More than earned interest
Beyond the bucks, Nicholls valued the firm’s intimate, entrepreneurial spirit and candour. He was able to speak directly to the firm’s top dog about what strategies he had in mind and why some investments weren’t doing so hot. “If there was a down time … I was able to call up (the president), talk to him, and get his feelings about it,” he says.
But the saying is “all good things come to an end”: In Nicholls’s case, it began with his advisor’s resignation. He was the passed along to a junior advisor lacking the experience necessary to handle his portfolio. Furthermore, Nicholls felt uneasy about the firm’s direction, and three years ago he walked.
“I felt like it was a massive organization that really didn’t care about its clients,” he explains, adding that he felt he missed out on high-risk investments offering superior returns. “I was disappointed and I rapidly began to divest, moving money elsewhere.”
With help from Scotiabank, Nicholls transferred his funds and never heard from the firm again.
“They didn’t say anything. They didn’t even contact me to say ‘sorry to see you go,’” he says.
From an independent to a bank
According to Nicholls, the bank offered him the resources and expertise that he was seeking. He values the once-a-year meeting to make sure his investment strategy aligns with his financial goals, the monthly telephone check-ins and random meetings to discuss any issues that arise. Most importantly, though, Nicholls has started making money again.
“Making money is always the top priority. But when your investments are not going up, like in today’s environment, it is very tough to get a decent return,” he says. “So, it really is very important now for an investment advisor, in my opinion, to form very close relationships with their clients and keep them informed, listen to what they’re saying, and make sure they help their clients. They’ve really got to be advisors now, rather than just salespeople, which is all they had to be at one time.”