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Mutual Fund News


Special to The Globe and Mail

Doug Cronk, 52


Pension fund investment officer.

The portfolio

Toronto-Dominion Bank (10 per cent); exchange-traded funds (90 per cent), comprising iShares DEX Short Term Bond, Vanguard Total Bond Market, iShares S&P/TSX Capped REIT, Vanguard REIT (U.S. real estate), iShares S&P/TSX 60 Index, Vanguard Large-Cap (U.S. stocks), Vanguard European Pacific and Vanguard Emerging Market.

The investor

Trained as a chartered financial analyst, Doug Cronk works for a Vancouver-based pension fund. His responsibilities are on the strategic oversight side, and include monitoring the fund's asset allocation.

The approach

Although he works alongside stock pickers, he's not a fan of active investing. "Forget picking stocks," he urges. "Pension plans see all the investment managers out there. The really good ones get it right 60 per cent of the time. How can individual investors expect to pick stocks?"

Not surprisingly, his portfolio is based on the passive-investing approach, and uses low-cost, broad-based ETFs to achieve diversification over major asset classes. He's quite happy with the annual fees of only 0.21 per cent.

Interestingly, he blends his passive approach with a top-down, value orientation. Right now, he is collecting cash in his short-bond ETF and becoming overweight in bonds until the stock market corrects and offers better value - at which time he will rebalance to his strategic asset mix.

Best move

"I was working for TD Bank in the early 1980s and so I bought TD in 1983 with a wee bit of money I inherited from my mother. I rolled it into my RRSP as contributions and just let it be. The dividends reinvest automatically. The share price has split three times. It's worked out well. Thanks Mom."

Worst move

"Right out of school, I bought Patrick Computer Systems on the advice of a school buddy with $1,000 I didn't have. There were no winners."


"Keep it simple. Get balanced. Get diversified."

More advice can be found at Institutional Investing for Investors, Mr. Cronk's blog ( The main theme is that individual investors can look to pension funds for guidance.

"Pension plans live and breathe oversight and due diligence. Find one you like and piggyback off their work. Mimic what they do. For free."

Want to share your strategies?


© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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