Forging a niche with high-net-worth clients

Frank Danielson tells WP how he created a niche for himself in the family office space

Forging a niche with high-net-worth clients

Frank Danielson’s passion for investments goes all the way back to high school when first dipped his toes into the stock market. Then, when he was putting himself through school with a student loan, Danielson used some of the proceeds to invest. Those investments performed well and allowed Danielson to pay off a significant chunk of his student loan.

It was at this time that Danielson decided to change his area of focus completely. He was studying to become a science teacher at the time, but it was clear that investing was his passion. Danielson made the decision to turn his back on a career as a teacher and become an investment advisor. So, in the mid-90s, Danielson embarked on completing his CFP and securities exams, and since then there has been no looking back.

“It’s been a good journey and a journey of many different stages of learning,” says Danielson, who is now a senior financial planner at Assante Capital Management. “The structure of my business was more traditional when I started out – just an advisor and an assistant. Now, it’s more of an ensemble; much more of a team. I’ve definitely enjoyed the process of building a great team and focusing on the client experience for high-net-worth families.”

Danielson has created a niche for himself in the family office space, primarily dealing with ultra-high-net-worth clients and their families. It started when Danielson was introduced to one particular family office in 2000. Danielson saw the opportunity that lay ahead and took the time to find out exactly what that client group needed and how he could customize his service offering to deliver it. That first client ended up telling two friends, who themselves told others; it was a natural evolution into what now is Danielson’s speciality.

Danielson puts a lot of his success down to his team and the creation of the team’s core values, which place a particular importance on being committed to constant improvement. “We have a great team with a diversity of talent and experience and a passion for the client experience,” he says. “We love helping families solve problems, and investments and wealth planning is just a small part of that.”

Another one of Danielson’s core values is curiosity, and he encourages other advisors to try and learn more about their clients. The approach has enabled him to understand clients better and create more meaningful relationships.

Danielson also believes that advisors should develop the skill of saying ‘no’ if a client is not a good fit or vice versa. “It’s important to focus on deeper relationships not more relationships,” he says. “We are in the client experience business so it’s important to really listening to clients and considering what is important to them. Look at what they value and how they see the world. Switch your lens to see how the client sees things; you need to be open and curious in that way.”

Related stories:
Is the Canadian tax system really fair?
Savvy FAs tailor tech for financial planning