Lessons Learned from Mr. Warren Goldring

Author: Tristan Sones

October 10, 2017

Lessons Learned from Mr. Warren Goldring

Over 20 years ago, in January of 1996, I began my career in investment management on the fixed income desk at AGF. As with many new roles, I was assigned a number of duties to start, including manually writing our trade tickets; blue tickets for buys and pink tickets for sells. I was also tasked with calling dealers to place out our overnight money, which was basically the combined cash position of all our funds. At the time, we had a few hundred million in overnight money and I remember the first time I placed it I was so nervous, I could barely read out the amounts. Needless to say, it didn’t take long to get desensitized to large numbers.

We didn’t have many funds back then. In fact, we had so few, the monthly returns fit on one page and each person in the firm received their own paper copy so they could see how the funds were performing. AGF Money Market Account was one of our biggest funds.

At the end of each day, fund accounting staff would bring down net asset value reports, or “NAVs”, for all of the funds showing their holdings and respective performance. Each fund manager would go through their NAV to make sure things were on track.

Each fund had their own binder and one of my jobs was to update each fixed income binder and walk them over to Mr. C.W. Goldring’s office for his review. Walking into the CEO’s office was extremely intimidating at first but his nice, calm demeanor wore that away pretty quickly.

Going through the portfolios was essential to ensure each holding was recorded and priced correctly. It was also a great way for myself, being new to investment management, to see how each of the holdings reacted to the day’s events. Mr. Goldring would swear by this practice, going through each NAV almost line-by-line with his mechanical pencil and his wooden ruler. I learned to check them the same way and for years following, I would go through my own portfolios just like Mr. Goldring did.

His pencil and ruler have been handed down over time and I’m lucky to be the steward of them today. Reflecting on AGF’s 60th anniversary this year, I recently went back to look at them and found an old cassette tape that I had forgotten about.

Listen to a clip from Mr. Goldring’s interview here:

It’s an interview that Mr. Goldring did on bonds. It took me ages to find my old Sony Walkman in order to play it, but the recording was still intact. There was no date on the tape but from listening to it, I figure it’s from around 1989. Perhaps what is most interesting is the title – “Investment Strategies for Uncertain Times”. If not for the old plastic case and dated cassette tape, such an interview could be conducted today – a great reminder that although bond markets have drastically changed since that original interview, many of those same lessons still apply today, such as looking globally for investment opportunities and staying measured and even-keeled like Mr. Goldring during the market’s ups and downs.

I have a lot to be thankful for and we have all benefited from the wisdom of Mr. Goldring. Thankfully, we don’t have to manually fill out those trade tickets anymore!

The contents are provided for informational and educational purposes, and are not intended to provide specific individual advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax. Please consult with your own professional advisor on your particular circumstances.

Written by

Tristan Sones, CFA

Vice-President and Portfolio Manager

AGF Investments Inc.

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