Lovett-Reid wins top CFP award

By Mark Noble | May 22, 2009 | Last updated on May 22, 2009
4 min read

Well-known personal finance commentator and BNN talk show host, Patricia Lovett-Reid is the 2009 recipient of the Donald J. Johnston Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession of Financial Planning in Canada (DJJ Award). This is the most prestigious award offered by the standards body that administers the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.

Lovett-Reid, a senior vice-president with TD Waterhouse and host of MoneyTalk on BNN, is the fourth recipient since the award’s inception in 2006 — and the award’s first female recipient.

Lovett-Reid’s career spans more than 20 years in the financial services industry, focusing on personal financial education. Lovett-Reid has developed a strong reputation within the industry as somebody who has an accessible style that helps demystify money matters.

Cary List, the president and CEO of the Financial Planners Standards Council, says the selection was made by an independent panel that consists of professionals from multiple sectors including academics, regulators and practitioners.

“The panel looked at a number of factors, including the individual’s involvement in the advancement of the stature of financial planning,” List explains. “They look at the individual’s personification of the standard that we represent. They look at the industry knowledge and visibility of the individual, and last but not least, they assess the impact of their contribution on the profession and Canadians.”

He adds, “They looked at Patricia’s career. She has such a strong history in terms of a public educator, her career in media and her ability to reach so many Canadians through her style and her knowledge.”

Mike Omelus, executive producer with BNN, wrote in his nomination of Lovett-Reid that “she is a gifted educator and broadcaster with an impressive knowledge of personal finance issues who has a knack for breaking down complex financial concepts in ways that the average person can follow. She has educated literally hundreds of thousands of Canadians about the importance of financial planners, and has elevated the credibility of the profession.”

In an interview with, Lovett-Reid, who obtained her CFP in 1998, explained that she entered the financial services business as a teller at the bank. As she progressed in her education, she became more interested in finding ways to maximize personal finance education and reach a wider swath of Canadian investors, beyond the traditional advisor client base.

“There is a natural progression from being an advisor [to what I do now],” she says. “You educate one client at a time and you investigate how to educate more. I’m not an equity analyst or an economist. I’ve always approached financial education from the perspective of being the average person on the street. I try to understand all of the information out there. If I can understand it, it may give me some insights into some of the behaviours that dictate some of my own investment decisions.”

Lovett-Reid adamantly believes that creating a strong financial plan is the lynchpin to a successful life, and that advisors offer a means for clients to realize life goals.

“I think the important thing to understand is that life is not about the money, it’s about having the foundation in place that frees you up to do all the things you want to do,” she says. “I think there was a misconception that financial planning was only for the very wealthy. It was only investment driven. Planning has become far more mainstream. Everyone deserves a plan. Everyone can build one, and everyone can create wealth by spending less than they have coming in.”

This latest downturn in the markets has only reaffirmed what she believes is the importance of a strong advisory relationship. As someone who travels across the country addressing crowds of Canadians, she’s seeing an increased need for discussions about financial matters.

“In terms of the advisors, where there is chaos, there is opportunity,” she says. “There is an increased demand for client relationships that are partnerships. When the business section becomes front-page news you end up with a very savvy client who has a lot of questions. As advisors, I don’t think [clients] expect us to know all the answers, but we have to be part of the dialogue. In most cases, I would suggest we have to be leading the dialogue because if we are not having the conversations with our clients you can bet somebody else will be.”

She adds, “As we learned in financial planning 101, capital is scarce, it’s sensitive. I continue to believe an informed client is the best client you can have. Together you create that roadmap, that blueprint, for success that’s what this profession is about.”


Mark Noble