CA-EN Advisors

Next level client education: a winning strategy

November 2020
Scott Bonertz

Scott Bonertz

Portfolio Manager and Life Insurance Agent, Raymond James Ltd.
Thomas Diederichs

Thomas Diederichs

Portfolio Manager, Raymond James Ltd.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
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.

4 benefits from the classroom

Our financial curriculum typically attracts those in their mid to late 50s. Almost half the students in each class are couples, followed by singles – mainly spouses who have never engaged in financial planning.
And while our fundamental focus is on the enhancement of investment knowledge, through teaching, we’ve discovered a way to build our business. Here’s how:
  1. Access to prospective clients. Teaching multiple courses throughout the year, we not only reach the attendees, but also their extended network of contacts. From pre-retirees who have put off investing, to spouses whom have never engaged in financial planning to those simply looking to enhance their investment knowledge beyond an annual statement, the classes attract a wide variety of people with a demonstrated interest, who are there because they are motivated to seek information.
  2. Helping others make informed decisions. Our course does not focus on investing alone. As fully licensed portfolio managers (PM) and insurance Advisors, we go into broader, more personal topics from wills and estate planning to retirement and taxation, which further enriches the individual in-class relationships and adds value for attendees.
  3. An approach that engenders trust. Our commitment to this course is on a quid pro quo basis. Besides making our knowledge and assessment available free of charge, we also maintain that there is no obligation to sign us on as Advisors. We’re there first and foremost to empower, and to provide practical and relevant wealth preservation insights. This adds to our credibility, and leads to a significant number of participants asking to continue working with us as their advisor.
  4. Foundation for a long-term relationship. Notably, many attendees seek to engage our services after they’ve taken a course, and have seen us in action. In fact, when we review the make up of our clients, it’s clear to us that those who’ve taken the course — and gained that educational foundation – turn out to be the best clients by far. In the end, we have a good understanding of their retirement and financial needs and receive feedback that fortifies our efforts such as, “I wish I had met you 25 years ago” or “I have to send my kids in to meet with you as well.”

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.
For more ideas to enhance your practice, and build a resilient portfolio, contact your BMO Global Asset Management Regional Sales Representative.


Scott Bonertz and Thomas Diederichs are Financial Advisors with Raymond James Ltd. Information provided is not a solicitation and although obtained from sources considered reliable, is not guaranteed. The view and opinions contained in the article are those of Scott Bonertz and Thomas Diederichs, and not Raymond James Ltd. Raymond James Ltd. member of Canadian Investor Protection Fund.
EXTERNAL WEBSITE LINKS The communication includes a link(s) to an external website. This may provide links to other Internet sites for the convenience of users. Raymond James Ltd. is not responsible for the availability or content of these external sites, nor does Raymond James Ltd endorse, warrant or guarantee the products, services or information described or offered at these other Internet sites. Users cannot assume that the external sites will abide by the same Privacy Policy which Raymond James Ltd adheres to.
SPECIFIC INVESTMENT PRODUCTS If any mention of specific investment strategies and/or investment products. A recommendation of the above investments would only be made after a personal review of an individual’s financial objectives.
BMO Global Asset Management is a brand name that comprises BMO Asset Management Inc., BMO Investments Inc., BMO Asset Management Corp., BMO Asset Management Limited and BMO’s specialized investment management firms.
®/™Registered trade-marks/trade-mark of Bank of Montreal, used under license.
Any statement that necessarily depends on future events may be a forward-looking statement. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Although such statements are based on assumptions that are believed to be reasonable, there can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from expectations. Investors are cautioned not to rely unduly on any forward-looking statements. In connection with any forward-looking statements, investors should carefully consider the areas of risk described in the most recent simplified prospectus.
This article is for information purposes. The information contained herein is not, and should not be construed as, investment, tax or legal advice to any party. Investments should be evaluated relative to the individual’s investment objectives and professional advice should be obtained with respect to any circumstance. The testimonial(s) in this article may not be representative of the experience of other people/advisors. The testimonials are no guarantee of future performance or success. These are solicited testimonials.
Commissions, management fees and expenses (if applicable) all may be associated with investments in mutual funds. Please read the fund facts before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Distributions are not guaranteed and are subject to change and/or elimination. The indicated rates of return are the historical annual compounded total returns including changes in unit value and reinvestment of all dividends or distributions and do not take into account sales, redemption, distribution or optional charges or income taxes payable by any unitholder that would have reduced returns.
For a summary of the risks of an investment in BMO Mutual Funds, please see the specific risks set out in the prospectus.
BMO Mutual Funds are managed by BMO Investments Inc., which is an investment fund manager and a separate legal entity from Bank of Montreal.

Related articles

School desk and chair
November 2020

Next level client education: a winning strategy

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.
Key in a broken egg
November 2020

The estate wedge: a new way to build value

Advisors looking to expand their business and bring meaningful, value-add solutions to their clients should look to the “estate wedge” strategy, according to Richard Poulin, Director, Intermediary Distribution, Niagara, who outlines how to make this a reality by building awareness and taking a targeted approach to client segmentation.
Golf course
October 2020

Missed opportunities in buying and selling a book

As the industry adjusts to the new normal, many Advisors are wondering if the time is right to exit or snap up a new book of business. Seasoned IA-turned-consultant, Jerry Butler, Founder and President of Queenston Consulting, provides an overview of the succession planning environment, and offers tips on how both sides can make the best deal possible.
Plant growing from the fruit
October 2020

Tap into RI growth with a professional designation

As responsible investing (RI) quickly becomes best practice for the investment industry at large, James Leung, Portfolio Manager, CIBC Wood Gundy, shares his insights on the many benefits of attaining a certified designation in the space – including differentiating your practice and attracting new business.
Man working on a tablet
September 2020

Embracing a virtual COI strategy

When it comes to building referral networks, a digital-friendly approach is now table stakes for Advisors seeking to grow their business. For a deeper look, Ben Jones, host of BMO’s Better Conversations, Better Outcomes podcast, offers timely advice and actionable tips to bring your Centres of Influence (COI) strategy to life.
Computer keyboard with tiny chairs on it
August 2020

Lessons from the pandemic: professionalizing virtual client meetings

As the world slowly begins to re-open again, the financial services industry can’t afford to assume a return to business as usual. Sanjay Singla, Vice President, Intermediary Distribution, Central Ontario, BMO Global Asset Management, believes virtual face-time with clients will now be a permanent part of the Advisor offering going forward, and shares his insightful tips on how to differentiate yourself with a polished and professional online approach.