Jonathan Showers was on track to pursue a legal career, going through the interview process for law school, when he stumbled upon an ad to work as an advisor with Berkshire Securities Inc. (“Berkshire”).
“The entrepreneurial opportunity and my ability to remember and work with numbers are really the main elements that drew me to it,” said Showers, who is a branch owner and senior investment advisor at Summit Private Wealth under the Mandeville
Private Client Inc. (“Mandeville
Private Client”) platform. “There are not too many professional fields where you are limited only by your own willingness to achieve. Tie this in with the ability to see the positive impact that you have on your clients’ lives first-hand, and you have probably one of the best professions out there.”
The opportunity at Berkshire was richer than Showers could’ve imagined. During his time there, he met and was mentored by one of the most acclaimed names in Canadian business.
“Michael LeeChin was very important in my development as an advisor,” Showers said. “He taught me that you must combine talent and hard work within a framework to achieve success, and he gave me a target to aim for. Having a framework keeps me focused and blocks out a lot of the noise that many in this industry get caught up in. It wasn’t about selling products; everything was done with purpose.”
He made another life-changing connection at Berkshire when he first met Gene Kim
, his current business partner. “Gene has also been instrumental in my growth professionally … Realizing early on that we shared common goals and visions for our business, we started working together. This has culminated in us opening our own multi-family office, Summit Private Wealth, within the Mandeville
Private Client framework back in March of 2015.”
The two made a great team. Showers provided a lot of energy and passion that helped attract and maintain business, while Kim was able to streamline things so they moved forward with only the best ideas and strategies. Together, they created a holistic planning approach that doesn’t just incorporate their specialties, but also often taps professionals from other areas like tax planning and estate/legacy planning. That, according to Showers, created a competitive advantage, a service they could deliver that no one else could at the time.
Since then, their practice has flourished because of the attention and boutique feel that they bring, which their clients truly look for. For Showers, it’s a win-win: the clients have a firm yet gentle hand guiding them through their financial affairs, and he derives fulfilment from the human element and seeing the impact he has on his clients’ lives.
“There is nothing more satisfying to me than working with a client from start to finish on their plan,” he said. “Seeing it all come together and being able to greenlight a clients’ retirement or the purchase of a new business or property is exceptionally satisfying.” He also enjoys clients’ genuine reactions to these achievements, which they had either thought were unattainable or worked so hard to reach.
With technologies such as robo-advisors and email, people are now able to transact business more efficiently at the expense of the human touch. Still, Showers doesn’t see any decrease in the value of the human element any time soon. In fact, he foresees more appreciation for it coming with CRM2 and other regulatory changes — which will only become more frequent.
“I feel that in the coming 5 years we will more than likely see more changes to our industry than we saw in the past 10 or 15 years,” he said. “I see a tremendous opportunity in what many are seeing as a tough road ahead. These disclosures will not only level the playing field in terms of disclosures but will also make it more apparent in terms of the added value that we are bringing to our clientele.”
As CRM disclosures become an industry standard, the need for firms to differentiate themselves will only increase. In such a world, Showers sees a strategic advantage from their move to Mandeville
: the platform lets them enjoy independence as well as access to strategies including private and alternative assets, which give the world’s largest pension funds their biggest returns.
“This is probably one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far in my life,” he said, “If I’d said ‘we’re going to stay where we are,’ we would’ve missed a great opportunity to bring value to our clients and our practice.” But rather than stay where it’s comfortable, he and Kim decided to take their practice somewhere new and promising, and he encourages other advisors to adopt the same, anti-complacent spirit.
“It’s too easy to get into a routine; stick to it too much and you don’t stay sharp,” he said. “When we meet or recruit other advisors, there’s something in them like a fear of disrupting the status quo. You’re responsible for a lot more than your firm’s revenues and your career; you’re at the helm of your clients’ financial future, their retirement, their kids’ education, and everything else. If you’re not willing to take that responsibility seriously and push forward, that’s very dangerous.”
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