Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

TORONTO: July 13, 2009 -- Som Seif is President of Claymore Investments Inc. Photo by Della Rollins for the Globe and Mail.

Della Rollins/The Globe and Mail

Som Seif, president and chief executive officer of Claymore Investments, Inc., started the company six years ago, and now runs a $6.5-billion asset management fund with 23 staff. He spoke with The Globe and Mail about how he got where he is and where he's going now.



















































How do you manage?

Because we are a high-growth organization, from a management perspective, one thing I believe you need is to motivate people. You shouldn't be micromanaging everybody. You should be giving good directions but you let them do the rest. You let them go forward on their own. That's why I need people who are self-starters, responsible and accountable.

Story continues below advertisement

When was the last time you were impressed?

I am impressed a lot lately. We don't do performance reviews. But what I am impressed by is the energy in the organization to really go above and beyond.

I love hearing success stories. When I see other people take the initiative and make something of it, there are a lot of examples. I love seeing the little guys win.

One good example is Porter. Bob Deluce. He's done an [admirable]job of going and saying, "I'm going to fight the big guys." I look at their business, and it's do right for your customers and you will ultimately win.

There is also Anthony Lacavera of Wind. These people motivate me. I am impressed by them.

What keeps you up at night?

The business. Ultimately, every day I am always a nervous willy. We are an organization growing dramatically. We have so many great opportunities around us and we have limited resources. It's making sure we are constantly focusing and reprioritizing the best opportunity and not missing something. I don't sleep very well. Since I started Claymore, I haven't slept very well for six years.

Story continues below advertisement







What skills have best served you?

Open-mindedness. The best leadership skill is open-mindedness. It allows you to make mistakes. I am not a person who regrets. I don't have a lot of regrets. I have the ability to forget and move on. It's about focusing forward as opposed to backward. It's aggressiveness. I am a big believer that there is no such thing as the answer no. Everything is possible. It's just a question of what you are willing to do to get it.

What was the best advice you ever got?

You have to be humble. There is a fine line between confidence and cockiness.

Being humble is as important as being a good person. The best skills for business is truly being accountable. When you say something your word is your bond.

That's not just in business, that's in life.

Story continues below advertisement

I didn't come from money. I didn't come from a family who had everything. One thing I had was support. They always pushed me. It was never just good enough to be average. You had to be great. I'd come home with a report card – let's say I got an 85 – I wasn't always the best student. I'd be proud, and the first reaction from my mom would be, "Great, where's the other 15 per cent?" That was an important message for me.

If you weren't doing what you are doing now, where would we find you?

I always had a dream of being an architect. Growing up, I loved art and design. It's an area maybe in the future I'd love to get into. I hope that one day in my life I'll be able to spend my life focused on community, charity, more civic-based duties.

What was a big moment for you?

Setting aside the birth of my two baby girls, it's been the every day of building this company. It's this kind of giddiness I get every day when I wake up coming to work. We're doing amazing things, and it's always been a company I am passionate about. It isn't one moment. It's a bunch of moments.

The Stanford business school application reads: What is the most important thing for you and why? How would you respond?

Story continues below advertisement

My family. My daughters and my wife. My family will be the number one priority. Everything else is a means to supporting them and keeping them happy. All the things I do with Claymore are things that make me happy and make my family happy.

I love Canada. It welcomed me when I was a young boy. I came from Iran in 1979. That has inspired me a lot. I want to do a lot of things, good things too.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies