Supporting advisors with planning tools, not just investment products

After being named one of WP’s Top 50 Wholesaler, Tesha Grey, District VP of Sales at Mackenzie Investments, explains why her work with advisors goes beyond just investment products. She outlines some of the tools and approaches that she sees helping advisors in her region and across Canada.

To view full transcript, please click here

David Kitai [00:00:07] Hello and welcome to this special edition of WP TV where we are celebrating some of Wealth Professionals Top 50 Wholesalers in Canada. My name is David Kitai, Senior Editor here at Wealth Professional. Today we are lucky to be joined by Gregory Rank, District Vice President of Retail Sales from Mackenzie Investments. An industry veteran with over 30 years experience. Gregory has spent his career working closely with Canadian financial advisors supporting the businesses. Gregory congratulations on being named a Top 50 Wholesaler and welcome to WP TV. 

Gregory Rank [00:00:35] Thank you very much, David, appreciate the opportunity. 

David Kitai [00:00:39] Great to have you. So let's just get started with the key question. Why do you think you were named one of the Top 50 Wholesalers in Canada? What set you apart? 

Gregory Rank [00:00:49] You know, that's a great question. I don't know if I know specifically outside of the things that I've always focused on in my career, when it comes to working with advisors is just know like trust getting people to know me, like me, and trust me, so I'm, I'm envisioning the like in the trust means something to the audience that I cater to just because that's largely the world they work in, as well as advisors with their clients. And then really kind of being attentive, being responsive. You know, it's I don't think it's anything out of the ordinary. It's just being engaged with your audience listening, understanding what their needs are, and servicing and supporting them and having sort of challenging insights and questions that you are more thought provoking in terms of just sort of progressing that relationship along and the kind of dual benefit to each. 

David Kitai [00:01:43] That makes a lot of sense. And I like that know, like, trust. And it leads us nicely into the next question, which is more about, you know, the company that supports you and the brand that you work with? So what is it about your firm Mackenzie investments that you think helps make you a more successful wholesale? 

Gregory Rank [00:01:57] Well, I think it's having flexibility across a product shelf, having a number of resources that can lend itself well and supporting the advisor, Mackenzie has the benefit of 16 investment boutiques, we also have a tax and estate team that can support myself and the advisor, we specialize in Registered Disability Savings Plans, which is kind of unique, charitable gifting and setting up your own Donor Advised foundation ETFs, liquid alternatives, private markets, so at the end of the day, whatever objection or whatever challenge that may be in front of the advisor, we've got kind of tools and resources to serve and support them. So I think it gives us flexibility, we someone agnostic, as to how you run your business, I can kind of pivot in cater to whatever those needs are. So I think just having the flexibility of a broad global asset manager to support you, sort of lends itself favorably. 

David Kitai [00:02:57] Absolutely. And the breadth of that service and the breadth of options you are able to provide for advisors, leads me to another question that I've always been curious about, which is, what are you hearing from advisors today? What challenges do you think advisors face now? And what challenges are they sharing with you? 

Gregory Rank [00:03:14] Well, I think a lot of it is regulatory challenges, compliance changes, you know, your product, necessity, let alone time efficiencies, noise and distractions, which are constant, looking at ways to kind of grow the business and kind of the scalability of it. So I think that's, you know, that all comes down to time, effectiveness or time efficiencies. But I think those are most of the obstacles that I hear day to day from my, my client telling advisors that are challenges to them over the last several years that seem to be growing in concern. 

David Kitai [00:03:57] Absolutely. And it's something I know I've heard in a lot of my reporting, when we talk to advisors, that's those are regular pieces that come up that compliance burden, that growth challenge. So how are you meeting them? What are you doing to meet the challenges the advisors face? 

Gregory Rank [00:04:11] Well, I think a lot of it has to do with branding. So assisting advisors on helping them or at least maybe articulating what their brand stands for helping with growing their business. And a lot of that just comes down to client engagement, education, maybe doing seminars or events to certainly broaden out their clientele get new introductions, sort of saw along the same pendulum of that you know like trust, in order to grow their business, they're gonna have to get people, more people to know them, and be aware of them. And then of course, be able to articulate what they do if they wish to have those that trust them to advocate for their business and to talk about them. So we kind of work along the practice management side along the client engagement, the education and just trying to sort of put More simplicity into the day to day business. And of course, create positive experiences, which tends to create more repeat behavior. 

David Kitai [00:05:09] So it's interesting, you bring up the practice management and some of the client relationship work that advisors have to do. Because in some ways, even though you're a little downstream from that you are very much living and breathing, that kind of aspect of of the work that that's done in this industry. So what do you hear now that Canadian clients are expecting from their advisors? 

Gregory Rank [00:05:31] Well, let's face it, evidence of knowledge, and maybe credentials, to sort of Garner that knowledge are essential. This is a trusting business. And I think the level of risk in the business or the risk of the investor in the business, largely from an age or demographic or wealth standpoint, the greater the risk, the greater the need for trust. So there is a direct correlation. And then really, kind of the ability to listen to advisors and of course, understand their needs and objectives and drown out the noise, I've kind of followed a path where my brand stands for the three C's. And that's really comfort, control and confidence. If I can help simplify or make the complicated, simple to give you comfort and understanding, likely give you more the feeling of control. And then ultimately more competence were tended to have a much stronger relationship. And that's sort of the stories that I convey to my audience to maybe help them articulate kind of their brand and what they do day to day with their clientele. And of course, with prospecting and getting new introductions. 

David Kitai [00:06:39] That's great. I like that there's a lot of wisdom in there. But there's also a lot of replicability, you can apply those principles across a whole bunch of different interactions and, and in a lot of ways that you might be talking with your, your clients. But let's generalize it out even more, because you're talking a little bit about, you know, of course, your own experience. And, and that's where we all operate from, but what do you think wholesalers as a whole can do to better help advisors meet the expectations of their clients and, and very fast changing environment? 

Gregory Rank [00:07:11] Well, I think a lot of it has to do with certainly being well aware of what industry changes are going on how things are evolving, obviously, the adoption of social media, certainly through the pandemic, that kind of catapulted forward. So I think, being engaged with your audience and not being complacent, obviously, the reality is you've got to challenge the status quo with your clientele, just like I need to be challenged of my status quo. And of course, the longer tenured relationships that I do have, with advisors I've worked with, you can fall into that complacency of things are fine, comfortable, I don't need to push. But at the end of the day, you're doing them a disservice. And they may be doing their clients a disservice. So I think challenging their status quo, helping them kind of grow and evolve with what's going on out there. And really how client needs are changing and how we kind of connect with clients may be changing. So adopting social media, adapting the idea of branding, through social media, certainly helping with engaging on education, whether it's through seminars, whether it's virtual or in person. So being much more open and mindful for that. But of course, leaning on the resources that we have that can help support the adviser well, and beyond their existing team that they may have internally that are supporting them. And just being really a consultant in their business is the ultimate, from my standpoint, and what I've kind of focused my attention on. 

David Kitai [00:08:41] No, that's fascinating, and I love the idea of a consultant. But you also highlighted some of the work that you do and the work that advisors have to do on social media and across content channels. Now, in order to get their voices heard. Working in social media, and working on content means you're playing in a noisy field, how do you think advisors and wholesalers can differentiate themselves from that noise and remain authoritative while reaching wider audiences? 

Gregory Rank [00:09:08] Well, I think it's, it's a lot of it is understanding kind of the intake of that information and kind of looking at some of the, I guess, how we take how we intake it, what the what the time slots are, that you're going to tend to have more viewing points, and then of course, understand the attention span. So we've done a lot of work with advisors and certainly looked at a lot of research with say Instagram and with LinkedIn, LinkedIn, being more of the professional social media site in terms of the optimal times that you may want to post something. Certainly being kind of very short and to the point from a video standpoint, like he really got one two minute kind of videos, and then understand that social media is not just about, say business. It's got the word social, and it's also meant for you to parlay a bit of who you are or from a social perspective so that you can find some commonalities with clients or with connections you're looking to make. So we kind of bring forth our expertise and some of the best practices that we've heard with regards to when, and what kind of contact or content to share. And then the frequency of that. And then of course, looking to connect with more centers of influence more clients or more individuals that you want to connect with, as opposed to everyone in anyone. So trying to segment who your audience is that you're trying to cater to. And then also within your LinkedIn profile, you build your brand, you can try and tell me in 30 seconds, what your brand style stands for. And I know it's a hard proposition, but we've kind of worked with many advisors to help them articulate that in a very short soundbite or very point to two or three bullet points. But it's trying to be short to the point and sweet but of course, broadening out your audience with the use of social media. 

David Kitai [00:11:01] That is a great answer, Gregory and it speaks to the depth and complexity of the work of a wholesaler. Now, it's not just about knowing investment products. It is a whole set of multifaceted factors that you are now having to address in your day to day. So with that, let's turn to your future goals. You've been named a Top 50 Wholesaler, you have a great career, you have great relationships and you work in many ways as that consultant to advisors, businesses, what are your plans and your goals for the future as a wholesaler? 

Gregory Rank [00:11:33] Well, you know, it's still an exciting business, even though I've had 25 years of wholesaling. I love what I do, I love the opportunity to engage. There is still many individuals within my territory respectably that I have not opened the door with and been able to garner access, and of course, have some influencer glean some partnership with I'm also very excited to kind of act as a mentor, as well, for those coming into the business. Certainly within Mackenzie, I love the opportunity to kind of listen to someone at a maybe an earlier stage in their career with a different set of mindset towards the job. So I can learn as well but also share some of the insights that I have. So I really have a burning desire to put a smile on people's faces and to certainly help in regards to give people the opportunity to shine. So this job, this role, the people that I work with work for have afforded me to do that day in and day out. So I am still very much driven off of that. And I love what I do. And I certainly love the people that I get to do it with and do it for. So I guess future goals are, let's keep knocking on people's doors and opening up new opportunities and growing this together. So onward and upward. 

David Kitai [00:12:52] Always good to end on people. Gregory, thank you so much. That is all the time we have today. But thank you again for joining us and sharing some of your wisdom and insights.  

Gregory Rank [00:13:04] Thank you very much, David. I very much appreciate the opportunity and I'm humbled by the recognition with wealth, you know, the Wealth Professional and Top 50 Wholesaler it certainly is a very humbling and gratifying recognition. So thank you.  

David Kitai [00:13:19] You are most welcome and it's something you have clearly earned. Thank you as well to all of our viewers. Thank you for watching. Thank you for engaging, keep doing so I have been David Kitai. Have a great rest of your day.