What makes National Bank Financial - Wealth Management a key player?
A unique culture and access to the latest technology create an opportunity for advisors to grow their businesses
With branches across the country and more than $140 billion in AUM, National Bank Financial - Wealth Management (NBFWM) offers a great opportunity for advisors. John Riedl, Investment Advisor, Senior Vice-President and Portfolio Manager, Toronto, The Riedl Group at NBFWM, shares why he decided to make the transition to this firm in 2020.
Q. Why did you join NBFWM?
John Riedl: It’s not something we did as a knee-jerk reaction. I had talked to several people at National Bank, and others in the industry. I had done thorough due diligence. It was all positive. I was surprised to find the size of the wealth management business so large. I also appreciated the coast-to-coast national strategy.
Q. What makes NBFWM stand out from other brokerages?
J.R.: The culture immediately became very clear to me that it was different. Management is completely accessible, and they clearly love the business as much as I do. I’m able to contact and talk to anybody on the phone, on a regular basis. Everybody is responsive to the needs of the practice and the clients. Despite being a large national firm, it feels more boutique, collegial, collaborative, and like family.
On the technology side, it’s leading edge. We transitioned during COVID, when many advisors were having issues with technology. But for us, once we got to NBFWM everything was working, thanks to well-integrated solutions—from the administrative side to the client side, to the portfolio management side. We saved a lot of time in terms of problem-solving.
And when it comes to research, I used to need to sift through pages of research reports that I would need to validate. But at NBFWM, the research is spectacular. There’s a lot of coverage on Canadian and global companies that I didn’t see at other firms. They’ve got a great website to access research, and it’s well organized.
Q. How are the training programs and the payout grid?
J.R.: The training is fantastic. Basically, you can just log on, schedule one-on-one time to meet with an online trainer and learn the systems at your pace. If you need more help, you just book an extra couple of sessions.
As for pay, we know NBFWM has the best payout in the industry, but it had nothing to do with our decision. I know a lot of advisors spend time looking at that, but we don’t make decisions based on how we get paid. We focus on clients and investment solutions.
Q. What was your onboarding experience like?
J.R.: It took about three months to fully transition our team and NBFWM was there, helping every step of the way. Management, including the president, was accessible the whole time.
I also remember I’d look at something and say, “Oh, that’s not the way I thought it worked,” and have a moment of panic. But there was always somebody there to listen to what I was concerned about.
As for transitioning clients, the most common question they had was getting online access to accounts because they were used to the previous firm. But NBFWM provided sample statements that we could share with clients. They also provided client-friendly tutorials, written information and website links about the firm and its history to send to clients.
Q. How has your business grown and developed since joining NBFWM?
J.R.: We’re getting more referrals than we used to and we’re growing at a faster rate.
The team is happy because we can spend more time talking to existing clients as well. One of the things I said to clients when they came over was, “We made a move because we’re recommitting ourselves to the next decade and a half in the business.” They were enthused because they know we’re not going anywhere. It strengthened our relationships.
I was also surprised how many clients wanted to talk to us about banking. I was initially dealing with those things separately because I didn’t want to commingle them. But some clients wanted products, like secure lines of credit. I was thinking, Oh, there’s no way we’re going to get this solved in the next couple of weeks. But it got solved quickly. People from the banking side of the business stepped in to help us, and even talked to clients.
Q. What would you say to other advisors looking for a change?
J.R.: There’s a belief in this business that you need to join an independent firm to be in an entrepreneurial environment. That’s not true. At NBFWM, you get that smaller, independent, entrepreneurial firm feel. Yet it’s a large Canadian financial institution that makes clients feel secure. All in all, NBFWM is a lead player in the industry, and I’m excited to be part of it. It’s a firm that focuses on its advisors so we can help deliver results for clients.
November 15, 2021