“CTI Capital Securities’ new hybrid advice platform targets the mass affluent”

 Investment Executive

Clients will initially sign up with CTI ePortfolio by filling in an online questionnaire then meet with a rep in person to confirm the answers before any money is invested

By Fiona Collie |

Montreal-based CTI Capital Securities is looking to enter the mass affluent retail financial services market with the launch of its hybrid advice platform, CTI ePortfolio.

CTI has focused on the institutional channel and mostly traded in Canadian provincial and corporate bonds since it was founded in 1987. “We have been servicing clients at the institutional level and we want to evolve and give that know-how to the retail level,” says Sophie Buu, CTI’s vice president of administration.

Similarly to digital wealth-management platforms (a.k.a robo-advisors), clients will initially sign up with CTI ePortfolio by filling in an online questionnaire covering topics such as the investor’s investment horizon and investment knowledge. The platform’s algorithm will then make an initial portfolio recommendation based on the answers.

Before any money is invested, however, clients will meet with a CTI representative in person to confirm their answers and to get a better understanding of their investment needs.

“We want to separate ourselves from the rest of the pack by saying we’re not electronic,” says Mark Chadakhtzian, chief financial officer and chief compliance officer with CTI. “It’s not like you’re going to sign up and you’re not going to hear from us.”

Once the information is confirmed, the client’s money is invested in a portfolio of ETFs. The portfolios can have a maximum of 25 holdings and cover all asset classes and regions from Canada, to the U.S. to globally focused ETFs. Growth-oriented or aggressive portfolios also have the option to use margin of up to 25%.

Investors must have a minimum of $100,000 to access CTI ePortfolio. The new platform has a management fee of 0.7% as well as the ETFs’ underlying management fees and a $9.99 trading fee.

For the time being, CTI is focused on working with clients in Quebec, but it’s also licensed in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. To that end, although the company will always try to meet with clients personally, Chadakhtzian says that the firm could use other means of communication, such as Skype, to work with clients in the future.

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