Occupation: President and founder of Doheny Securities Ltd. and Doheny Insurance Services Ltd.

City: Winnipeg, Man.

Age: 54

I’ve been in the financial industry for: Almost 25 years

I intend to retire: Not for at least 15 years. I enjoy working. I particularly enjoy meeting with my clients and the relationships I have with them. That said, I can envision the job changing. In 15 years, I see myself spending the majority of my time meeting with clients, and spending substantially less time managing the day-to-day operations of the dealership.

Our clients’ most common goal: They want to have enough assets/savings to maintain the same quality of life in retirement that they had when they were working.

Up close and personal

I graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto in 1987, and practised tax law in California for several years before returning to Canada. But I had always been interested in business. That’s when I turned to financial planning. I still stay abreast of tax and legal issues, and that knowledge can be very useful for clients. I don’t regret my legal training at all: it’s been essential to my ability to structure my business. For example, [as chief compliance officer], I was able to write my own compliance manual.

A participatory process

I need my clients to participate in the decision-making processes about how to invest their assets. I couldn’t form a relationship or open an account with a client who said, “Here’s my money; do what you think is best.” Even if they’re bored with the discussion—and I’m sure some are—my job is to make sure they understand the different options and get the information I need from them in order to make a recommendation. They can participate to a greater or lesser degree, but they have to participate.

A core philosophy is that we offer products from many different companies and don’t force our agents to sell from a select few. We don’t offer proprietary products, nor do we focus on any one particular product or company. I believe this approach best serves investors and clients.

Identifying priorities, balancing choices

Much of what I do is help clients identify their priorities: Do they want to take a vacation every year? Do they want to leave an inheritance? Do they want to pay for their children’s education? And then I help them identify the choices they need to make based on their assets, investment vehicles and future income streams.

Ultimately, though, the choices are theirs to make. I feel quite strongly that it is not my responsibility to provide moral judgments on what people do with their money. Some clients, for example, want to leave an inheritance for the children, [while] others want to map out their finances so that they have spent their last penny on the day they draw their last breath. I have clients who are concerned about paying for their children’s education and others who firmly believe that their kids will take a university education more seriously if they pay for it themselves. There are legitimate reasons why people can have different approaches to the same issue, and it’s not for me to decide which one is right.

Continuing education for MFDA advisors

I think it’s important for financial professionals, like any professionals, to be current and commit to being current, [and] to maintain a standard of education or knowledge. So, to the extent that the MFDA is coming up with a curriculum that will outline the minimum standards they expect, I think that’s a good thing.