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Interview with Pierre Fournier

Professor Pierre Fournier offers a seminar on understanding the stock market. The seminar is designed for students and investors who want to build and manage a successful portfolio for the long-term investor. The guidelines are used are Warren Buffett’s investment strategy. His lectures demonstrate how to build a balanced portfolio, adjust it for risk and trade position as needed to maintain returns while minimizing risk. There is also a focus on how to protect and grow your investment by allocating your asset mix to the right places at the right time while generating a stable income from your portfolio.

We caught up with Professor Fournier to learn more about his experience, the seminar, and why students should join.

What were your motivations for offering this seminar?

Understanding and analyzing stock markets are a passion and commitment for me and any opportunity I have to share my knowledge with students about this topic is ideal.

What is the setup of the seminar?

The seminar is ten hours long in total, spanning over multiple sessions. I like to keep it between 10 - 11 students per session to make it more personalized. My goal is to teach students how to build a diversified portfolio for the long term investor, using dividend growth stocks. The portfolio follows TSX and Dow Jones sub-index, and I also include examples of businesses that should be included in the index.

Why did you choose to follow Warren Buffett’s investment strategy as opposed to another?

Warren Buffet is a successful investor. His guidelines are easy to understand and while they’re old school, in the long term, they are proven to be successful.

The advantage of the long term is that you can benefit from the "compounding effect". Over the long term, the stock and dividend increase and reinvest dividends are one of the keys to building wealth. Given enough time, compounding can produce stunning results.

How advanced and in-depth would you say your seminar is?

This seminar is a great opportunity to learn, but a student might struggle if they don’t have any prior knowledge about stock markets. I would say an intermediate amount of knowledge is recommended.

How are students supported after the seminar is completed?

I’ve had many students who will open a TFSA and ask me for my advice and view of the market and if it's a good idea to buy a particular stock.

What would you say to someone who is about to launch their investment career or thinking about investing in their free time?

Students should begin by opening a TFSA trading account within their bank, educate themselves by reading business-related news, and practice using stock simulation apps to build confidence and knowledge about the market.

How should a student, who doesn’t have any experience with investing, learn about the practice?

If a student is interested in finance and investments, it is important, to begin with educating themselves. They should start by reading news about business trends on a daily basis. Reading Bloomberg and CNBC is a great way to learn about market trends, BNN Bloomberg on TV is another valuable resource.

What advice would you have for a short term investor?

Avoid short term investments if possible, short term investors focus a lot on speculation. It’d be similar to playing at the casino.

Does JMSB currently offer a class that covers what you are teaching? If not, do you think they should and why is it beneficial?

This seminar is a good extension of the finance department’s current class offerings. I really like the ten-hour lecture style of this seminar because the topics I teach are very specific, I wouldn’t want to compromise that and turn this into a lecture.

If a student is interested in learning more about your seminar, where can they get that information?

I promote the seminar on the CASA-JMSB and FISA Facebook page, there are also posters in S1 and S2 of the MB building. Whenever a new posting goes up on those Facebook pages, I get students emailing me immediately and the seminars fill up within an hour of the posting.

How has FISA supported this seminar?

Back in Summer 2018 when I introduced this project to FISA, they endorsed it immediately and helped to promote. They also covered any costs associated, such as the printing of the posters. Zoe Beauchemin, FISA’s former VP of Marketing, managed the promotion of this seminar.

JMBR would like to thank Professor Fournier for taking the time to speak with us about his experience and his seminar. If you’re interested in joining or have any questions about his seminar, you can email him at

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