Growing up in the 1960s, Susan Latremoille was repeatedly told that as a woman, she could only aspire to be a secretary, nurse or teacher. Uninterested in mastering shorthand and dreading the thought of seeing blood, she settled on teacher.
But after graduating from the University of Toronto with a degree in English and French, Latremoille realized teaching wasn't for her. That decision launched her into the corporate world, where she tried her hand at a few careers with major companies like IBM and 3M.
Along the way, a conversation with a friend pushed her towards the financial industry. Even though Latremoille knew nothing about stocks or bonds, her friend convinced her that the work would give her the opportunity to be her own boss while still having all the resources of a big company behind her. From then on, she never looked back.
Latremoille entered the investment industry in 1983 in institutional equity sales with Merrill Lynch Canada, providing Wall Street research and advice to Canadian money managers. At the time, she was the first and only woman in the role.
“I would be on the morning call, listening to analysts talk about earnings and forecasts,” she recalls. “I would then get on the phone and relay the information to my clients. For five of the eight years I was there, I specialized in the US equity market.”
Latremoille went on to complete her MBA and a slew of other certifications including (FCSI, ICD.D, FEA). “When I was hired by Merrill Lynch, I was working on my MBA part-time,” she says, “which I think helped me get hired.”
In 1990, seeking better work-life balance, Latremoille left Merrill Lynch for the private client side at RBC Dominion Securities. “I spent 14 years with RBC Dominion building The Latremoille Group practice, starting from zero,” she says. “Right from the beginning, I always tried to look beyond just providing investment management. In retrospect, I’d say I was one of the pioneers of the holistic approach to wealth.”
Latremoille soon found other advisors with the same mindset. In 2004, she joined Richardson Partners Financial (now Richardson GMP) to continue working with high-net-worth clients. “Over the past 14 years, I have been a partner, shareholder, board member and leader, building and working with my team,” she says.
During her 35-year career in the industry, Latremoille has seen numerous changes, but through it all, she has relied on the same approach: understanding clients' emotions and behaviour to help them through stressful times in the markets and their lives.
“The industry has become much more complex with a continually evolving range of investment choices, tax changes, cross-border issues and greater expectations from clients for performance and services,” she says. “Increasing regulation and compliance now consume a large amount of time and effort. We are working to automate parts of the investment side, but we really can't automate the relationships and solutions we have with and for our clients. I have always worked to look at the individual needs of each client.”
Latremoille's career has produced many accolades, including the IDA Award of Distinction for Ontario, the Richardson GMP Royden Richardson Hummingbird Award and the 2018 Wealth Professional Award for Top Advisor Office (10 Staff or Fewer). However, Latremoille says the greatest highlight of her career has been hearing her clients talk about the positive impact she and her team have had on their lives.
“When a client comes to you and expresses their fears, their uncertainties or that they are overwhelmed about how to best manage their money and plan their lives, it is such a great reward for me to hear them say ‘Thank you, you have taken me from stress to peace of mind,'” she says. "I have always believed that when you use your knowledge, experience and wisdom to help someone, it brings out the best in us.”