Practice Management

All Systems GROW: A Rising Star Scales Up

Sajjad Hussain, Portfolio Manager- recipient of Wealth Professional’s 2019 Rising Star Advisor of the Year Award – has been focused on “institutionalizing” Allen Private Wealth Group, HollisWealth, a division of Industrial Alliance Securities Inc.’sretail practice in order to better serve clients with a pension-style, process-driven approach. Their investment in their own infrastructure has resulted in a scalable business that will allow them to grow their account base – and provide Advisors nearing retirement a means to transfer their legacy to a firm that considers itself an industry disruptor.
August 2019

Sajjad Hussain

B.Comm, CFP®, CIM®, Partner, Allen Private Wealth Group; Portfolio Manager and Investment Advisor, HollisWealth, a division of Industrial Alliance Inc.

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Sajjad Hussain, Portfolio Manager- recipient of Wealth Professional’s 2019 Rising Star Advisor of the Year Award – has been focused on “institutionalizing” Allen Private Wealth Group, HollisWealth, a division of Industrial Alliance Securities Inc.’sretail practice in order to better serve clients with a pension-style, process-driven approach. Their investment in their own infrastructure has resulted in a scalable business that will allow them to grow their account base – and provide Advisors nearing retirement a means to transfer their legacy to a firm that considers itself an industry disruptor.

 

The making of a rising star

It’s every Advisor’s job to find gaps in the market, but what happens when you see a void that has less to do with numbers than relationship-building and personalized service? I joined Allen Private Wealth Group less than four years ago, because of a shared value with founder Glenn Allen, Portfolio manager, HollisWealth: a unique way of connecting portfolio management with advanced planning, based on highly individualized client need. Our mission is to provide a level of service and commitment we don’t see among our peers. Many claim to be holistic, but don’t execute on all facets of wealth as effectively, resulting in underserved Canadians. We seek to close that gap.

From my perspective, the new standard of wealth is being able to deftly manage net worth, not merely an investment. Our approach, long used for the affluent, has proven successful regardless of account size. The secret is tapping into financial well-being. And, above all else, demonstrating acute emotional intelligence – an elusive attribute that allows clients to open up and, in turn, provide the information we need to do a really good job.

To accomplish this, we make sure our process aligns with personalized values – and we go deep. There’s simply no light version of what we do. It’s essential to help all clients fully understand the purpose for their money and identify what they’re trying to accomplish in all stages of life. This takes time, trust and tenacity. Education is also vital; not only about our style or model, but about the wealth management industry at large. It’s important for us to conduct ourselves responsibly and with integrity. And despite being portfolio managers with investment management acumen in our DNA, we know the path to positive results is the bigger picture.

It’s essential to help all clients fully understand the purpose for their money.

Institutionalizing a retail firm

When it comes to honing our own process, Glenn and I, as partners in the business, have spent the past few years creating and embracing change, to the point where I’d say we operate more like a corporation than a practice. For example, we’ve added prescribed roles that include financial planners, strategic initiative and branch operations managers, as well as strong administrative and client experience teams.

Every person in our office has a defined duty when it comes to reviewing client files. Each goes through layers of scrutiny by the time it reaches Glenn and myself, in order to hone in on, and support, all aspects of life and associated needs, including business succession, tax and estate planning, wealth transfer, long-term care, and philanthropy. Clients take comfort knowing that they’ve got an entire team – and the Advisors – providing attention to detail to ensure that nothing gets missed. Another differentiator is our personal Advanced Planning Team. For clients, such as executives or business owners who may have more complex requirements, we surround them with professionals we have strong relationships with – including top lawyers and accountants – and act as quarterback. In the end, we tailor our approach to where our clients are in life. The relationship, or depth of service, is geared to the individual – never based on assets.

With the right infrastructure in place, we now have the ability – and capacity – to do more for families, and also to take on more families referred to us, versus maintain a wait list. The real rarity is that, while we may have a highly disciplined, process-driven approach, it’s balanced by a boutique touch.

We’re completely independent and act as facilitators, vetting the largest and best global players out there on a quarterly basis.

The freedom to be selective

My past experience – whether working with affluent families across the country while at Fiduciary Trust; consulting with Advisors to help them build their businesses; or being on the manufacturing side at Franklin Templeton – continues to inform how I build out the practice. The approach at Fiduciary, specifically, was by investment committee, creating a portfolio aligned with client goals, which is very similar to our methodology today.

One of the biggest influences I’ve had on Allen Private Wealth, in tandem with Glenn, is evolving our portfolio management platform, and by extension, manager research and selection, to become more and more efficient over time. Typically, we use a 12-screen proprietary process that’s with both quantitative and qualitative components. It may surprise some to learn that our last screen is price; the first 11 focus solely on quality. This approach allows us to identify the eight best investment houses for our clients. We don’t discriminate – our internal review team utilizes what proves to make sense, whether it’s a bank, wealth management firm, insurance company, etc. We’re completely independent and act as facilitators, vetting the largest global players out there on a quarterly basis, which allows us to innovate and respond to the constantly evolving realities of the industry. Management can leave a company, and organizations can be taken over, but our screens keep us in check. We’re not handcuffed to a single process or style. Our protocols allow us to replace managers at any given time, as required.

While our discretionary portfolio management style is critical to achieving our clients’ goals for financial independence, the real magic is connecting the dots with advanced planning. That’s how you effectively manage overall well-being.

We’re in a position to expand on our philosophy and, in particular, offer independent Advisors a destination for their books as they get ready to transition out of the business.

Built to scale

Timing, of course, is everything in this industry. And we’re at a pivotal point right now. We’ve invested in people, processes and investment platform over the past four years, and are stronger than ever – in terms of financial flexibility and resources. And personally speaking, I’m only 41, managing a young, vital, yet mature team of 10. Every day is new and exciting, and I love coming into work.

Where we go from here is open ended; what we do know is that we’re in a position to expand on our philosophy and, in particular, offer independent Advisors a destination for their books as they get ready to transition out of the business. The financial part is easy; we have various models in place to address individual need and circumstance. The more complex piece is the right fit, professionals who desire to – and will take comfort in – transferring their life’s work into a steady infrastructure that delivers advanced pension-style asset management. We believe it’s an ideal situation for a strong MFDA book with the pillars in place, including longstanding relationships. Our due diligence process is geared to identify a similar mindset. We’re not out to shock a client’s system; we’re fiduciaries looking to enhance a legacy. In 20 or 30 years’ time, when I’m considering the prospect of exiting the business, it’s exactly what I’ll seek for my clients.

 

Words of wisdom for future “rising stars”

I’m certainly humbled by my Wealth Professional ranking. To gain that recognition in less than four years is an accomplishment, but to also have Allen Private Wealth be nominated as one of the Top 10 wealth management teams in the country is what’s most important. Because it’s all about moving the business forward, and facilitating trust in who we are, what we do, and how we do it.

I think a true rising star is someone who comes into the industry, and disrupts it a little bit, cutting through the noise to offer clients something truly special. We want our clients to feel like they’ve made the choice to work with one of the best boutique firm in the country – a team with financial acumen, and sought-after emotional intelligence. And, of course, there’s also that ongoing balancing act to consider: strategic growth without risking service quality.

For more ideas on how to add value and build your business, contact your BMO Global Asset Management Regional Sales Representative.

This information has been prepared by Sajjad Hussain who is a Portfolio Manager for HollisWealth.® Opinions expressed in this article are those of the Portfolio Manager only and do not necessarily reflect those of HollisWealth. HollisWealth® is a division of Industrial Alliance Securities Inc., a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada

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