Jason Joanis, BMO Wealth Management
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Jason Joanis, director, senior portfolio manager, BMO Wealth Management.
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What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
The most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of my job boil down to the same answer, but they come at different phases of being a portfolio manager. I started at M&I Trust Co., now BMO Private Bank, in early 2010. In 2010 the markets were much improved from the 2008 crisis, but there were still high levels of investor skepticism and trepidation. Investors in 2010 were either debating to sell and take their profits or just ride it out, but still scared to add more cash to their investment portfolio.
The easy part of my job at BMO Wealth Management is crafting the investment plan; the most challenging part is getting the clients to implement their investment plan. Many investors believe they are going to market time their investment perfectly or market time the next correction, but I’ve found out no one has a 1.000 batting average on buying and selling their portfolio. Once the investment plan is implemented the journey doesn’t stop there, and in many cases the journey will continue for several years. Subsequently, the most rewarding aspect of the job is the journey to a successful investment plan. Enjoy the journey.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
I don’t read much fiction — mainly it’s non-fiction books, investment newsletters, or annual shareholder letters. My most frequent reads include Warren Buffett, Gary Shilling, David Rosenberg, and Michael Lewis. Each of these writers is uniquely intelligent, and they can easily explain a sophisticated subject matter to a novice in a few choice words. This one simple but very important trait is what I admire and try to emulate with my client base.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
My father told me once that if you don’t have the proper tools in your toolbox, the job will take longer to finish and probably be finished with sub-standard results. In addition to undergrad or graduate degrees, investment professionals are typically encouraged to enroll in the program that administers the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. The six-month, self-study curriculum is administered over three tests that cover concepts and skills that will be used at all stages of your investment career. I was fortunate enough to complete the program before I was married and had a family. The high point was my future wife reading me that final letter saying I had successfully passed level three.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Take more risks with your investments and with your career. The estimated risks always seem much greater in the deciding moment than the actual risks relative to the outsized returns.