Innovating to attract clients, Scott Bonertz and Thomas Diederichs, portfolio managers, Raymond James, developed a unique academic approach. These partners share their successful strategy – and explain how education and financial planning can be a winning combination for Advisors.
Teach a man to fish
Building a book of business through education came to us as a microcosm of an idea, and very quickly became one of our biggest sources of new clientele, allowing us to continually expand our practice with motivated candidates.
When we partnered to launch our business three decades ago, the concept of providing lessons in the fundamentals of investing and estate planning was almost unheard of at the time. But we found that there was a clear and growing demand among Calgarians to understand how to invest and achieve results driven by goals. We were right. Our experience has proven that well-informed investors not only make wiser financial choices, they also tend to use that knowledge in their conversations with family and friends – becoming a valued referral source.
Aside from the benefits to our practice, we also recognize the intrinsic value of client education. As November marks the 10th anniversary of the Financial Literacy Month, the reality is that amidst a pandemic many Canadians are finding themselves at a crossroads, where an informed decision could secure or unravel their finances.
Going above and beyond
Many of our clients have been with us since the start, and part of the reason for this is the trust we reinforce through our course: our Advisor role goes beyond investment expertise. Our clients rely on us for essential guidance on both personal and professional life decisions from a death in the family to negotiating the purchase of a car. We also leverage our network of contacts so our clients never have to worry about credentials, making introductions where required to help them achieve long-term success. We don’t focus on product, and certainly do not sell the notion that we can guarantee returns every single time. Instead, we emphasize planning, defining and meeting goals, reaffirming that the most important thing isn’t that you make money when the markets are up, but that you don’t lose money when they fall. Our objective is to help clients answer the big question: how do you structure your investment portfolio and insurance plans using strategies that achieve goals at the right level of risk.
Looking ahead: more outreach
Given the overwhelming response to our course – evident in the number of participants who’ve become both clients and referrals sources – we have expanded our team, bringing in associates who can relate to a younger demographic in the classroom. While this is a departure from our usual target clientele, our goal is to tap into the growing trend of saving and investing among Canadian youth that has spiked further since the start of this crisis.
Similarly, we’re deeply engaged in our local communities, both through philanthropy and sports, which allow us to make meaningful connections and drive business growth further.
Beyond that, we’re also planning to enhance our presence with USA-resident Canadians and Americans living in Canada, by having USA licensing. This allows clients who usually have to use multiple advisors on both sides of the border to deal with one investment management group. In other words, this simplifies the challenge of trying to coordinate and achieve the investor’s financial goals.
Across each of these endeavours, our intention is to build and maintain relationships that are founded on trust. Ultimately, we attempt to transcend the role of money manager to that of mentor and counsellor, enhancing our client relationships, with teaching as the fundamental core of what we do best.
Scott Bonertz and Thomas Diederichs on BMO Global Asset Management
BMO Concentrated Global Equity Fund checks all the boxes for us, from active management to the conviction of its holdings and downside capture. Taking a long-term view of capital appreciation, the vehicle only invests in the highest quality securities recognized by leading exchanges around the world.