Wealth is something we all aspire to, and certainly something to be protected if it is achieved. As Senior Vice-President, Private Wealth Management at TD Wealth, Dave Kelly understands this basic truth, and as such is striving to change the way advisors and clients converse. Clients in this case means high-net-worth, or with investible assets of $1 million and higher.
“In Canada and globally, the vast amount of wealth is held by the Baby Boomers,” he says. “They are thinking about three main things – how can I turn my assets into an income stream in retirement? What happens to my plans, my wealth, my family if I get sick for an extended period of time? And what I will do with my wealth – am I giving it to someone or a charity?”
Kelly joined TD in 2007 after first distinguishing himself at CIBC. The reason for the switch was that TD was launching a private client group concept, bringing private banking, private trust and discretionary investment management business together and co-locating those teams in dedicated centres across the country.
An intriguing concept, but one year later the business had been turned on its head entirely, the effects of which are still being felt today.
“2008 forever changed the relationship between clients and institutions,” says Kelly. “In the high-net-worth space clients were less willing to turn over complete control and decision rights. There has been different interactions since then and they want to be much more engaged in dialogue. They are less trusting in general, so you have to work that little much harder to make sure you earn their trust and respect.”
In building that sort of relationship with clients, face-to-face contact is as important as it ever was, even in this, the digital age.
“The conversations I have with my clients is far less about investment management and much more about vision values. It’s less about what you own, and more about who are you are as an individual and who is around you.”
Bearing that mind, TD Wealth have sought to change the traditional focus of client meetings as they existed previously. While the products they offer still have the same end-game of generating and protecting wealth, the reasons for that are now debated much more thoroughly. In Dave Kelly’s opinion, that means clients have their eyes much more open with the entire process.
“Where we are trying to be different in what we call the discovery conversation,” he says. “Of what we do, 90 per cent is about changing that dialogue with clients. Often people don’t have the time to think about what is truly important. A lot of the time we have missed the opportunity to understand clients the best we can, so that’s where we are trying to be innovative.”
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