From professional sportsman to financial advisor: how one professional is using his experience to help peers
Growing up in Edmonton, Bart Hunter’s life revolved around hockey. He played major junior hockey with the Portland Winter Hawks and Regina Pats, and he was named MVP while playing with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the 1979 Memorial Cup. After four years in various professional leagues, Hunter made the decision to begin the next phase of his career, which eventually led him to the financial industry.
“I took business courses while I was playing hockey in the US,” says Hunter, a senior wealth advisor and director of wealth management at The Hunter Financial Group at ScotiaMcLeod. “I quit hockey at 23 and took a sales job, but finance always appealed to me.”
In his early 30s, Hunter entered the financial industry with an insurance company. He says learning the insurance side of the business was extremely valuable and laid a solid foundation for his current holistic approach to wealth management. He then joined an independent investment firm, where he earned his mutual fund and securities licences. In 1996, he moved to a bank-owned dealer, where he remained for 16 years until 2012, when he and his team transitioned to ScotiaMcLeod.
Hunter has built his practice around the idea of creating value, something he imparts on the advisors he now coaches. “If you help others get what they want in life, you will get what you want in life,” he explains. “You become indispensable to them. For us, we go above and beyond to help provide people with clarity and direction, which helps them build confidence in their future.”
Hunter’s focus planning is one of the reasons he moved his team to Scotia Wealth Management. By using the firm’s resources, including a team of specialized wealth planners, he feels his team has been able to create a fully holistic approach.
“Our Value 360 Process brings all of the resources of the Scotia Wealth Management team to bear for our clients,” he says. “Our team has tremendous bench strength, and our process ensures that we are efficient, profitable and professional. It ensures that when we articulate our value to clients, we are able to carry it through and deliver a phenomenal client experience.”
Hunter says his client base is primarily made up of affluent delegators, incorporated professionals, business owners and others, including doctors and farmers. With such a diverse group of high-net-worth clients, Hunter has instilled an institutional approach that integrates alternatives into his portfolios.
“If you follow institutional portfolios, such as the Canada Pension Plan, they have roughly 50% in non-liquid assets like real estate, alternatives, private equity and private debt. Sometimes I feel like our industry has an old-school mindset. We build portfolios differently from most other advisors. We feel investors really want to reduce volatility. If it’s good enough for the pension plans and endowments, we think it’s worthwhile for our clients, and therefore are willing to put in the extra effort it takes to build these portfolios.”
While he’s had many career highlights, Hunter says the top one is the team he has built and the people who are integral to the team.
“Our culture is positive, innovative and creative,” he says. “Each team member is passionate about bringing their unique ability to the table, which allows them to have fun in their role and ultimately leads to better-quality work and high-value service for our clients. The ability to focus on roles that people like, rather than stretching themselves across a variety of tasks, adds to job satisfaction. Our approach has proven to be an excellent way to generate ideas, solve problems and allow for personal growth.”
That mindset has been passed on to his clients and is now reflected in his team’s growth in assets and the onboarding of new clients. “I am now 60 years old, but feel that I am a better advisor now than I have ever been,” Hunter says. “How could I ever retire from what I love?”