The demand for genuine unbiased advice is growing, leaving independent firms in prime position to fill that need.
The opportunity is ripe for such operations, according to Grant White, portfolio manager and financial planner at Endeavour Wealth Management – iA Securities, who left National Bank with his team four months ago to go it alone.
Its AUM has just crossed $150 million and White expects it to be close to $200 million by the end of the year. He has no regrets about the decision and believes that this way of doing business is the future as Canada catches up with the UK, Australia and US where it is more established.
While keen to point out he is not “slamming the banks”, the Winnipeg-based advisor said clients are learning more about the financial system and will start insisting on “genuine, pure advice that is not driven by sales quotas or products”.
He told WP: “I think clients will start demanding it. I think there needs to be better education of these individuals and how the financial system works but we are starting to see more demand.
“When we presented the idea [of going independent] to our clients, they really loved the idea. In particular, for our business owners and professional clients, it made a lot of sense and they appreciated that we made this move with their best interests in mind.
“But it goes beyond even just products; they want unbiased products but they want a more customised experience. And when you are in an independent shop like ours, it gives us more freedom to do that.
“We feel we are able to create an all-round better experience that’s more customized and individualised for our clients.”
White is unabashed in his ambition for Endeavour and wants it to become the “most trusted brand in personal finance”. He admitted it’s a lofty goal with the industry dominated by the large banks but he compares his team to a speed boat slaloming between the tankers of the big institutions.
He said: “it’s not for everybody and I’m not slamming the banks – there are some great advisors at bank shops I know and I think big brokerage houses are great places for certain advisors. But in our case, you have to be willing to take leap. At a certain point there is only so much planning you can do and if it’s something you are really passionate about, you have to take a leap and just do it.
“It’s a lot of work, it’s capital intensive investment as well. But if you have that passion that you are doing the right things for your clients and want to create something new and make that dent on the industry, then it’s something you have got to do. That’s the way we felt here.”
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