Before launching Pratte Portfolio Management, Philippe and Raymond Pratte were operating an independent practice within a financial institution. Always looking for innovative solutions to improve the services they provided their client base, and considering the lack of latitude specific to their position in a more conventional securities brokerage firm such as this one, the father and son decided to apply for the registration of their own portfolio management firm. “We clearly have a strong entrepreneurial culture and we wanted to do our own thing,” says Philippe Pratte, President, Chief Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager.
With a keen interest in finance from a very young age, Philippe also dedicated a major part of his career to the sports industry. In fact, he notes certain similarities between finance, portfolio management in particular, and sports. “Even after making a bad decision, you have to pick yourself up and keep moving forward,” he explains. “The bell rings every day and you start over, i.e. the engine never stops running and you never know what the day will bring.” With a well established, entirely systematic approach, and a set of active software tools in constant operation, like a metronome marking the beat of the market, the firm assesses probabilities to provide its clients with an absolute return, and financial health.
Turning to local emerging managers for better investments
As a local emerging firm, Pratte Portfolio Management has the flexibility to develop powerful investment strategies which are constantly adapting to market conditions. Also, the proximity factor is beneficial to the company in a context like the current pandemic. “It’s important that we all support each other, whether it’s the neighbourhood grocery store or restaurant we choose to encourage, thinking about the entrepreneurs and the direct positive impact we can have,” Philippe points out. While some large companies were able to stay strong throughout this unprecedented time, many local merchants have faced significant challenges and Pratte Portfolio Management’s president knows the firm has been rather lucky, not having experienced any major setbacks during this global crisis.
Mr. Pratte also suggests that unlike very large portfolio & wealth management firms, emerging managers definitely focus on innovation, which may be profitable for their clients. “In my experience, en emerging manager is always challenging themselves and rethinking their strategy, instead of following the same principles that have fostered their growth to begin with,” Philippe observes. Much like some established mechanism, large companies replace their management teams on an ongoing basis to adopt the same practices, which are increasingly part of their MO. “Every day, I try to be a better manager, to improve my choices for the client and, although our approach is systematic, we review it continuously to determine if anything needs adjustment in order to generate more alpha or value with our portfolios,” he adds.
Current focus and next steps
The year 2020 was an excellent one for Pratte Portfolio Management, so the firm is focussed on the optimal management of an uninterrupted new business influx. Indeed, they must ensure the support team and required resources are available to run all these projects and welcome new clients as efficiently as possible. They make it a priority for everyone to have the same positive experience. “Right now, our challenges have to do with operating our business, as is the case for any high-growth company, whatever the industry,” Philippe mentions.
In addition to portfolio management, the firm’s experts provide investment fund management services. The company therefore aims to enhance its range of funds. “Our flagship product, the Pratte North American Equity Fund, gets very good results, attracting capital, so we want to maintain its performance and launch one or two new products in 2021,” Philippe says. Developing its sales networks, innovating and continuing to provide flawless service for their clients are a few of the other objectives Pratte Portfolio Management has set for the next few years.
As the firm’s president remarks, there are two sides to business development for a company, namely retention and acquisition. “That’s what we at Pratte Portfolio Management call ‘defense and offense’,” Mr. Pratte explains. “We want to remain highly skilled for defense, and keep improving our offense tactics.”