One advising duo has adapted the family office model to co-ordinate the activities of clients’ other advisors and assist in tackling financial issues that impact the whole family.
Family office businesses have been growing in Canada over the past decade, due in part as increasingly more entrepreneurs and executives reach an age and wealth level that opens them up to a new asset management approach. According to a global wealth study by Boston Consulting Group in 2013, Canada ranked seventh in global ‘ultra-high-net-worth’ households, meaning those with assets exceeding $100 million.
Based on demand, The Waterfront Group of CIBC Wood Gundy, founded in 2000 by Adam Doering and Dan Wynnyk, chose to evolve to be closer to a true family office practice this past year. According to Wynnyk, “this was achieved by reducing our number of clients so that we are able to spend a greater amount of quality time on individual relationships.”
While the Waterfront Group is not a true family office, Doering points out that at The Waterfront Group, they incorporate all aspects of Wealth Management into their business to provide their clients with an integrated approach.
Doering and Wynnyk, along with their team, believe that the most successful wealth advisors are those who do more than just trade stocks and bonds for clients – they offer a concierge service for clients – providing them with a full-service approach they need.
“Our value is recognizing that our clients are busy. By finding out what’s important to them, we are able to help make it happen,” says Doering. “We want to be the best listeners who have ever sat down in front of our clients.”
The Waterfront Group’s comprehensive process identifies planning opportunities and provides recommendations for tax, credit and estate strategies in the context of a cohesive plan that they help implement and monitor. By collaborating with clients’ accountants, attorneys and other trusted professionals, they can co-ordinate a team approach that meets all of their clients’ financial objectives. If a client requires additional resources, The Waterfront Group is able to make introductions using their extensive network of professionals.
Their investment approach is also unique in the industry, as it emulates some of the top endowment funds in the world by using traditional investments (stocks and bonds) and non-traditional investments such as commercial mortgages, private equity and real-estate.
While The Waterfront Group’s model may be an adaptation of the family office, Wynnyk believes their version of the ‘one-stop shop’ for ultra-high-net-worth clients sets them apart from competition. The team’s clientele varies and consists of entrepreneurs, Canadian celebrities and high-level executives.
“The better we get at it and the more people we talk to, the more we realize how few people operate like us in the industry,” says Wynnyk. “Building a practice with the family office in mind helps us to deliver what our clients want.”