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This issue features some of the outstanding independent offices in this country. Our coverage starts with a story about the hassle that many veterans in the industry have experienced. Carving out an independent space in the industry can be a challenge. But it is possible. Our advisor’s march to independence allowed him to distill a definition of what it means to be considered an “independent advisor.” Find that story on page 20.
Also in the package is a series of profiles on the offices in this country that define the independent spirit of the Canadian advisor. One of the profiles is of Robert Smith Financial. This firm is running an interesting, sophisticated, all-together together kind of practice. The office manages money on a “practice portfolio” basis, which is interesting. You’ll want to know what that means. These guys seem to be doing things right. The firm is run out of a heritage property in Markham known as The Alexander Fleury House. The building was constructed in 1880 for Alexander Fleury, the son of a War of 1812 veteran. Fleury began a foundry casting the first iron plough in the area. Later the home became the Koch Maternity Hospital when local doctors, tired of running to remote farms to deliver babies, encouraged a local nurse to open such a practice. Today, the house is home to a smart, sophisticated financial advisory practice. When we asked Smith for a photo of himself he had the best answer I’ve heard yet to this request, “We’ve tried to avoid doing the typical promotional head shot thing. That’s not what our firm is about.” Instead, they sent over a picture of their gorgeous office. This is the kind of practice to strive for. Wouldn’t you like to go to work with this team? It’s possible. Read up and learn how the stars of the industry do it. Profiles of some of the outstanding independent advisor offices in this country start on page 27.
Also in this issue is the first annual lifestyle survey. Over 700 of our readers took the time to fill out the online questionnaire. Based on the phenomenal response, it’ll be an annual thing. We asked advisors all kinds of questions about their hobbies, families, money, cars and homes. Interestingly, the picture of the average advisor that emerges will counter some of the misconceptions out there about the how it is the average Canadian advisor lives. The survey summary begins on page 45.
We also profile the esteemed Thomas Caldwell. The well-known money manager was inducted into the IIAC Hall of Fame in November. WP took the time to sit down with him and got a lesson in history, markets and how to be a real wealth advisor. One of the quotes that stayed with me from the interview has about the shifts occurring in the stock market as a result of the shift from active to passive investing. “Stocks move now because of weightings they have in indexes. No one is investing in companies,” says Caldwell in the interview. “I don't know how…I don't know what it will be…I'm not sure yet how it's going to play out…But I bet the next big controversy on the Street is going to be around ETFs and notational derivatives. There's a saying, ‘too clever by half.’” Intriguing stuff—the profile is on page 57.