How Svetek-Robinson Wealth Management became the most outstanding advisory team with under 10 staff

The 2022 Wealth Professional Awards (WPAs) saw Svetek-Robinson Wealth Management named an Excellence Awardee in the W.A. Robinson Asset Management Award for Advisory Team of the Year (Under 10 Staff) category. What were the reasons behind that success? WPTV recently spoke with the company’s Senior Wealth Advisors and Portfolio Managers, Mitchel Robinson and Edward Svetek to hear about the company’s progress – and what’s in store for the future.

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James: [00:00:22] Hello everyone and welcome to this WP TV special. My name is James Burton, managing editor of Wealth Professional Canada, and today I am delighted to welcome Edward Svetek and Mitchel Robinson, Senior Wealth Advisors and portfolio Managers at Svetek Robinson Wealth Management and National Bank Financial. Edward, Mitchel, thanks for joining us.

Edward: [00:00:42] Well, thanks for having us. Really appreciate it. 

Mitchel: [00:00:45] Thank you very much for having me. Looking forward to the interview. 

James: [00:00:49] Now, the phone was recently named a finalist at the Professional Awards in the W.A. Robinson Asset Management Award for Advisory Team of the Year under ten staff. So huge. Congratulations to you both and to your team. But what that opportunity then to find out a bit more about what's propelled your success. So to kick things off, what skills or traits have enabled your team to be successful and perhaps elevate them yourself above some of your competitors? 

Edward: [00:01:17] Well, James, thanks. Thank you very much for that intro. We have three CFAs on the team certified financial analyst. We have a CPA, which is myself, which is a chartered accountant, and we all four of us are CFP, which are certified financial planners. So we find that that has been very helpful to our success because of the well educated and well versed in this industry, our backgrounds.

James: [00:01:51] Thanks. Edward. Mitchel And anything to add to that? 

Mitchel: [00:01:54] I think some some of the traits, you know, outline the skills in terms of designations. Chartered financial analyst etcetera. And I think one of the big things, though, is the the traits and one of the key characters that we have is competence and caring. And I think that at the end of the day, that is what distinguishes us from other other advisors in the business where your client is aware that you do care, that you are competent and will maintain a reasonable contact regime. 

James: [00:02:40] Interesting. So just picking up on that theme of of caring, you know, I mean, from a portfolio perspective and from a client perspective, it's obviously been a hard two years. How did you deal with the pandemic crash? 

Mitchel: [00:02:53] Well, we have we have our processes in place. We subscribe to a number of third party information sources that help us structure portfolios. And more importantly, each client has a wealth plan, a financial plan. And it's really those plans that keep you on track in a in a heavy storm. And it doesn't mean that we don't re-balance in a higher risk environment. And in fact, we do. But we also are cognizant of the required return in the in from the wealth plan. And all of that works together to give us a range of risk assets that the client can have and should have depending upon where we are in the cycle.

James: [00:03:51] Thanks, Mitchel. Great answer, Edward. Anything to add to that point? 

Edward: [00:03:55] Yeah, we didn't. We didn't. When the pandemic hit, we didn't panic. That was the big thing. We didn't. We analyzed the situation. We looked at it. We have weekly strategy investment meetings. And so we're on top of the ball all the time. And as Mitch mentioned, with our different independent sources of information, we analyzed the situation and we acted appropriately. So if it was if we needed to make changes, we made them, but we didn't panic and just sell the whole farm. 

James: [00:04:31] I'm intrigued to know a bit more about the family unit approach. You could explain to me what that is and how it's helped to grow your business. 

Mitchel: [00:04:40] Yeah. As the family unit approach, what we have found is through the development of our of our wealth plan, we incorporate and we learn a lot about clients, probably more about clients than many of their best friends know not, and what the characteristics in nature of various family members are and the issues that they may be facing now and in the future. And we incorporate those ideas and those individuals into the wealth plan to the point where if they have investment funds, we give them the same level of attention and detail as we do for the the lead account, let's say. And also what is one of the bigger distinguishing features that we have is relates to our estate planning, where we bring in a complete trust and estate planner to incorporate how to distribute wealth and when to distribute wealth intergenerationally. And that is how we build the family unit approach. And that's how the client benefits from that by having the plan while you're alive and having a plan when you're not. And that's that's proved to be very well. And it's the key thing really is it's a referable easily referable item. And that's how we're that's how we as a team benefit from that. In addition to knowing the client well, we benefit from that as it's easily referable. That's one of our key sources of new business. 

James: [00:06:40] I was kind of, this follow up question there has that knowing your client in that intimate detail almost has that had to increase over the years? Is that different to how it may be used to be? 

Edward: [00:06:55] Yeah, I think it's I think it's increased. I think it's increased tremendously over the years. I think when you look at the brokerage industry 25, 30 years ago, it was they didn't do financial planning, they didn't do estate planning. You were basically before we got in. You were an order taker or, you know, you had the best stock ideas or stuff like that. When I got in, I, you know, having a background as a CPA and, you know, being a certified financial planner, it's changed things. And our whole group being certified financial planners, we understand the family dynamics because, you know, issues like intergenerational issues like cottage, you know, what do you do with the cottage? There's three sons. One wants it, one wants to use it, but doesn't want to pay for it. And the third one just wants the money. Right? So, you know, I mean, I'm just picking one topic, right? So you really have to look at look at ourselves as a family office. How is that put? I think family office is sometimes overused if it's not understood. But if somebody wins the lottery, the first call I want is to me actually, I should say second call, because they call their family first. But we had a lottery winner and he said, Ed, I listened to you in the second call was to you. And because then we can help them, right? Because everybody's going to be calling them for money. Right. And you have the plan in place like Mitch has told you, we have a plan in place. And that way we could sit down with the family and have the plan if they want to give some money to their kids or if they need to help their elderly parents for retirement homes or stuff like that, we have that plan in place. So using the family unit and the the financial planning and the state approach has been fantastic for us. 

James: [00:09:11] Excellent. Thanks. Are there any other ways in the way you operate in that you build trust with clients? Obviously, that family unit approach sounds central to that, but how else do you forge that relationship?

Mitchel: [00:09:24] I think I think our our key really is our contact regime. And we do have a leading edge client, customer service service called client service relationship manager software, something like CRM. And that allows us to set minimum contact regimes to meet the client's needs, whether it's 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, whether it's even one year. Some clients really only require or want one year of sort of guaranteed contact. But more importantly, the thing that we do that makes a big distinction for us is our ongoing review of portfolios. One of the things that we found is, you know, advisors do a lot of work reviewing portfolios and changing things and adjusting the accounts and all the rest of it, but the client isn't aware of it and the client's not aware that, oh, you bought something and sold something and the only see it on their statement at the end of the end of the month if they bother to look at it. And what we do is we send out on a regular basis a portfolio evaluation with us, a summary of where the portfolio is, the changes we're making to the portfolio and what the current asset mixes are and that type of thing. So it demonstrates to the client that we're actually doing work for them. 

James: [00:11:12] Thanks so much, Mitchel. Edward, anything to add? 

Edward: [00:11:16] Yeah. The other things, James, is that. We do what we say we're going to do. Like if we tell the client we're going to do something, we do it. And that that starts to build the trust because you have to earn the trust in this business. You have to earn the trust. Right. And you always do what's in the best interest of the client. Always treat them like it was your own parents. And that goes a long way. And that's why we have long term relationships with clients. And it's been it's been helpful. And, you know, to make sure that they know that they're very important, doesn't matter the dollar value, if it's 30, 40 or 50 million or if it's half a million dollars. Right. That they're important and that we're making sure that they feel that they're important, that they're being looked after properly. 

James: [00:12:11] Excellent. I mean, continuing that theme. What tips would you give other smaller advisory teams in how to treat clients and how to grow your business? 

Edward: [00:12:23] Well, I think I started off as treat them like they were your own parents is number one. I think it's very, very important and you have to listen to what they're asking you. You know, it's it's better to spend time listening to what their needs and wants are. And if they don't know what they are, just keep on probing. Right. And that's what we do with the financial planning. We keep on probing. What are your needs? What are your goals? What are you what do you want to do? And everybody's like one client said, Well, I want to I want to golf in retirement. And I said, Well, how often do you golf now? I haven't golfed before, so they don't even know. Right. So it's you really have to understand your clients because they have you know, you've seen it now in our business that, you know, 35 year old kids are coming back home to live. Right. So how do you deal with that? How do you help those clients out with those things? If you don't know the client, you don't understand their family needs? How can you help them? Right. 

Mitchel: [00:13:33] I think at the end of the day for newer teams. You really have to establish the relationship. And it's not just about generating a fee and it's not just about generating a commission because that's that's shortsighted and that's short term and you won't ultimately be successful long term as a result. When you develop the relationship. The relationship can be a lifelong relationship. And I would recommend that newer teams are developing teams keep that in mind. It's not a short term relationship. It's a long term relationship, and it should be treated as such. 

James: [00:14:19] Thanks, Mitchel. Great answer, Edward. Anything to add to that point? 

Edward: [00:14:23] And the other key, James, just to add to that, you've got to treat it like you're buying Tim Hortons. You have to invest in the business. If you don't invest in the business, if you just take out, you're not going to grow, you're not going to do the right things and you don't you don't invest in the business. And we treat it like it was a Tim Hortons franchise. You have to invest money into the business and we do for client events, for for portfolio research, for all these things that will benefit the clients and their families in the long run. 

James: [00:14:59] Excellent. So given everything that you've mentioned and obviously the success that you've had, what's next for the team? What are your what are your ambitions moving forward? 

Edward: [00:15:09] We want to grow. We want to get more business. We like helping people. So, you know, increasing the family units, increasing the the kids coming in because the intergenerational wealth that's going to transfer needs to go somewhere because you find this next generation doesn't have the same savings skills as the generation we're dealing with now has because they didn't have all that money. Right. So they've saved a lot. So growing the growing the business, growing the team. 

James: [00:15:47] Thanks, Edward. Anything to add to that? 

Mitchel: [00:15:50] Yeah. No, I think we also have on our team two very strong associates, and they'll transition more and more into a more complete role as they gain more experience, etc.. And then we'll add a few under them and as we grow. So we do have a plan and we are building a team. 

James: [00:16:19] Thanks, Mitch. That's a great way to finish. And that wraps up another WP TV special. Thank you, everyone for joining us and sharing your insights. 

Edward: [00:16:27] Thanks for having us, James. Appreciate it. 

James: [00:16:30] You can find out more information on their team at NBFWM.ca/advisor/svetek-robinson-wealth-management. And don't forget to check wealthprofessional.ca for all the latest news and views on the industry. And if you haven't already, please sign up to our free daily newsletter. I'm James Burton. Until next time.