Baskin Financial Services
After more than a decade as a venture capitalist, David Baskin opened the doors to his own money management business, establishing Baskin Financial Services in 1992.
The company’s founding objective – to provide tailored portfolio management services for working professionals, a target market typically shut out by the industry – holds true today. Whereas the industry standard is to manage inherited wealth, institutional sector clients, or high net worth individuals, Baskin Financial Services focuses its money management efforts toward the earned wealth market segment, such as doctors, lawyers, or small business owners.
“When we began, it was very difficult [for a working professional] to get a portfolio manager,” Baskin told The Canadian Business Journal. “In those days, the entry point was about $1 million. We set ours at $250,000, with the theory being that we would attract the working professional market.”
And, that’s just what happened. Now more than 20 years in business, Baskin Financial Services manages more than 400 accounts accumulating nearly $500 million.
Providing money management services for the ‘moderately rich’, Baskin Financial Services has set its modern entry point at $500,000, meaning the company continues to attract the clients of which its industry peers have lost sight. The Baskin model of serving this client base has made for a profitable venture.
“We put a big priority on ensuring that the customer feels valued,” Baskin described. “We’ve aimed to provide excellent, responsive service. One of the ways we believe we have done that is by reporting on a monthly basis, whereas many in our industry only report quarterly.”
Performance aside, it is this commitment to customer service that separates Baskin Financial Services from its competition, particularly in the competitive portfolio management industry. As a whole, it’s one more reason why the firm has been successful.
“If you have good service and good returns, you should succeed over time,” Baskin explained. “Philosophically, we’re value investors, and we consistently apply those philosophies over time.
“That means we don’t change our market approach depending on what’s going on week to week, or even year to year. We have a delineated view of the market which, over time, can make money for clients. The market always recognizes value, you just have to be patient.”
Differences in stock price and company value can create tremendous marketplace swings, and this is where Baskin Financial Services capitalizes. The company’s vast understanding of the market fundamentals allows it to hold assets to the point that they are worth a premium to market value.
“We’re fundamentally driven investors, so we look for companies with a history of earnings, a strong balance sheet, and a sustainable business model,” Baskin explained. “If we can find and buy these companies at a price that we think is worth less than the market feels, and hold on to them over time, then it’s a pretty successful philosophy.”
Perhaps this philosophy was best realized during the recession, a time when Baskin Financial Services refused to sell a share and advised its clients to stay the course and not lose capital by selling at the bottom of the market.
“We don’t want to sacrifice what has made us successful just for growth, so that means that we can’t grow faster than our ability to service our existing clients,” Baskin summarized. “Most importantly, we understand how our clients can make money, and we do that consistently; we’re not blowing in the wind and changing our investment philosophy.”
Baskin Financial Services recognizes that its consistency and commitment to the fundamentals is the means to its success, characteristics that will carry forward the company’s achievements. Moving forward, Baskin Financial Services will grow the company as it has its clients’ portfolios — at a measured pace.