Our Views

Meet the Team: Jordan Schwann

An occasional blog series that introduces you to our Newport Private Wealth team members

In this occasional blog series, we take you behind the scenes to meet the team at Newport Private Wealth. Today, we’re highlighting Jordan Schwann, Managing Director & Portfolio Manager, who joined Newport in 2015.

We spoke with Jordan about how he got started in the financial services sector, what brought the Calgary native to Toronto and Newport after a stint in Australia, and how the work he’s doing on Newport’s Technology Committee is keeping the firm at the leading edge of change.

You got your start in the corporate world in the energy sector before moving to PwC as a consultant working in Australia. What was it about private wealth management and Newport that drew you?

I’ve always managed my own investments and followed financial markets closely, regardless of where in the world we lived or worked. I enjoy the challenge of balancing both left-brain and right-brain activities, which private wealth management provides in spades. Early in my career as a financial analyst, I spent long hours working with numbers and models. While it’s not everyone’s thing, it was something I enjoyed and learned from but knew applying analysis in the real world was a separate skill set. The fact that I now get to do both in my role with Newport is incredible.

The institutional, corporate investment world is very transactional. I find working with families and individuals to help them achieve their financial goals far more worthwhile than working with institutional clients who are benchmarking you against your peers.

I really liked Newport’s diversified investment platform and Investment Committee model, most often used by pension funds and family offices. But what I love most is interacting and talking with clients about whatever’s going on in their world. Communicating to them about what we’re doing to add value and generate wealth for them in a simple and straightforward way is very rewarding.

As a Portfolio Manager (PM), what does your day-to-day look like?

Like the rest of the PM team, I spend a lot of time with clients talking about their portfolios, their wealth planning needs, as well as meeting with prospective clients. We have a highly personal touch that’s focused on building long-term relationships with the families we work with.

I’ve been with Newport for nearly eight years, so I’m considered one of the “older young guys” now, and I’ve just naturally gotten more involved in mentoring, training, and the management of our business. That’s also very satisfying, as I can put my experience to work to build a strong team.

How would you sum up what Newport does and your role in that?

Clients trust us to evaluate risk. It’s our job to work through and figure out a good risk opportunity, and if it’s worth taking. There’s this idea that risk is bad, but if you want to earn a return ahead of risk-free rates, you need to embrace the idea of good risk and diversify accordingly. Our job is also to remind clients of this approach, and how to balance it against investment return over time.

Three years ago, I was asked to join Newport’s Investment Committee, which sets the strategy for our investment platform and digs more into the nuts and bolts of how we’re investing the assets we have under management. We meet weekly to review our holdings and make investment decisions and periodically meet with our sub advisors to monitor their performance. Staying on the lookout for new partners and investment opportunities and talking about our asset mix and how it all fits into the big picture is also an important part of what we do.

You’re one of Newport’s Technology Committee project leads. What’s the Committee focused on?

When our client portal was built several years ago, it was best-in-class and continues to do a good job, but technology has become faster and better over the years. Functionality makes life easy. From your banking, to ordering your groceries or paying your bills, a seamless online experience has become table stakes for service providers. Having a digital interface that’s quick, easy to use, and intuitive is important. It was time to develop the next generation of technology for our clients.

We’re managing our clients’ life savings. We’re a high-tech, high-touch business that needs every competitive advantage, so I put up my hand and asked, “how are we going to improve our digital client experience?” I’m not a tech guy, but I’m part of a great team leading the charge!

As we dug into it, it became clear that it was about more than client usability; our back-end systems needed to become more efficient too. So, it’s grown into a much bigger project that includes upgrading our portfolio management system with a state-of-the-art system that excels in data control, accounting, and billing. Along the way we determined we can combine that system with a Salesforce-powered client interface that our client service team can easily work in, and that will be able to scale as we continue to grow.

That seems pretty all-consuming! What do you do outside of work?

Well, my wife and I have two boys. One just turned five, and the other is nine months old. Between work life and family life there isn’t a lot of spare time but that’s just the stage we’re at and it’s a lot of fun to watch everything unfold. I have been known to escape to play golf or watch the Jays when my window appears!

A lot of my colleagues are at the same stage in life, and it’s great to share our family experiences—it’s like having a built-in support system. The idea of “team” is important to me, and it’s a big reason why I joined the company.