10 Years

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I am not sure if everyone is aware of this, but I am hitting a fairly special milestone this month. It is my 10th anniversary of being a financial advisor. I can say with a lot of confidence that I am very happy with the career I am building and the direction it is heading. I wanted to share with you the journey I have taken with my career over the past few years and the place I feel I have arrived at to this point. In The Beginning 10 years ago, I stepped into the office for the first time as a financial advisor. I had just left a job at Sun Life Financial where I had been climbing the corporate ladder, but my plan had always been to come back to London and work with Dad. 10 years ago, I thought the time was right for me to join Dad. After years of doing things on his own, I do not think neither Dad or I knew how I would fit into his business. In the beginning I spent most of my time as the administrator, prepping forms and pushing paper as needed. During this time I attended as many business building seminars as I could and really tried to get to know the managers of the funds we were recommending, focusing on what I could bring to our partnership and finding improvements I could integrate into our business. The Financial Crisis As time went on I had started working with more and more clients, and the results were okay. Client’s money was growing, and performance was decent. Then it happened… The market started to sell off. It was slow at first but consistently lower each month. By the fall of 2008 the recession was apparent and many people were in a panic watching their portfolios dropping quickly. With a little bit of healthy ignorance and a cheery attitude I took on the task of trying to explain to clients that despite how bad things got, we would eventually see a nice rebound and recover from the losses. This was a textbook market selloff, even though it seemed to just keep going and going… and going. This was a stressful time to be an advisor, but not for the reasons you might think. One of the biggest reasons I lost sleep at night was not the market dropping, it was the anxiety that clients would let fear take over and sell at the wrong time. I am grateful that many people took my advice and stayed with their investments, and I am sure looking back, everyone is relieved to see that growth did return, as we have recovered from the financial crisis. A Time For A Professional Facelift While the markets were beginning to recover, I was at an interesting stage in my career. I had been doing this for about 5 years and to this point anyone who had taken my advice had lost money. Not really the outcome I had wanted. I had decided that I did not want to be measured by only the performance of the funds. I started to evaluate some of the other aspects of our business, including our customer service, the value of our advice and our communication with clients. I believe the biggest strength I can offer, that differs from some other advisors, is my desire to improve above the status quo in all these aspects. Over the past few years I made a decision to take a hard look at our financial advisory practice and see what I could do to improve. I determined we could use a professional facelift. It is still evolving, but I am very happy with the way we are conducting business, and wanted to share with you why I feel this way. We Have Brought In Help - This has probably been the biggest and most important change we have implemented over the past 10 years. Having people in place to assist us with the work load has allowed me the time to concentrate on what we can do to serve clients better. A little over 2 years ago Roslyn Caplan joined our business. Roz is our administrator extraordinaire. She is a wizard when it comes to being organized, and her strong attention to detail makes sure that every trade that is placed, document that is signed and all the tiniest details of a client’s account are taken care of. Nothing gets missed by her, and we are lucky to have her. Enhanced Financial Planning - About 2 years ago, we revamped our process for financial planning to take our service beyond the basics of just your investment portfolio. We are on a quest to ensure all our clients’ financial plans are organized, and that nothing crucial is being missed. I believe we have the right process in place to record and monitor client plans better than ever. If this has not been discussed with you yet, please let us know and we will have the information sent out to get you started. Client Contact - This is one area I would give myself mixed reviews as it is still evolving. First I would like to touch on what I think I do well. Both Dad and I have always been very quick to respond when a client calls or emails. It is one of the easiest things to do, and I am not sure why any professional wouldn’t do something as simple as return a phone call. For email contact, we introduced The Martens Report e-newsletter. My hope with it is to provide useful information as well as stay in touch with clients on a regular basis (without overloading your inbox). An area I am hoping to improve on is reaching out to speak with clients directly. When there is a purpose for me to call (i.e. a form needing to be signed or a fund change we feel is needed) I am on it. Calling to say hello and check and see if there is anything you need is hard for me to do. The bottom line is I do not like bothering people, and this gets in my head when I try to call out to clients. I know it is important to stay in touch, and I will continue to strive for improvement on this. Taking The Lead As time has gone on, I have come along from being Dad’s trainee, to taking the lead in our partnership. Dad has certainly built a wonderful business over his career, and he has earned the opportunity to step back and relax with a few more extra days out of the office. My commitment has always been looking for ways to improve the customer experience for our clients and I hope I am achieving this.Your feedback is always welcome. I am grateful to work in an industry that provides so many insights into what is happening around the world. I have such a diverse group of wonderful clients that I truly enjoy working with. I thank you for continuing to allow me to grow over these years and I look forward to the future. I hope to have a similar entry at the 20, 30 and (maybe) 40 year mark of my career. Thank you! Andrew


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