​Pulling up stakes for greener pastures

How one Quebec advisor made the move to Ontario.

​Pulling up stakes for greener pastures
Advisors often shift from one dealer to another. After all, there is always a higher-payout matrix to follow. But relatively few advisors make a geographical move, shifting from one region to another.  

But for Elie Nour, a well-respected and accomplished Manulife advisor, moving from one province to another was the right choice. The government-intensive economy of Quebec did not offer the long-term opportunities he felt were available in Oakville. The decision to move was all about locking in the long-term opportunity for him and his team. The business opportunities too good to pass up.

During his nine years at Manulife Securities, Mr. Nour quickly rose to the top of the pack. Ranked in the top 1% of advisors from 2008 to 2010, he reached number one in 2011. In January 2014 he was recognized as one of the "Top 50 advisors” WP’s ranking. Nevethless, he felt the need to move on to that leafy green Golconda on the shores of Lake Ontario, Oakville.  

Nour spent a lot of time flying back and forth, spending a couple of days a week around Toronto, before travelling back to Montreal. He now has clients in both locations, but was able to grow a new book in Ontario. “I flew in for two or three days, and eventually grew a decent book," he says in an interview with WP. "Quebec is great, Montreal is a great city, but eventually....I had to move.”

According to Nour, at the end of the day, the decision was based on a business case. He had to think about the long-term opportunities for him and his team. "People here have substantially more money. There is much more business here,” says Nour.

He has been surprised at how the cost of everything from gasoline to dining is much less in Ontario as compared to tax-heavy Quebec. But that Ontario residents have more discretionary income is the whole point--there is more money be managed by private wealth advisors. Though, as is the state of nature, some Ontario advisors seem to have become a bit lazy, so abundant are the pickings here. Hungry and ambitious advisors see nothing by opportunity. "Here advisors take clients for granted,” says Nour. 

The early success has been a result of a serious accent on service. “We focus on servicing clients,” says Nour. “We send cards and gifts for Christmas and Hanukah. There are no mistakes on investments." It is the high-end client attention that allows him to stand out in the industry. "Today, clients are more and more demanding with our time. It's quite demanding, 12, 14 hours a day. Meetings on Saturday for doctors," he says.
But doesn't he miss the cultural life of Montreal? After all, Oakville is often considered a bit sterile to other cities, all WASP-y restraint and straightness. The town just west of Toronto has never been known for the kind of sophisticated cultural life Montreal is famous for. Obviously, Nour is too much the pro to fall into that kind of comment trap.

"It is true, Montreal is a great city. But I have been pleasantly surprised. There is all kinds of cultural life here. The dining here is better than I expected. Sure, people work a lot. But today there are so many options in this area. It has been eye-opening," says Nour.