A career in advice is worth the climb, newcomer advisors told

Seasoned experts lay out insights and action plan at summit for new Canadian advisors

A career in advice is worth the climb, newcomer advisors told

For a newcomer advisor, the first overwhelming emotion can be fear: the fear of the unknown and the daunting task of embarking on a new career in financial planning – in a new country to boot.

But the clear, refreshing takeaway from the Financial Summit for Newcomer Advisors, held recently by the Canadian ETF Association in partnership with 369 Global and RBC, was that the path to success as an advisor lay in skills that you already came with. 

As the introductory speaker, Executive Chairman of 369 Global Muraly Srinarayanathas confidently asserted, “We believe in the incredible power and potential that newcomer skilled workers bring to Canada, and internationally trained finance professionals are no different. As we look at the increasingly porous global financial system, we have a unique opportunity to tap into the rich knowledge, strong experience, and deep networks that global finance professionals can bring to Toronto and other financial hubs across Canada.

“However, this can only happen if we empower them through innovative work-integrated training programs, coaching and mentorship, and workplace cultural sensitivity support that sets them up for success, which is why we are excited about this summit.”

A lot of newcomers to Canada will go through numerous challenges and experience negativity, the worry of not finding a proper job, or being undervalued, not being represented … the list goes on. But for those who hold onto your “why” – “Why did I come to Canada?” – everything looks like a much smaller problem. Suddenly, there's a bigger issue, which is the reason for you coming here.

It is also important for new Canadians to understand that they likely have many transferrable skills that lend themselves to a successful career in wealth management. For panel speaker Neelam Advani, RBC Branch Manager, her first great opportunity in Canada came from realising her customer service skills would work in finance.

Of her experience she said, “It never occurred to me to get into finance because I'll tell you very honestly, finance was not me. I however realized, what I have, is the ability to connect to people. If you were to ask me today what finance is about, I would say it’s about people. What I do in my role every day is connect with people. I build relationships, I build trust. It’s only when you build trust is when you’re able to offer financial products to your clients. Have you worked in a fast-paced environment before coming to Canada? We’re in an industry that’s constantly evolving and growing. It’s a great opportunity to start a new career and find out what else you can do.”

For those wary of having to step back in terms of career progression, the seasoned advisors are sympathetic, having been there themselves, but felt the reset was worth it.

From left to right: Vithu Ramachandran (moderator) Neelam Advani, Shaun Darchiville, and Fazaad Bacchus. Image cropped from original photo furnished by 369Konnect.

“You may start in the trenches. But, if you were successful back home, you are very likely to be successful here. If you're successful based on hard work, and based on application, if you come here and you expect to make something of yourself, you can. It's very easy because the principles of success are the principles of success.

“You decide who you are, where you will work and how do you apply yourself? What is the common culture of the organization, adapt to it, and start moving forward. Let me tell you, by the yard, it's hard, but anything inch by inch, it's a cinch,” said Fazaad Bacchus from Desjardins Financial Securities.

It can feel as though opportunities for newcomers are limited. However, of the wealth management industry, financial advisor Shaun Darchiville of Raymond James Financial said:

“In the current environment spending time with people, not rushing people and listening to people is a massive premium. Everybody desperately wants somebody to listen to them. Doesn't matter how much money they have. That to me is a huge opportunity. What do you have to lose? Nobody is going to hurt you.

“There’s a lot of work out there not getting done. The clients are getting older, and their situations are getting more complex. Family dynamics are changing. People are fighting, businesses are being transitioned. These are opportunities. People are not paying attention to this.”

Looking for what Canadian companies can do to facilitate newcomers into wealth management, Pat Dunwoody, executive director of CETFA said:

“What we can do to support is to work with organizations like 369 Global, advocates and other organizations, and we will continue to do that. If their mission is what we believe in, then we'll throw our hats behind it.

“It's really a question of finding talent in newcomers and understanding the nuances of what they have and finding homes for them. Even if you’re hiring people that are taking a step back in terms of where their career previously was, firms should be able to lay out the plan for the employee for the next five years. The firm can outline the licensing or the courses an employee is expected to take, [and] the salary raises they could expect. That way new advisors can see their growth trajectory. Firms do have to think forward, in order for the new employee to plan out the next five years of their lives.”

Find your tribe was a common refrain of the summit – a group to support newcomers in this new career. Acknowledge your differences, but find those that challenge your confirmation biases to become more open-minded.

“If you really want to further your career in Canada, or you're looking just to get your foot in the door, get that team of allies; they're going to be cheerleaders. Find your mentors; they're going to be a safe zone that support you and help you grow,” said Advani.