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Sherif Samy, 30

Occupation

Financial analyst

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The portfolio

Includes exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and shares in various companies such as RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, BlackBerry and Tweed Marijuana.

The investor

Sherif Samy has a university degree in economics and the Certified Management Accountant designation. The core of his portfolio is passively invested in ETFs along lines of the Complete Couch Potato Portfolio on the Canadian Couch Potato website. The non-core part is actively invested in stocks.

How he invests

In his core portfolio, Mr. Samy is building a retirement fund. There is not much to do except add funds and rebalance every year. But he enjoys the hunt for companies to invest in, so maintains a non-core portfolio. One of his stock-picking approaches is to look for companies with "a strategy that is difficult to mimic or keep up with."

An example is Tweed Marijuana. The company was granted one of a dozen government licences awarded last year to grow and distribute medical marijuana. It is putting together deals and financing at a faster clip, gaining first-mover status in a market expected to grow rapidly – from 38,000 authorized users in 2013 to 450,000 authorized users by 2024, according to Health Canada estimates.

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He also searches for companies that have "some immunity to market fluctuations and a track record of steady dividend payments." Take RioCan REIT, owner of shopping malls across Canada. It has a diversified base of tenants, many in non-cyclical industries such as food retailing. Management has also brought down the payout ratio, which should better support the distribution and maybe even allow more frequent increases in the future.

Best move

"I purchased Dollarama around the time of its IPO [in 2009]. It more than tripled in value before I sold."

Worst move

"In the early 2000s, I invested in the airline company Canada 3000. But it went bankrupt because of too much leverage and the plunge in air travel after 9/11."

Advice

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"Take the time to invest in your own financial education. The people who manage your money may not … be looking after your best interests."

Want to share your strategies? E-mail mccolumn@yahoo.com

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