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Top picks for conservative and aggressive investing

With the deadline for registered retirement savings plan contributions nearing on Feb. 29, Shirley Won asks several mutual fund experts to give their top picks for conservative and aggressive investors

Dave Paterson

fund analyst, D.A. Paterson & Associates Inc.

IA Clarington Canadian Conservative Equity (conservative)

The Canadian equity fund, which is co-managed by George Grazer and Douglas Kee of Leon Frazer and Associates Inc., focuses on dividend-paying stocks. More than half of the value-oriented fund is invested in pipelines, banks, utilities and telecommunication firms. "This is a type of fund that will do well in very volatile market conditions," but lag the broader market when equities are rising, Mr. Paterson said.

Dynamic Power American Growth (aggressive)

The U.S. equity fund, which is managed by Noah Blackstein of GCIC Ltd., has a high portfolio turnover, tends to be more volatile than its peers, and makes big sector bets in areas such as technology. But the fund has also outpaced the market and its peers longer-term, and is well positioned because "I believe the United States will be one of the stronger markets in the coming year," Mr. Paterson said.

Dan Hallett

fund analyst, HighView Financial Group

Mawer Canadian Balanced Retirement Savings (conservative)

The balanced fund, which is overseen by Greg Peterson of Mawer Investment Management Ltd., invests in the institutional series of the Mawer stock and bond funds. With a low fee of less than 1 per cent and excellent management, this fund is "truly a one-stop solution for more than just novice investors," Mr. Hallett said. "An investor could use this fund for their RRSP well into six figures."

Castlerock Global Leaders (aggressive)

The value-oriented global equity fund, which has been run since 2006 by Bill Kanko of Black Creek Investment Management, is "a case of a truly skilled manager coming off a bad year [15-per-cent loss in 2011]," he said. There is no guarantee the value-oriented fund couldn't face another similar year, but "buying a great manager after a weak period" increases chances for a successful investment over the longer term.

James Gauthier, vice-president of investment funds, DundeeWealth Inc.

Mackenzie Sentinel Corporate Bond (conservative)

The high-yield fixed-income fund, which is run by Boston-based Putnam Investments, invests in U.S. and Canadian corporate bonds, and hedges its foreign currency back to Canadian dollars. While there are risks to non-investment-grade bonds, they offer attractive yields of 7 to 8 percentage points higher than U.S. Treasuries, while balance sheets of many issuers are strong, Mr. Gauthier said.

Mutual Discovery Fund


The value-oriented global equity fund is run by Philippe Brugère-Trélat and Peter Langerman of Mutual Series, a unit of Franklin Templeton Investments. "The idea is to buy a dollar of assets for 50 cents," Mr. Gauthier said. "There is a big focus on tobacco names right now." High-profile U.S. investors such as Carl Icahn and Wilbur Ross have partnered with Mutual Series on potential takeovers, he said.

Salman Ahmed

fund analyst,

Morningstar Canada

CI American Value


The U.S. large-company fund, which is run by David Pearl of New York-based Epoch Investment Partners, focuses on undervalued stocks. It owns firms whose managers try to improve shareholder value through means such as dividend growth, share buybacks and acquisitions, Mr. Ahmed said. This fund can weather a tougher economy, but is likely to underperform when the risk appetite is high, he said.

Mackenzie Cundill Recovery (aggressive)

The global small- to mid-capitalization equity fund, which has been run since 1998 by James Morton of Singapore-based Santa Lucia Asset Management, focuses on distressed stocks or corporate turnarounds from restructurings or bankruptcy, Mr. Ahmed said. Mr. Morton's contrarian approach often takes him to more volatile emerging markets, but the fund has posted strong annualized returns of 10 per cent under his tenure.

Wednesday: Top ETF picks for your RRSP



FundCategoryMERAssets($ mil.)1 year toJan. 31/12ThreeyearsFiveyears10years
IA Clarington Cdn. Conservative Eqty.Canadian Equity2.43410.11.14%14.01%3.43%7.57%
Mawer Cdn. Balanced RSPGlobal Neutral Balanced0.98251.73.90%12.08%2.89%6.04%
Mackenzie Sentinel Corporate BondHigh Yield Fixed Income1.701309.84.49%14.78%4.59%5.89%
CI American ValueU.S. Equity2.43174.6-0.25%7.77%-3.36%0.09%
Dynamic Power American GrowthU.S. Equity3.61484.66.29%21.38%3.50%3.26%
Castlerock Global Leaders BGlobal Equity2.83202.5-14.84%10.28%-3.17%-1.11%
Mutual DiscoveryGlobal Equity2.77502.2-3.08%7.11%-1.94%
Mackenzie Cundill Recovery 'C'Global Small/Mid Cap Equity2.581241.6-20.84%18.80%-1.19%8.66%

Source: Globe Investor

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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