DoubleLine Podcasts

TSS Episode 121: CIBC Asset Management’s David Wong Talks Manager Selection, Asset Allocation

David Wong, Managing Director and head of the Portfolio Solutions Group at Toronto- and Montreal-based CIBC Asset Management, appears Aug. 2, 2022, as a guest with Sherman Show hosts Jeffrey Sherman and Samuel Lau. Among other topics, Mr. Wong discusses the differences between the far more fragmented banking system in the U.S. versus in Canada where the “Big Five,” including Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (2:30), have 80% market share; $200 billion CIBC Asset Management’s history and business (3:41); his role heading the firm’s manager research team (5:35), which analyzes investment managers across the globe and the firm’s own internal investment strategies “to find the best solutions for clients that best fulfill their objectives.”

While cautioning against “over-optimized” statistical approaches that work only in a back-tested manner for evaluating investments and investment managers, Mr. Wong describes (8:26) the portfolio solutions team’s analytical process, starting with long-term forecast modeling to help determine strategic asset class allocations. “From that, there’s a bit of an optimization, a bit of an art, a knowledge and awareness of the global markets in terms of the market-cap weightings out there, what’s the opportunity set. And then we’ll supplement that with kind of that subjective assessment of where the puck might go.”

Messrs. Wong, Sherman and Lau (19:25) devote much of their discussion to the art and science of selecting individual investment managers – an endeavor Mr. Wong says that is “more effortful than people want to believe.” He emphasizes the importance of going beyond the checkbox of manager credentials to assess their humility “and that open mindedness to know when they’re wrong.” He says gaining that insight into candidate managers that can only come through direct interviews with them. “Probably the biggest thing people get wrong” in the search for good forecasters (22:58), David Wong says, “is looking at past performance and all its variants” through simplistic attribute substitution and rear-focused metrics such as active share and R^2.

Guest Speaker Bio

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