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While most asset management firms saw their portfolios plummet during the 2008 financial crisis, the core fund managed by Canadian firm Marret Asset Management Inc. fell by a mere 2.7 percent.

Marret Founder and President Barry Allan attributes that to a philosophy the firm has stuck to since its inception in 2001 —  opting for low-volatility, steady-return investments over their riskier, more volatile counterparts.

“If you want to beat an index over the long term, the best way to do it is not to lose money when the market goes down,” Allan says. “You do not have to outperform the market when the market is up 20 percent if you break even when the market is down 10 or 15. If you do that over the long term, you will have a higher return in the market, but you will have taken dramatically less risk to produce that return.”

Allan says that the financial recession actually helped his business grow as investors flocked to the firm, a rarity in the financial services world. Today, the company oversees more than $6 billion in high-yield and investment-grade corporate debt assets for institutional, high-net-worth and retail clients.

“We fundamentally believe that for an asset management company to be strong, it must have diversified distribution channels,” he says.
Marret is 100-percent employee-owned, another attribute that Allan says sets the firm apart from its larger competitors.

“I really believe that in the asset management business, the key ingredient for success  is trust,” he explains.

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