With nearly 30 years in business, CIC Financial Group’s holistic approach was ahead of its time and has proven successful
In the current advisor landscape, having a holistic approach has become the norm. Yet for CIC Financial Group, they have been doing it since their inception in the early 1990s. Brad Jardine, president and senior financial advisor, who started the practice, says that their holistic approach was the building block to the success they continue to see.
“I really think it goes back to that holistic approach. I never thought it was anything innovative, it just made sense to consolidate all of the services,” said Jardine. “Looking back, it really did help us establish ourselves in the area because not many others were doing it the same way.”
CIC is all referral based and Jardine says that once word got out about their approach, the business took off. “We have always been holistic and will continue to be. When someone is referred to us, we feel it out to see what the comfort level is. We tell them the list of things we need them to bring to our first meeting. They need to do the work too if we are going to work together. These are things like tax, insurance, and investment information, along with upcoming major expenses. We require everything in a budget to invest.”
From there, Jardine is able to paint a picture of how an individual’s income looks. They generate in depth reports and a sample tax return to give clients an idea of what their situation looks like and answer that reoccurring question “am I going to be ok?”
“We give them the bottom line of what their income will look like after taxes and show how we can maximize it. We fix it so they are not paying more, we do the homework for them,” add Jardine.
For Jardine, ensuring that there is a good fit is critical. He says that because they are referral-only, they do have the luxury of not having to take on a client if it isn’t the right match. “We want to make sure we have the resources to look after our existing clients as well as new ones. We have to make sure we plan to have the time to work with everyone.”
While the holistic focus of the practice has not changed over the years, CIC has made effort to find ways of lowering their clients’ fees. They keep fees as transparent as possible. They also take care of their clients’ tax filing, included in their service.
Brad is an IIROC registered Investment Advisor with Aligned Capital Partners Inc. (ACPI) Working with ACPI has made that mentality, about the right fit, easier says Jardine. “Aligned is one of the few IIROC dealers with a defined advisor cost model, whereby we are able to dedicate more resources to support our client base.”
Jardine says he enjoys the independent environment he and his team operates in because they feel they can make the best choices for their clients. “There is no pressure to use a certain product, we have a large product shelf to use and we are left alone to run our business. Being an independent we are really treated with respect.”
Being in the industry since 1986, Jardine is now faced with another challenge, his own succession planning. Even with his own success and the success of the firm, he realizes that he must create a plan so that his clients have peace of mind. “My son works with me now, demonstrating attention has been paid to succession planning and clients are at ease knowing that there is a plan in place. If there was anything else, I would like to hire another advisor in between the ages of myself and son to help in the transition.”
With a plan in place, there is no doubt that the process that made Jardine successful all those years ago will continue even when he does decide to retire.
Location: Ancaster, ON
Year established: 1990
AUM: $204 million
Target clients: Approaching or in retirement