Title: President, First Canadian Financial Group

City: Winnipeg

In the business: 20 years

Book Size: $100 million

Modus Operandi Customization is challenging when you’re managing 1,200 relationships. To tackle that, our team enlisted CFAs to categorize all funds we sell and determine their suitability for various client demographics, goals and risk tolerances.

We reviewed funds across all disciplines and sectors we recommend to clients, and broke them down by alpha, beta and standard deviation. If two funds were identical, the one with lower MER won. Finally, we created portfolios ranging from 100% income to 100% aggressive. Over the next two years, we’ll match existing clients with their appropriate portfolios.

A word banned from my vocabulary: Guarantee.
You can’t.

This process will not only provide the best solutions for every client, it will also serve as a great succession-planning tool because whoever takes on my role will inherit a scientific rationale behind each client’s account.

All things to all clients

Last month, I received a frantic call from a client: “My wife’s sister is getting married this weekend, and I was supposed to get coolers for drinks but I ran out of time. Can you help?” I called a caterer and had coolers delivered to the venue. I have no problem doing favours for clients. As a result, I rarely need to prospect. People are happy to refer me.

No need to cold call

You never know where your next client might come from. When I set up my company in 1999, I was at a golf tournament, and a young woman was handing out massage coupons. Most people ignored her, but I felt for her as a fellow entrepreneur, accepted her offer, and became a regular client.

Each time we met, she’d mention one of her father’s financial concerns. I suggested she bring him to my office, and she did. During the meeting, he seemed skeptical, but the next day he called and said he had $60,000 to invest. He also transferred a $1-million pension plan. He’s since referred his wife, other children, and in-laws.