White LeBlanc Wealth Planners feel that their discretionary portfolios make them unique and give them an advantage as they continue to spread across the country
Using portfolio management for their clients advantage
Colin White and Dan LeBlanc each had their own practice for more than 20 years before they officially joined forces in 2013 to form White LeBlanc Wealth Planners, HollisWealth, a division of Industrial Alliance Securities Inc. Since then, their practice has continued to evolve through mergers both in their home province of Nova Scotia and in British Columbia and Ontario. Still, at the heart of their operations is a strong belief in their process and the good people they have surrounded themselves with.
“The business has been a constant evolution,” said White. “After we merged, in 2013 Dan and I earned our portfolio manager designations.” That is when things started to expand.
In 2014, they met with two advisors in Truro looking for a succession plan. After conversations, they decided to establish it as their second office. Then, two offices in British Columbia called with similar situations, one in Nelson and a second in Powell River. Finally in 2018, they received a call from an office in Burlington, leading to their fifth location. “We thought that our process-driven platform was something we could offer to a new set of clients. As we evolved, we kept building our platform and expanding our offering and adding quality people. We never really set out looking to open offices all across the country, all of them were succession plans. We started by supporting the advisor with our platform and team. Then, when they knew their clients were in good hands, they had the ability to retire.”
White describes their platform and approach to wealth management as very client-centric. “All of what we do is dependent on what the client is looking for. We don’t have one cookie cutter solution. We put a big importance on capital preservation and purchasing power protection which is tough in today’s market. We have three portfolio managers on the discretionary side, which helps in building out the portfolios. Clients tell us what they need and we can make it work in almost any type of account.”
Having the portfolio managers on staff is something White sees as the practice’s biggest advantage. “I think what we offer on the discretionary side is unique. Our portfolio managers and other investment team members have worked at major firms and have brought that experience to us now.”
In addition to the portfolio managers, White says that as the business has evolved so have all members of the staff. “We have added depth at every level over the years. Our staff has evolved and many have taken additional courses to have more areas of expertise. It allows us to answer more questions and help in more complex areas.”
White himself has served in volunteer roles on the Nova Scotia and national IIROC advisory board. He says that experience gave him a different perspective and helped the firm transition to a discretionary model.
Having that expertise helps in dealing with client expectations, something White sees as one of the biggest challenges they face. “We live in a 24-hour news world and people read or hear things that can be scary and then get worried about their finances. Managing that, reassuring them that we are on top of things, is a big challenge.”
White attributes the success of the practice to the people. He says that at every office they have found great individuals. It is something that they were recognized for as a finalist for the 2018 Wealth Professional Top Office award. “It is a huge endorsement of our people. I am proud of our team and believe they are the best in the industry. It shows how we put the client first, how hard the team works and how much they care.”
While White LeBlanc has been expanding over the last few years, White says they are not expecting any more additions in the near future. They simply wish to improve on what they are doing each day and improve the client experience to attract and work with the best people. “When you work with good people, it is a lot of fun.”
White LeBlanc Wealth Planners
Locations: Dartmouth, NS (main), Truro, NS, Nelson, BC, Powell River BC, Burlington, ON }"
Year established: 2013
Employees: 15 (plus four partners)
AUM: $430 million
Target: open, not specified