Over a career spanning more than two decades, philanthropy expert and frequent media guest, Janine Purves, Senior Financial Advisor, Assante Capital Management Ltd., has evolved her array of growth strategies – from referrals and thought leadership to seminars, workshops and intergenerational estate planning.
Putting values in the foundation
When I first started in this business in the late 1990s, I was lucky to have a thoroughly accomplished Advisor take me under her wing. She had recently started writing books on estate planning, and was struggling to balance speaking engagements against the demands of running an independent practice. Once I had learned the ropes and felt confident in my role, I acquired her business and she went on to be a full-time author and speaker.
Twenty years later, I can see how much that transaction benefitted my practice. At the time I had two small children, a mortgage and little room for error – so I agreed to pay an additional sum if more than nine out of ten clients remained after the transition. Through a collaborative effort, we successfully retained 96% of all families, giving me the freedom to hire my first assistant and grow the business in a way that aligned with my values.
For example, there was a lot of pressure to adopt a Deferred Sales Charge (DSC) model when I first entered the industry. I purposefully chose a different approach for my practice, in the belief that a less lucrative option was worthwhile if it led to deeper connections with clients. As the industry has transitioned to a fee-based model over the past decade, I feel that early decision has been validated.
When it comes to choosing COIs, quality and fit are the only benchmarks worth considering.
Given that these roles are based on my personal interests, they serve as a valuable meeting ground for professionals who are aligned with my philosophy and approach. For instance, my work with the Board of Trade introduced me to several like-minded accountants and lawyers who have now become Centres of Influence (COIs), as well as an estate planning specialist who spoke at a seminar series hosted by me and a colleague (more on that below).
When it comes to choosing COIs, quality and fit are the only benchmarks worth considering. These professionals will be an extension of your persona, and should therefore represent the best you can find in order for the relationship to result in referrals back to your practice.
Maybe you’re an expert at insurance, financial planning or investment management – the point is to hone your specialization and find clients with a similar mindset.
The next event was based around keeping a cottage in the family after it passes from one generation to another. Although we expected a smaller audience, the room was once again filled to capacity. And the final event, which was structured as a workshop, helped participants discover what creating a legacy truly means to them. From philanthropy to ticking items off your bucket list, the goal was to provide a space where individuals could say aloud what brings meaning and fulfillment to their lives.
We find that getting the kids on board is about more than numbers; it’s about shared beliefs and vision for where the money should go and what it should be used for.
In addition, values-based decisions take time and introspection, whereas questions about how to structure gifts require almost immediate answers. Donor-advised funds (DNF) help close this gap, by allowing us to make a decision NOW without committing to how the legacy will be dispensed; they give clients the power to have an impact when – and where – they want.
Case in point: we have Toronto-based clients who are passionate about giving back to the city, so we recommended The Toronto Community Foundation as an ideal destination for their donor-advised fund, given that it produces robust data on which local charities are most effective. Similarly, for a client interested in reducing Indigenous homelessness, a DAF would allow them to grant a portion of the funds each year – and keep the remaining asset growing – thus maximizing the gift value over a longer period.