Fundamental equity team

Located in Toronto and Montreal, the Manulife fundamental equity team averages over 10 years of experience and has more than CAD$7.1 billion* in retail and institutional assets under management.

The fundamental difference

  • Tangible free cash flow—Finding companies that generate cash in excess of what they need to run their business is a critical part of driving long-term growth.
  • Deep understanding of business quality—By getting to the root of profitability, finding how much capital is being used to generate returns, how sustainable the results are, and adjusting, the team can view and compare companies through the same lens.
  • Intense focus on valuation—The team tests different scenarios that can affect cash flows, uncovering potential upside, downside, and base-case scenario for each company they analyze and value, which allows them to have confidence in when to buy, hold, or sell.

Get to know the Manulife fundamental equity team

They take a three-pronged approach to uncovering opportunities:

  1. Free cash flow—The team seeks companies that generate cash in excess of what’s needed to run the business. If a company can’t generate more cash than it needs to operate, the long-term viability of the business can be cause for serious concern.
  2. Sustainability—The team develops a deep understanding of the quality of the business itself and its managers. Not only must the business generate free cash flow, but it must also be sustainable and growing. A disciplined management team that knows how to reinvest that cash wisely to create greater cash flows in the future is a hallmark of a successful business. 
  3. Valuation—The team uses in-house, proprietary valuation models to stress-test scenarios that can affect business cash flow. Global and local economic factors, new regulations, tariffs, and many more factors can have a material impact on businesses.

Meet the team behind the funds

Photo of the team

Left to right:

Jakub Sulimierski, CFA

Senior Investment Analyst
Investing since 2011

Derek Chan, CFA, CGA, CPA

Senior Investment Analyst
Investing since 2008

Christopher Mann, CFA

Portfolio Manager
Investing since 1999

Patrick Blais, CFA, FSA

Head of the Fundamental Equity Team, Senior Portfolio Manager
Investing since 1998

Steve Bélisle, CFA

Senior Portfolio Manager
Investing since 2003

Cavan Yie, CFA

Portfolio Manager
Investing since 2008

Brian Chan, CFA

Senior Investment Analyst
Investing since 2009

Team members and responsibilities listed are as of September 30, 2020.


Investment process

The fundamental equity team believes that long-term stock returns are linked to a company’s ability to use its assets to generate income. To find such companies, they use a proprietary method of calculating economic earnings and cash-based return on capital. Their investment approach is best characterized as style neutral, fundamental in nature, and done on a company-by-company basis.

Graphic illustrating their investment process.  At the centre of their process is finding companies with tangible free cash flow. This is supported through:  A strong competitive advantage Predictable cash generation Effective business strategy Disciplined management team Good reinvestment opportunities.   Seeking tangible free cash flow feeds into finding quality companies with sustainable businesses and with a good valuation.  Under quality companies, they seek:  Proven businesses consistently delivering high cash returns Attractive and predictable operating margins Strong balance sheets, while avoiding excessive leverage  Under sustainable businesses, they seek:  Recurring and predictable cash flows Disciplined capital allocation Cash generation that covers capital requirements and dividend payments.

This disciplined approach to seeking companies with strong capital efficiency and the right kind of cash flow can help portfolios generate returns in up markets and offer protection in down markets.

Portfolio managers may use some or all of the techniques described. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee returns or eliminate risk in any market environment. Characteristics, guidelines, and constraints are for illustrative purposes only. They may change at any time and may differ for a specific account.


Funds/pools managed

Profits are a matter of opinion. Cash flows are a matter of fact.

—Patrick Blais, Head of Canadian Core Equity, Senior Portfolio Manager

* As of September 30, 2020 CAD.

Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the fund facts as well as the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Manulife Funds (including the Trust Pools) and Manulife Corporate Classes (including the Class Pools) are managed by Manulife Investment Management Limited (formerly named Manulife Asset Management Limited). Manulife Investment Management is a trade name of Manulife Investment Management Limited. Manulife, Stylized M Design, and Manulife Investment Management & Design are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it, and its affiliates under license.

Any amount that is allocated to a segregated fund is invested at the risk of the contractholder and may increase or decrease in value. Returns shown are after the MER has been deducted. Performance histories are not indicative of future performance. For information on guarantees, fees and expenses that may apply to segregated funds, please read the information folder, contract and fund facts of the segregated funds. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife) is the issuer of insurance contracts containing Manulife segregated funds and the guarantor of any guarantee provisions therein.  Manulife Investment Management is a trade name of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company.

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