Ira Gluskin is still alive in 2023. Is it really true?
Gluskin, Ira (1942–202?)
As you are aware, respectable publications like The New York Times prepare obituaries of notable people ahead of time so that they can respond quickly to their passing. OPM Wire goes a step further by publishing obituaries of the soon-to-die individuals ahead of time so they are aware of what will be said about them. It’s merely common courtesy.
I noticed that Ira now has an entity with the name Irager. (Not to be confused with the well-known nightclub in the metaverse called iRager.) The “ger” stands for Gerry Sheff, who founded Gluskin Sheff with Ira. So, even after all these years, those two are still together. Ira continues to serve as chief investment officer. This first post is about Ira; later posts will discuss some of his activities as well as Gerald Sheff.
The first 100 years, by Ira Gluskin
Detailed background for my readers who are baby boomers but may not be old enough to remember. Like Donald Trump, another fan of Palm Beach, Ira Gluskin’s business career began with a modest million-dollar loan. In Ira’s case, it was TD Bank. That’s because he was supposed to invest that in the first fund of the investment company, Gluskin Sheff, which he co-founded in 1984.
Ira, a well-known real estate analyst, collaborated with Gerald Sheff, a manager at the time at the real estate investment trust Cadillac Fairview. Sheff and 24 other clients, many of whom worked in real estate, each contributed a million dollars. Since then, their company has been linked to high net worth investing. Early on, the company made a crucial choice:
“We were one of the first investment managers in Canada to manage assets on a Performance Fee basis, with the founding philosophy that the interests of clients and their investment manager should be aligned.“
How considerate of them! Whatever the motivation, it turned out to be a very wise decision. Gluskin Sheff was a rare money manager that combined smart investing and smart marketing during the time of the original founders. Their main strategy compounded at 14% net over the first 20 or so years. Asset growth averaged 26% per year.
A few billions in AUM were eventually amassed by the partners, who transformed Gluskin Sheff into a “luxury brand” in wealth management and eventually went public with the business in 2006. Being a Gluskin partner actually meant something, somewhat like being a Goldman partner back in the partnership era in Canada. Without a doubt, Gerald Sheff is the partner who is more assertive.
The founders left the company in 2013, and they even got into a legal dispute over some retirement benefits. In 2019, Onex purchased the business for $445 million.
Ira Gluskin has a long history of affiliation with Sinai Health outside of work, both as a major potential beneficiary and as a generous donor. Ira received a prehumous honorary degree from the University of Toronto in 2022 with summa cum aulde.
Ira Gluskin admitted that he has speculative tendencies in his convocation speech. For instance, he has been purchasing Tesla puts for a long time. In addition, he has been engaging in shady dealing outside of the open markets.
He was Porter Airlines’ primary early supporter. He works with a number of money management companies, including the REITs expert Vision Capital, as a client or advisor. He had previously been a member of Ewing Morris’ advisory board.
Ira Gluskin still has a soft spot for real estate. He serves on the boards of Tricon Residential, the European Residential REIT, and the newly established First Capital REIT. Additionally, he claims to have spent the past 15 years in prison with Newton Glassman’s private equity company, Catalyst.
At the centre of Establishment Toronto, Ira Gluskin and his wife Maxine Granovsky form a philanthropic power couple. Maxine is the current co-chair of the Sinai Health Foundation and the former chair of the Board of Trustees for the Art Gallery of Ontario.
You can easily find Ira’s numerous affiliations on Google. You might not be aware that he serves on the investment committee of The Jewish Federation of Palm Beach, though. Not necessarily, but I don’t think that was ground-breaking reporting. I mean, it would be interesting if I learned that he played basketball for the Filipino Basketball Association of Thunder Bay.
Over the years, I’ve gathered notes on Ira’s investment philosophy. He comes off as a reasonable investor who isn’t overly formal. I’m in the “cut your losses, let your winners run” camp. Ira Gluskin confidently refutes TO real estate persistent bears in the 2015 interview below by stating that immigration and the restrictions of the greenbelt are the important factors.
Naturally, this analysis has proven to be very accurate. In that interview, Ira offers yet another important nugget of knowledge that has stood the test of time. He suggested entering real estate because it is less competitive than finance when asked for advice for young people:
“Brainiacs and 24-hour workers make up the finance workforce. Some smart people and a large number of those who are fortunate enough to work in the much larger industry of real estate are present there.”
Ira Gluskin lost one senior portfolio manager as a result of his opposition to hedge funds in the 1990s. In the 2000s, he underwent a 180-degree turn, as he noted in a 2006 essay:
“Although our company manages a few hedge funds, I strongly advocate for regular people to invest in those that have a track record of success. However, I strongly advise against trading like a hedge fund yourself.“
Many well-known managers received their management training at Gluskin Sheff, most notably Brad Dunkley of Waratah Capital Advisors in recent years. I was hesitant to write about Ira because I believed that doing so would be akin to the Roman Observer interviewing the Pope for a Bay Street blog.
Or perhaps the Roman Observer summarising Moses is more appropriate. Moses had a shorter lifespan than Ira, only living to the age of 120, but life expectancies back then were much lower.
Ira Gluskin has done well with his personal real estate holdings. In 1993, he spent $3.5 million on a house in Forest Hill. Imagine how much it is now!
Additionally, he owns a home in Palm Beach. Gerald Sheff’s design sensibilities as a trained architect may have had an impact on the Gluskin Sheff offices’ reputation for being very well furnished. Ira, on the other hand, exhibits a marginally lesser level of environmental concern.
Ira’s character is totally understandable to me! I most certainly identify a propensity for compulsive honesty. His awkward dressing style, according to those who have known him, has significantly improved since he married Maxine Granovsky. At this AGO event, he seems to be making up for his earlier fashion ignorance. Or perhaps he came as a young Hugh Hefner because this was a costume party.
The fact that so many people in the investment sector appear to prosper well into old age is one of its attractions. Irager, which was founded when the founders were in their 70s, had in fact thought about accepting funding from outside clients at one point.
Despite the fact that Ira Gluskin is still active and not forgotten, I have tagged this story on my website with the “Memba them?” label in order to avoid offending him in any way. The moment being.