* 3 Ps of climbing and investing: plan, prudence, patience
* Adviser set to scale Antarctica’s highest mountain
* Says stock markets mimic climbing expeditions
By John McCrank
TORONTO, Nov 26 (Reuters) - When Francois Langlois tripped on his way down from the top of Mount Everest, he survived because he took the same principles that have guided him in his career as a financial adviser with him to the mountain.
The seasoned mountaineer, who is set to begin an attempt to scale Antarctica’s highest peak on Sunday, had clipped in to his rope just seconds before the fatigue of climbing to the top of the world caused a misstep, sending him hurtling 20 feet down the mountain before the rope stopped him.
“It’s a place where we could have said, ‘Oh, I’ve done this so many times, so I don’t need to clip in to the rope,’ but I took the time, even being tired, to clip in,” said the Montreal-based adviser at Manulife Financial (MFC.TO).
He had acted out of prudence, he said, one of the three principles he always applies to both climbing and finance.
“Everything I do in finance, I’ve come to realize, I do exactly in the mountains, and I call it the three Ps.”
The first P is having a plan, which means doing your homework and being prepared.
Planning helped Langlois conquer some of the world’s loftiest peaks, and if he makes it to the top of Antarctica’s Mount Vinson, he will be one of a small number of people who have conquered the highest mountain on all seven continents.
Before he climbed Everest, Langlois spent two years planning the expedition.
“It’s the same thing in finance,” he said. “When you’re building a portfolio for a client, you have to have a plan. You want to know exactly what your client’s objectives are and you build that plan with them: what are your goals, what is your risk tolerance, what is your time horizon, and so forth.”
The second P is prudence. Langlois said he’s always aware of the risks and hazards on a mountain, and knowledge and experience go a long way in helping reduce them.
“Same thing as in finance. When reviewing portfolios, you see the risks of the markets, the risks of investments, and you apply your knowledge as best you can to try to minimize those risks.”
The third P is patience. If the weather gets bad on the mountain, you wait it out, and make your move when the opportunity presents itself, Langlois said.
“It’s the same thing in finance. You have to sit and wait through tough times like market corrections. If you are prudent and you have a plan and quality investments, be patient, it’ll come back.”
To make his point, Langlois points to a chart of the stock markets over the past 50 years.
“You know, it looks exactly like a mountain climbing expedition,” he said.
“Sometimes you have to camp and then you come down a little while to rest, like on Everest. Then you go to a higher camp, and then you come back down to rest a little lower to acclimate. It’s just like the markets, they go up, but sometimes they go lower,” he said.
“The overall trend, over time, when you’re patient, is positive, and you hit the goal, which is the summit.”
Langlois, through his expeditions, has helped raise nearly C$4 million ($3.9 million) for a foundation that helps kids with cancer.
Readers can follow his progress on the mountain and help support his charity efforts at www.francoislanglois.com ($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Janet Guttsman)