Jennifer So is a Portfolio Manager with BMO and has been a member of the BMO Asset Management Inc. team since September of 2015. In addition to her work as a Portfolio Manager, Jennifer is a specialist in Responsible Investing with an emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and sustainability. Jennifer also has knowledge of Investment Banking, Research, Institutional Sales, and seven years of experience as a Chartered Accountant, contributing to her robust knowledge of and experience with finance and banking.
My first job ever was… delivering newspapers.
The thing I enjoy most about being a Portfolio Manager is… no day is the same, I’m constantly learning, working with a smart team, and finding companies that can create long term shareholder value.
The best advice I received from a mentor was… develop your ability to communicate — written and verbal. Be succinct, combine numbers with a compelling narrative, and be confident. What is the point you want to convey? What is the action item for people to take away?
Investing with the intent to make a positive impact is important because… finding companies that are making a positive impact translates into opportunities for growth, which will translate into better financial performance and address the many sustainability challenges around us.
I would tell my 20-year old self… the key to success is to find a “sponsor.” This is different from a mentor. A sponsor, or, even better, sponsors is someone within your organization that is senior to you and will basically say nice things about you behind your back. They will put your name forward at promotion time, for new projects, and help support your initiatives. The really hard part is finding a sponsor, and often, each time why a sponsor takes a shine to you is different.
“Finally, governments, society, and capital allocators are working together to address the transition to a lower carbon economy and important social justice issues. We can all make a difference.”
If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed, it would be… good habits — they are the compound interest of self-improvement. Many people know that compounding interest (if not, Google it ASAP) builds long term wealth.
Small choices like a salad over burger, calling the client instead of leaving early, or volunteering for extra assignments doesn’t seem to matter much at the moment. But, as days turn to weeks, those tiny repeatable choices compound. These habits build your skill set and open doors in the future you never imagined.
The one piece of advice I would give someone who is starting to invest is… do your homework, read or listen (e.g., podcasts) to lots of different investors to see what style suits you. You need to have a passion for this business or you won’t last.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I am reliving my childhood through the lens of my two sons (8 and 10 years old). I’ve learned to skateboard (kinda), and play Dungeons and Dragons. I am a level 5 elf magic user.
The future excites me because… finally, governments, society, and capital allocators (the Paris agreement, carbon taxes, Greta Thunberg, ESG funds) are working together to address the transition to a lower carbon economy and important social justice issues. We can all make a difference.