Years as a financial advisor: 8
Certifications: CLU, FEA, CFP
Although she now works for her family’s business, Kate Pal’s career in financial services began much farther afield. Soon after graduating from Queen’s University in Kingston, she took a job as an analyst in The Hague with Dutch development bank FMO, which supports private companies in developing markets. Pal’s next position would continue in that vein, but at a much closer proximity – she spent the next year in Sierra Leone with private equity firm Manocap.
In 2010, she left West Africa and returned home to Pal Insurance, the Toronto-based firm her father, Joe Pal, founded in 1976. The company provides financial and estate planning, and Pal found a natural teacher in her father. Since joining the firm, she has added CLU, FEA and CFP designations to her title and is now fully committed to the advisory profession.
“In my view, an effective advisor must be able to both educate and motivate his or her client to action,” Pal says. “An effective advisor will also use technology to enhance the service offering that is provided to the client.”
Having the skills to use technology effectively is a real asset for an advisor in 2018, but technology isn’t always welcomed by clients. When speaking about the parts of the job that frustrate her, Pal is unequivocal: “Clients who are not open to new ideas or who have trouble making decisions.”
Specializing in life insurance and estate planning, Pal believes advisors should commit to educating themselves on some of financial planning’s more complex areas. “I think the certification program creates a solid baseline foundation for advisors in terms of knowledge and professionalism,” she says. “The higher the standard we hold ourselves to, the more reputable our industry will be.”