'Knowledge and mentorship took me light years ahead'

'Knowledge and mentorship took me light years ahead'

One might think that someone who has earned bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees in mathematics would become a lifelong academic. Colin Reid was advancing along that path, and might have stayed there — but a decision to do income-tax returns for a financial advisor while in university caused him to change course.

“While working in the office, I saw firsthand what a financial planner and advisor does every day,” said Reid, who also holds the CFP and CIM designations and is currently a Level III candidate in the CFA program. “I found it extremely interesting and decided to begin the necessary coursework to become licensed in securities and to fully pursue a career as an investment advisor upon completion of my PhD.”

On its own, the coursework required to become a financial advisor is formidable. But as a PhD candidate, Reid had to deal with two torrents of information — and it was a challenge he took on with great excitement. He managed to become a practicing financial advisor even before earning his PhD from McMaster University in 2010.

“This is an industry which contains a vast amount of knowledge so you are always learning,” he said. “I really enjoy my job and can honestly say that I look forward to every day.”

Not long afterward, he became an investment advisor at Aligned Capital Partners. Reid has since completed the requirements to become a portfolio manager, and, later on, owner and president of Reid Financial Strategies, which engages in insurance, financial planning, and taxation services.

“I have been extremely lucky to have friends in the industry who provide invaluable advice toward not just financial planning and investing, but also in building a practice,” he said. “I am light years ahead due to their mentoring and knowledge.”

With the support of colleagues and mentors, Reid has been able to develop solid strategies for clients and helping them reach their goals. But that’s sure to become more of a struggle, he believes, because of the current state of the financial markets.

“The current investment environment is more challenging than usual,” he said. “With interest rates rising from all-time lows and stock valuations near or above fair value (in his opinion), the expected future rate of return for portfolios is lower than average.”  

With over 10 years of professional education and 10 years of professional experience under his belt, Reid is able to guide his clients through the volatility and risks that the markets present. And while he believes that advice will become more in demand than ever among investors seeking guidance, that doesn’t mean every advisor will succeed necessarily.

“The general population is lacking in good financial advice so there are many opportunities out there to assist those in need of help,” he said. “But if you do not actively try and learn as much as you can and work hard toward doing the best you can for clients, then you will find yourself at the back of the pack.”

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