Susan Carson

Title

Investment Advisor, The Carson Advisory Group, CIBC Wood Gundy

City

Toronto

In the business

16 years

Book size

100 families

Minimum assets

$500,000


Philosophy

I construct conservative investment portfolios tailored to meet clients’ long-term goals. They include fixed income, Canadian and U.S. large-cap dividend-paying equities, in addition to international companies that trade as American Depository Receipts (certificates good for shares of foreign stocks that trade on U.S. exchanges). For some clients, I add small- and mid-cap funds for greater diversification. Currently, an income and growth portfolio is 40% fixed income, 10% cash, 20% Canadian equity and 30% global equity.

Straddling generations

I have relationships with two or three generations of the same family. The key is to convey relevant information when clients share important news. For example, if a client tells me his daughter is getting engaged or married, I’ll send an email listing the key financial aspects to consider. Or, if a client loses his job, I’ll send one about how to proceed if he receives a severance package. Then I’ll arrange follow-up meetings.

Ice breaker

My background as an interior designer helps me visualize for clients. I take extensive notes when prospects discuss dreams and goals, then add in some graphics and colour, and print their vision on high-quality paper. It evokes interesting responses when I review it with them. Some clients have gotten teary-eyed because their goals seemed more real when they saw them in print. Some have even laminated the sheet and stuck it to their fridges.

Customized appreciation

I don’t send out blanket invitations to client appreciation events. I prefer to organize activities in groups of eight to 20 because I want to shake each client’s hand and have personal conversations. And I only include clients who’d be interested in that particular activity, so it becomes a networking opportunity for them.

This year, I hosted an olive oil tasting event, as well as a chef’s table for eight, at Earl’s in Toronto. For the artistically inclined, I’ve hosted events at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Kanupriya Vashisht is a Toronto-based financial writer.

Originally published in Advisor's Edge

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