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Keith Lefebvre, 31

Occupation: Product manager

Portfolio: Toronto-Dominion Bank, Inter Pipeline Fund, Husky Energy, Bank of Nova Scotia, Sun Life Financial, IGM Financial, Saputo, Sysco, Procter & Gamble, General Electric, Reitmans, Walgreen Co., Yellow Pages Income Fund, Canadian Oil Sands Trust, Royal Bank of Canada, Johnson & Johnson, Canadian Pacific Railway, Leon's Furniture, Clorox Co., Telus, Fortis Inc., Diageo PLC, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Manulife Financial, Bank of America.

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Keith Lefebvre's approach is anchored around dividends. "I'm not as hardcore as some," he notes, as he has a few niche investments that play on demographics and trends, such as Scotts Miracle-Gro, which makes lawn and garden supplies, but most of his holdings are big companies with a history of increasing their dividends.

Why he's focused on dividends: "I just feel a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush," he says, a focus he regularly writes about in his blog at themoneygardener.com. "People focus on capital gains, but I've seen too many reports and studies that show that dividend-growing companies outperform."



Read more about dividend stocks:

  • Dividends rise and shine amid recession
  • How to find funds that deliver steady income
  • Payout ratio: A key tool for dividend sleuthing
  • That sweet spot: Reliable returns, just a little risk
  • Five fixes for yield-starved investors




His buy and sell strategy: "If I make a decision to buy a stock, I'll hold it through good times and bad. I'm absolutely not affected by fluctuations. I buy stocks for the dividend and because of the company's future." He does, however, sell when he feels he's made a mistake, as with Loblaw and Petro-Canada. "My maturity as an investor wasn't there yet." He bought Loblaw about three years back, but sold it eight months later. "Competition was the main factor for them getting hammered, and I thought at that point it was good value," he says, "But I couldn't see the turnaround happening as quick as it might have." As for Petro-Canada, he bought it about four years back and sold 12 months later. "It was a constant disappointment, because I'd see other energy companies trading with the price of oil, and Petro-Canada just didn't."

How he chooses: "I read and read and read, and I look for companies with a stable history and growing dividends." He likes companies such as Procter & Gamble, and Johnson & Johnson. "They have a long history of growing dividends, and products you cannot see going away any time soon." For example, Mr. Lefebvre would agree with the line from the Monty Python movie, Life of Brian: "Blessed are the cheese makers." A current favourite of his is Quebec-based Saputo Inc., the milk and milk products producer. "Cheese is such as staple product, Saputo is getting into more and more stores, it's well run, and they're expanding into the U.S."

Best move: For Mr. Lefebvre, a standout has been Inter Pipeline Fund, which he's owned for three years. "It's a utility, and so it doesn't fluctuate with the price of oil and gas. They just get contracts to run it through their pipelines. It's like a wired phone line but one that's not going out of style."

Worst move: "Looking at my portfolio right now, GE sticks out like a sore thumb. I wouldn't have expected it to get hit so hard in the [financial]crisis. It's really a tale of two businesses. I like their alternative energy infrastructure play in areas like water filtration for the long term. But all their exposure to the financing [sector]really hurt them."

Advice: Young people overemphasize riskier investments, in Mr. Lefebvre's opinion. "There's something to be said for slow and steady. It doesn't occur to people that you can have money in market and not be gambling, that you can get fairly solid income and be with companies that aren't going away. It's a hard strategy to argue with in the long term."

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Special to The Globe and Mail

Want to share your strategies?

tony.martin@sympatico.ca

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