined by the CFL players who impressed me with their knowledge of blockchain and crypto-currencies.

2018 Investment Outlook Luncheon

January 17, 2018

Top Forecast awarded by Bay Street Finance Club to Jacoline Loewen

Jacoline Loewen with trophy for #1 Forecast
It was thrilling and humbling to be awarded the #1 Forecast.  There were 150 competing financial experts, many of whom run leading funds and who are pre-eminent names in the investment industry.

My forecast made at the beginning of 2017 was the most accurate. As a result, I get this huge trophy with darts as the symbols on top.  You can surmise why the use of darts as an understanding of the accuracy of forecasts.  Many people have made or lost their fortunes using the forecasts of experts, including Ray Dalio.  My name has been engraved on one of the markers which is an honour to join the list of top forecasters of the Canadian economy.

This finance club has been going since 1929, and will no doubt carry on for another 100 years, and so it is a great honour to be able to win top forecast. I was told that lightening does not strike twice and this is forecasting, after all. However, I have seen in my business that there is some methodology and process that certainly helps to predict the road ahead.

If you are curious about the forecast itself, there were market indicators to predict and a list of stocks to choose as going up or down.

I did have access to my bank's economic views which were different from the Canadian banks, being a global player. No doubt, access to that gave me a proverbial leg up but in the end, I did put in the time and effort to really look at the upcoming year. Now, let's see how my 2018 forecast fares!

January 7, 2018

Top 10 Questions for Families with Wealth

Family is important.
We can agree with that sentence as family relationships nudge, bump. poke at our course in life. You have heard the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships. I would add, "family relationships." Many factors shape family relationships and money is one of them. Both when it is abundant and when it is scarce, money is key in shaping family relationships.
Money and its impact causes problems in family relationships. Who gets the money? Who receives the information about the family's wealth? Who actually has the control over that wealth - is it really family wealth or one person's wealth?
Tough questions that many choose to skip with resulting drama that fills movie scripts but also real lives.
Money also brings the opportunity to discover what money means to a family. It can be an open discussion to discover how a family can work together and clarify their thinking about the purpose of the money.
What is money's purpose? What does money mean to the family?
Rather than divide the family, money can have a beneficial affect on bringing together a family and have a surprisingly beneficial effect on family dynamics. Relationships can be cemented.
In fact, the hardest issues facing families are usually not the money but the family relationship based and family based. You can begin to set a positive family dynamic by asking yourself questions and your family members these probing questions about finances and philanthropy.
In my experience, there are questions to get the process started. You can pose these top ten questions to each of your family members. What is most important is to listen and observe how family members respond is more important than the answers.

  1. What challenges do we face in regards to our family and to our money?
  2. What is our vision for our family's future?
  3. What is our family's definition of success?
  4. What principles will guide our decisions about asset allocation?
  5. What has been our experience of the family working together?
  6. How do we prepare our children to steward a financial inheritance?
  7. Should we bring our son or daughter in law into the conversation on finances and philanthropy?
  8. What are our core philanthropy interests and how did these become so important to us?
  9. How may we enable the next generation to create a shared dream with a family foundation while also fulfilling the founder's vision?
  10. How do we promote a togetherness while also promoting the individualism of each family member?

What do you think of these questions? Are there any more that you would add?

January 5, 2018

How the developing world is shaking up tech from Mexico to Chile and Kenya

In New York with Wondereur for Fintech Finals

Fintech early stage companies were part of my company's Global Fintech challenge last year which I got to roll out and manage across Canada. What was surprising to our head office was the sheer number of good fintechs in Canada, not just Silicon Valley. That is what struck me as I read this article about how Silicon Valley and Canada are no longer the only place where fintechs are growing - Mexico with its lack of banking is shooting ahead with Fintechs too.

The magazine Unlimited has an interesting article on technological development outside of Silicon Valley and how fintech in the developing world is gaining traction.

I had been surprised last year, when the head of Blockchain in my company told me how Africa had played a huge role in developing blockchain as there were so few legacy banking systems in place. There you have it, straight from the horse's mouth about blockchain and developing countries technology sectors.

Here's the article...
Today earbuds can translate foreign languages in real time, while scientists are developing ‘living’ solar panels that can be printed on paper. Meanwhile, tech pioneers are setting their sights on still grander goals, like enhancing the human brain with implants raising the possibility of telepathic communication.
The pace of change in the sector continues to accelerate. In the US alone, the number of tech-related patents has doubled over the past decade.But, while expertise has been concentrated around California’s Silicon Valley, in the coming years technological disruption is increasingly likely to blossom in the developing world. Emerging markets are already undergoing a radical transformation. A decade ago the tech industry accounted for only 10% of the benchmark MSCI Emerging Markets index. Now that figure has nearly tripled to 29%, with four of the index’s five largest-capitalized companies coming from the tech sector. 
In China, the education system currently produces three million science and engineering graduates each year – five times that of the US – and the nation is already on the way to joining the long-standing tech leaders, Taiwan and Korea.In neighbouring India, already a global player in the IT services industry, the government now has the world’s largest biometric identification system, with fingerprints and iris scans of more than one billion residents. 
Yet, the technological shift is not being limited to Asia. Coordinated public and private efforts to foster tech start-ups in Chile have earned the country the “Chilecon Valley” moniker, drawing comparisons with the famous California innovation hub.Mexico has also made progress in promoting start-ups through the creation of the National Institute of Entrepreneurship, with similar programs running in Colombia and Peru, now beginning to trigger rapid start-up growth in cities like Bogotá, Medellín and Lima.Given the large population in Latin America who are without banking services, a key growth area is fintech. According to Finnovista, the number of fintech start-ups in the region recently surpassed 1,000.
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January 3, 2018

How Babcock will Get the Leafs to Win the Stanley Cup

Mike Babcock and Jim Heller with Toronto Maple Leafs
Being a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey fan, I often hear that "The Leafs can never win!" This negative view is echoed by the media and Twittersphere. Reasons given are that the players are too young, they don't get rid of players like Bozak, if Matthews gets injured the whole team collapses, we are too reliant on one player  - that Matthews again- and where is the defense?

How does a recently-hired coach like Mike Babcock break through that mindset? Such a defeatist view of the Leafs' destiny is a deeply ingrained habit for the players to not believe it. Each player gets on the ice with their own thinking and analysis. They are pattern recognition machines checking their team members for body language and style of play in order to predict their own next ten seconds of play. Each player builds up their own habits of play and their habit of psychology during the game.

One of the first changes I noticed when Babcock arrived as the new coach was that he began to break down the habits of each player doing their own thing. He set team plays, particularly in the first ten minutes of the game. It became evident that a team doing set plays was far more effective than one star player being expected to win the game. For the players, these team formations yielded improvements quickly.

Yet, when the opponents kicked in their plays, the Leafs would still fall back on its old psychology, particularly when playing home ice, in front of the Leafs fans.

Jim Hiller - The Leafs
Belief is an important part of team sports and in the book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, the author, credits belief with the biggest part of success. Duhiggs discusses, "laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Procter and Gamble, Target superstores and NFL winning teams." Implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death. Duhiggs gives the Alcoholic Anonymous process as one of the examples about how to change patterns and the controversial piece is the belief part. For habits, Duhigg writes that the highest impact piece to solid habits is belief.

I would agree.

Mike Babcock and his passionate but intense leadership style gave the team quick successes. For the first time the team wants to believe, but when things get tense, their body language slumps, they look depressed and they fall back to their own game style and their old habits.

Then came the game changer. The Capitals were in town to play the Leafs at the ACC in front of their fans. This season, the Leafs had a string of failures when on the home ice and the rumour was it was due to nerves in front of the fans. The Capitals were a particularly tense opponent as they had taken out the Leafs in the playoffs and had played an aggressive game. The game began badly as the Caps scored early. Then again. By the end of the second period, the Leafs' deflation was evident.

After the break, Babcock had got the team energized again and the Leafs managed to pull back to get just one behind the Caps. In the final five minutes, the Leafs were at the Cap's net battling it out when Babcock made a big scene. He pulled the Leaf's goalie from the net. I was shocked. What the heck... Then I could see Babcock's reasoning - to add another player to the ice to escalate the pummeling on the Caps' net. Babcock's public decision to up the ante on the final push to get the needed goal showed the Leafs their coach believed.

Babcock burnt the boats.

Unbelievable! Would his team step up to give the Caps a pounding? Not just Matthews? By golly, they did. Every player gave it their all. They played as if it was the Stanley Cup finals. There was no holding back.

The Leafs started to believe and what a final five minutes. at the eight second spot, the Caps main player scored on the Leaf's empty goal. A fan threw a hat on the ice to recognize the hat trick. Until the final moment, that night, the fans stayed riveted in their seats. They watched as each of the players gave Babcock every squeeze of their energy.

Most teams are not teams. They are a group of guys who play together. Babcock's symbolic strategy where he put himself out in front of the fans and the media for a public drubbing made a difference. I wondered what would be the mood and atmosphere in the changing room that night after pulling the goalie? Would the Leaf's mood be different if Babcock had not created that drama with the Caps?

Jacoline Loewen
Babcock changed up the feelings. (Am I allowed to say feelings when writing about sports?) He not only showed that he believed, he put his own credibility on the line. Babcock gave the Leafs fans a spectacle and my favourite photograph from 2017 - see above. The tweets and the media had a different tone. There was excitement and appreciation.

When you see belief in other people's eyes, it seems real. The Leafs players saw their fans stick around to the end and the support given. That will remain. The power of a group to reach each team member to stay strong is immense. Babcock's gesture will have been significant enough to change the psychology of the team. The next time they face the Caps, they will have the fortitude to power through the game and bring their practiced plays.

Since then, the Leafs are playing differently. A conviction is emerging about the strength of Babcock's strategy. The Leafs are playing a tighter, precision game.

Habits change with a group. Babcock's belief is compelling enough that the young Leafs players are getting behind him and giving it their extra talent. Maybe this year it will be enough to get the finals? Here's believing!