It started some 15 or so years ago when I first met this particular couple, they were a little skeptical in the beginning, their previous advisor thought them too small to really take much interest in them (so they were adrift in the world of expensive mutual funds), but I was relatively new (to the wealth management world) and excited to take on the challenge (and to this day, still excited to take on folks who want to structure a plan for their future).
My trading background had taught me all I needed to know about risk, but the institution who brought me in to the world of wealth management and financial advice was more interested in my "gathering assets" than training me in the art of investing those assets. There was definitely a bias (financial incentive for me) to place those assets in the institution's brand name funds, however there were lots of other mutual fund companies (too many really) trying to steer me in their direction.
In the early years, believing that there must be a better way, I wandered about the world of wealth management, focusing on what I knew (fixed income assets) and avoiding (for the most part) giving control away to a mutual fund manager who I could not even speak to directly about their plans for my client's money. I was invited to hear them speak in front of a room full of other advisors, but it was all just a smooth sales pitch for the most part (but got me a couple of credits for my "continuing education" requirement).
As luck will have it, I was introduced to a group (based out of Los Angeles, of all places) who were starting a new type of wealth management service, trying to create a better client experience and bring in a different, less costly and more holistic approach (which aligned well with my philosophy).
They introduced me to what I would later call the "Wealth Forecast" and the rationale behind its purpose of "discovering" all that was important to a client.
So my clients (this couple in particular, ready to retire some 15 years later), who had stuck it out with me in the early going, were treated to a much superior platform for investing and long-term wealth management as the LA company mentored me along.
Most importantly, I felt connected to the LA firm because they were open and accessible about what they were doing with my clients money and as I grew more comfortable with them, was able to relay this on-going management experience back to my clients (which in turn gave me a better connection with my clients).
In time, as I worked my way up the "learning curve", I became ready to take on the portfolio management role myself and using all the guidance attributed to my LA friends, set about to create my own Canadian version of good client care.
The couple in question (and all my other clientele) were treated to a further reduction in cost and the added value of my personal touch toward risk and return for their portfolios.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of this story and some more insight into what this couple has been able to accomplish with their dedication to making a plan, sticking to it and retiring successfully.
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Scott Tomenson,CIM Managing Partner, Chief Investment Strategist