Growing Your Financial Advisory Practice | Insights for Financial Advisors, Planners and Investment Managers
032: How Wealthy People Approach Building Wealth
Everyone wants to build wealth for their family, but so many investment portfolios have nothing to do with clients’ lives and the goals they are trying to achieve. Too often, advisors just sell financial products without looking at the actual needs of their clients. Today’s guest is an expert in creating a good financial planning foundation for his clients’ investments.
Gregg Filmon is the President of Value Partners Investments, one of Canada’s fastest-growing financial firms. Gregg works side by side with his clients, helping them build wealth to finance their dreams for the future. Value Partners Investments has already created over $820 million in investment gains for families across Canada. Listen to the episode to hear Gregg’s insights about the critical importance of planning and how he leverages second opinions to bring in new clients.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode:
- Why Gregg’s firm’s structure is so unique (1:10)
- What goes wrong for families who are trying to build wealth — it actually has very little to do with money (9:05)
- Where Gregg starts the planning process with clients (11:20)
- Why investors need to develop an ownership mentality (12:10)
- Why good investment advice starts with good planning (23:40)
- Gregg’s foundations for building a successful business (28:00)
- How Gregg recommends new advisors get into the business today (35:50)
- Why Gregg is becoming an expert in offering second opinions (39:05)
Links and Resources:
Quotes by Gregg:
“We fundamentally believe that the financial decisions that people make in their lives should reflect their values. It should reflect who they are and what they’re trying to accomplish.”
“We’re going to change their lives by helping them make the most of their life’s work.”
“I could make the argument that you should not be investing anybody’s money until you understand specifically what the money is intended for.”
Owned and operated by independent financial advisors across Canada, Value Partners Investments is a great example of a firm that centers financial planning in everything they do. As the president, Gregg has a unique view of how critical this is both for clients and for the company’s sustainability.
Below, we’re sharing three key ideas from this episode:
- Why good investment advice starts with good planning
- Gregg’s foundations for building a successful business
- Why Gregg is becoming an expert in offering second opinions
To listen to the full episode, find the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or hit the link above.
Why good investment advice starts with good planning
Every day, Gregg sees portfolios that bear no resemblance to what clients need or want from their lives. Portfolio managers select securities based on commissions or what they’ve seen work in the past without looking at the client’s specific needs.
Often, plans are added on as lip service or one small piece of a massive checklist. A plan is drafted, then sits gathering dust on a shelf and is never revisited — making it essentially pointless.
At Value Partners Investments, though, the plan is the very centre of the service.
Gregg illustrates the reason with the example of a corporate farm, which has huge risk and cash flow variability from year to year. If land becomes available, it’s usually a good idea for them to snatch it up right away. In a case like this, a 100% cash portfolio might actually be ideal — definitely not a one-size-fits-all option. And when it comes time to transition their land to the next generation, the portfolio would have to switch up once again.
In Gregg’s view, any investment should begin with the goal in mind. According to him, “you should not be investing anybody’s money until you understand specifically what the money is intended for.”
Gregg’s foundations for building a successful business
With 51 people on staff, $3 billion AUM, and about eight thousand clients across Canada, Value Partners Investments is by no means a small firm. Gregg pinpoints four key reasons for their success:
Gregg feels that the core of any successful business is the belief that people need what you are offering. If you don’t even believe that what you provide is valuable, you’ll have a hard time putting all your focus into it — or convincing anyone else that they should use your services.
The written plan
So many advisors who help their clients plan their financial futures don’t write down their own goals. Gregg suggests writing down very specific goals and working back from them to find out what actions you need to take to reach them.
For example, Jim Lawton, the founder of Value Partners Investments, decided he wanted to double the firm every 5 years. This meant 15% growth compounded annually. From there, they had to figure out every single piece that they needed to get there: the systems, people, processes, marketing, service level, software, and so on.
Furthermore, Gregg’s team has a scorecard — which has targets for new clients and new assets, as well as a clear action plan — that all employees keep front of mind. Without it, they couldn’t evaluate how well they executed on action points, how that translated into results, or what they could improve on for next time.
Growth is stressful and challenging — what works early on in your business won’t necessarily translate as your client base and staff grow. And it’s impossible to do it all yourself.
That’s why it’s important to bring the right people onto your team. Whether you grow your staff or keep an informal network of specialists you can refer to your clients, you need motivated and invested people to help you bring your vision to life.
Hint: To hear how Steadyhand’s Tom Bradley works with other professionals to best serve his clients, check out our recent interview with him.
The other side of this, though, is relinquishing control. Once you bring people on board, you have to give them responsibility and trust that they’ll be accountable for their actions. At Value Partners Investments, the staff members are all owners, so everyone is invested in the long term success of the company — and of each client.
Why Gregg is becoming an expert in offering second opinions
You already know that an ideal client is one who really sees the value of good financial advice. Unfortunately, the flip side of this is that most ideal clients are already working with a financial services professional.
Maybe they don’t have a financial planner, but you can be pretty sure they have somebody — maybe an insurance advisor, an accountant, or a portfolio manager.
However, very few Canadians are getting the full picture of their finances or the personalized service that will help them make the most of their life’s work.
For this reason, Gregg and his team have been working hard to position themselves as experts at providing a second opinion. They focus on reaching out to folks and being bold enough to ask them, “Are you getting the service you need from your advisor?”
There’s definitely a fearlessness required to ask people this — but that fearlessness is also critical to growing your business.
For the consumer, a second opinion is a win-win. Either they walk away knowing that their affairs are indeed in order, or they get specific recommendations to improve their financial situations (and hopefully choose your practice to implement them).
Hint: For more on identifying your ideal clients and convincing them to work with you, listen to our episode with Grant Hicks.
To learn more from Gregg, make sure you catch the full episode where he dives further into the qualities of ideal clients, the importance of an ownership mentality for investors, and more.
You can find the episode right here on this page or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher so you don’t miss any episodes. And to get new episodes directly to your inbox, sign up for our mailing list below.
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