Real talk with Anna Castro, Vice President and Director, Asset Allocation, TDAM


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Anna Castro is a Senior Portfolio Manager on the Asset Allocation & Derivatives Team at TD Asset Management Inc. (TDAM), which she joined in 2008. Her credentials are extensive and include an MBA from Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto, a B.Sc. in Management Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University, International Business and Japanese exchange scholarship, Sophia University and a CFA designation. Anna leads the Multi-Asset Portfolio Management Team responsible for global strategic, tactical, and absolute return asset allocation strategies for the managed solutions at TDAM and is a member of the TD Wealth Investment Policy Committee.

On a beautiful fall day in Toronto, we had an engaging "Zoom" meeting with Anna to learn about what motivates her in her career within the investment world, including some thoughts on the current investing environment.

What drives you when it comes to managing money?

Growing up in the Philippines and spending time in Japan, I have witnessed firsthand the long-term devastating impact of financial crises on families and societies. Living through the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and 2000 Dot-com bubble crisis, I knew that I wanted to be part of an industry where I could contribute to people's lives with purpose and in a positive way. Having started with an academic background in engineering and initially working in management consulting, I decided to transition to an investment management career in 2001. I am motivated to excel as a fiduciary of people's hard-earned money and contribute to their journey to achieve financial freedom.

What is the favourite part of your job?

In the past 2 years, everyone has dealt with their own personal battles living through the COVID-19 Pandemic. Knowing that our investment decisions have helped clients build wealth during this difficult time is very fulfilling for me and my team. It is very satisfying to know that we are an integral part of helping our clients achieve the goals that truly matter to them.

What keeps you up at night?

With the debate on the trajectory of economic growth and inflation in the coming years, what worries me is that most investors don’t quite realize that what worked well in the past may not work as well, or at all, in the future. My team and I obsess about ensuring the portfolios we manage have good sources of diversification under various market conditions and scenarios. To ensure we stay ahead and adapt with the unprecedented times, we use a diverse set of tools and strategies to help build portfolios to be successful in this environment. Some strategies include using options to help protect equities and generate additional income, incorporating real assets that have income that typically grows with inflation, actively managing currencies and tactically shifting exposures globally to provide a mix of quality equities that can grow dividends and earnings in various inflation and economic environments.

What's the best investment advice you've ever received?

Know what you own, why you own it and how much you can afford to lose.

Having travelled so much in your lifetime, the last couple of years must have been a challenge. How did you quench the travel thirst?

After visiting over 40 countries, I can safely say that travel adventure is one of the things I enjoy most in life. However, in the past 2 years, my husband and I had to pivot and adjust how we satisfy this enjoyment, which came with a newfound travel love – the country we call home. We did a road trip to Gaspe, Manitoulin Island, and "visited Europe" (i.e., Paris, Stratford, London, Brussels, Dublin in Ontario). In addition, we continued to enjoy our food adventures by supporting small restaurants that have different cuisines (unfortunately a bit of weight was gained in the process!).

Lastly, what are you reading these days?

As of late, I have begun to enjoy learning more about the psychology of decision-making, especially during uncertainty. I have recently started reading Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment by Daniel Kahneman. I have also really enjoyed some of Daniel's other books including Thinking, Fast and Slow and Nudge.

A bit unrelated to reading and more along the lines of relaxing, I have also been using more meditation apps lately. I even use them when I go hiking, which is a great way to disconnect from our crazy world – at least for a little bit.

The information contained herein has been provided by TD Asset Management Inc. and is for information purposes only. The information has been drawn from sources believed to be reliable. The information does not provide financial, legal, tax or investment advice. Particular investment, tax, or trading strategies should be evaluated relative to each individual’s objectives and risk tolerance.

Commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with investments in exchange- traded funds (ETFs). Please read the prospectus and ETF Facts before investing. ETFs are not guaranteed, their values change frequently, and past performance may not be repeated. ETF units are bought and sold at market price on a stock exchange and brokerage commissions will reduce returns. TD ETFs are managed by TD Asset Management Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Toronto- Dominion Bank.

Certain statements in this document may contain forward-looking statements (“FLS”) that are predictive in nature and may include words such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “intends”, “believes”, “estimates” and similar forward-looking expressions or negative versions thereof. FLS are based on current expectations and projections about future general economic, political and relevant market factors, such as interest and foreign exchange rates, equity and capital markets, the general business environment, assuming no changes to tax or other laws or government regulation or catastrophic events. Expectations and projections about future events are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, which may be unforeseeable. Such expectations and projections may be incorrect in the future. FLS are not guarantees of future performance. Actual events could differ materially from those expressed or implied in any FLS. A number of important factors including those factors set out above can contribute to these digressions. You should avoid placing any reliance on FLS.

TD Asset Management Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.

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