Why new advisory firm sends prospective clients back to school

'You have to manage your own behaviour if you want a shot at being a successful investor'

Why new advisory firm sends prospective clients back to school

Cameron Langlois grew up in a financial advisor’s home and worked in the same large independent brokerage as his dad for eight years. He’s now launched his own Vancouver-based firm, Origin Wealth Advisory Services Ltd., but has a very different value proposition for his clients. He’s making them go to school to learn about themselves and their finances for two days before he’ll sign them.

“You can have the best investment philosophy in the world. But, the big thing in how we operate differently from everybody else is that you have to manage your own humanness, your own behaviour, when it comes to investing. If you don’t, you don’t have a shot at being a successful investor over your lifetime,” he said as he recalling hearing stories of long-term investors who left the market when it dropped in 2008, and never got back in again. “That one mistake destroyed an entire lifetime of wealth creation.”

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So, he leads a two-day course so the clients he signs understand how the industry and science of wealth accumulation work and how they can transform their own money mindsets from scarcity to abundance. That means looking at neuroscience and psychology, and what causes them to make the financial decisions. That way, he said, “they can be better equipped to manage that when they’re in those highly volatile and emotional situations.

“For most people, money is a source of survival, which is rooted in scarcity and the idea that there’s only a certain amount to go around,” said Langlois, noting that usually begins with an originating money event that teaches them money is scarce when they’re younger. “So, how can you alter that conversation around money being scarce and turn it into being abundant? Because the fact is that there is so much money going around in the world these days and a lot of that abundant mindset is how money occurs for you and the relationship that you have with it.”

He said people need to understand how they make decisions and not separate their finances from their lives. So, the course includes the psychology of how clients relate to money and make financial decisions, so they better understand what actions they take around investing.

Providing this education was important to Langlois since he was concerned about investors just turning their money over to financial advisors without really understanding what they were doing. Participants can take the course, then decide if they want to sign with Origin. Even if they don’t, he said, “they have a much better understanding of what to look for and the questions to ask other advisors”.

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Langlois just registered his business in February and launched it in June, He now has 26 clients and $6 million in assets under management, but another 25 potential clients went to school last week.

He’s pleased with what he’s been able to launch because he feels “the way in which the financial industry deals with people is fundamentally broken. It should be taken from an educational-first approach to empower that person who’s making the decisions to give their money to someone to really understand what they’re doing and make an informed decision.

“The way in which our industry is structured and the way in which we train advisors doesn’t get that point across and, ultimately, the people who suffer at the end of the day are the clients we serve.”

Langlois learned his education-first philosophy from his dad, with whom he worked. Langlois started as an associate investment advisor, then became an investment advisor, managing a book.

He’d originally planned to build a smaller practice at the brokerage. But, about three years ago, he started checking what the registered investment advisors were doing in the U.S. and liked the fact that consumers more choice with more independent firms. He liked the quantitative approach to financial management, but also wanted to address the psychological aspect. So, he started his own organization “that committed itself to one philosophy and one philosophy only. I didn’t want to be identified with an organization that had a hundred different advisors all doing something different. I wanted some alignment among the full team.”

Langlois said his dad is still his number one mentor, and he hopes to work with him again. But, Langlois has a five-year plan to grow the business to $1 billion. He’s already talking to other advisors and plans to expand by going national and bringing on more teams who are aligned with his philosophy, which includes a flatter organization than most the bigger institutions offer.

“The main focus is to find those like-minded advisors who really want to make a difference, and then bring them on board, showing them what we do, how we do it, and building something all together,” he said.  “What I’m starting to realize is that so many advisors just have no idea that joining an independent shop is an option. So, if they’re questioning what they’re doing and they really want to work in the best interest of the client, they have a duty to look at all the available options. I’m going to keep sharing – on LinkedIn and in meetings – so they know there are different options out there.”