A Wealth of Knowledge

Sundiq Adatia, chief investment officer at Sun Life Global Investments, discusses the state of the market

What is the current state of Canada’s investment industry?
It’s very solid. Our investment market has garnered much attention over the past few years, particularly during the financial crisis in 2008. During that period, Canada was seen as a role model, given how well it fared, particularly given how other global markets suffered. During the same period, the Canadian dollar was also looked upon as a “safe haven” currency due to the strong economy. Though things may have changed slightly since, Canada continues to be considered one of the stronger investment industries, and thanks to a wealth of commodities, a strong interest will always remain in Canada.

How has the scene evolved in recent years?
We may be losing a bit of our glare, given our softening economy, but Canada still remains well regarded by many. As the global economy improves and the demand for commodities and energy increases, Canada will once again be at the forefront. But for now, the US may be shining the brightest.

What impact has the global market had on Canadian investments?
As global markets become more and more interconnected, more attention is paid to outside the US market. Canada is definitely the lead when it comes to commodities, but it has also garnered much attention from a financial perspective. The Canadian banks and insurance companies have done tremendously over the past few years and have held up relatively well during the 2008 crisis. We have seen our share of the global market increase slowly but steadily over the past decade, and we expect that to continue. More and more, investors look for a sleeve of Canadian equities or bonds within their portfolio—for both a diversification and return perspective.

What are some current challenges the industry faces?
Though we have all been proud of how strong our Canadian dollar has been over the past few years, it has also created challenges from an investment perspective, particularly from a manufacturing perspective. This may be starting to change, as the Canadian dollar has lost some steam over the past few months. It would still need to fall another 5–10 percent to really make a bigger impact, but this definitely helps. Furthermore, given the recent global economic issues, most countries are trying to push the “buy the domestic” market onto their consumers, and this should continue to cause issues to Canada’s export business.

What’s your favourite part about working with investments?
It is always evolving and quite exciting. I have a ton of passion for the investment world and enjoy every aspect of it. However, knowing that we are managing money for people’s retirement makes it extremely special, and that gives me a great sense of pride.

Are there any resources/technologies that you think are vital for investors to be aware of?
I believe there are many great resources out there for people to get research from, but the key is just paying attention to the markets regularly and knowing what you are invested in and understanding the risks inherent in those investments. If you feel you cannot, dedicate the time to it and then ensure you have outsourced it to a professional money manager who can watch over your hard-earned money.

Which resources would you recommend investors use?
Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal. Those are both great for investors.