Titles: Investment Advisor, VP, National Bank Financial Wealth Management; Mayor
City: Swift Current, SK
In the business: 13 years
Assets under Management: $100 million over 400 clients
I lead parallel professional lives. I fulfill the majority of my mayoral obligations on personal time—biweekly council meetings are held in the evenings and most city events are scheduled over weekends.
My compliance department ensures there are no conflicts of interest. I never solicit investment business during council meetings or city-organized events, or use my position to build my book. To Swift Current residents, I’m their mayor; to clients, I’m their advisor.
One thing I’d never say: I can’t help you. I always offer a solution, even if it’s a referral.
To offer higher transparency, we’re transitioning from DSC to fee-based. We’re also hoping to bring MERs down from the 2.1%-to-2.3% range to the 1%-to-1.5% range. We’re meeting every client and explaining the new model; and assuring them most fees will be covered by distributions, dividends or interest payments.
We’re also adjusting portfolios. By using a combination of fee-based mutual funds, GICs, bonds and ETFs, we’ll increase recurring revenue from 1.25% to 1.4%, compared to -0.5% on a DSC model. Given the uncertainty among investors, this effort to lower fees and save them money is the positive peg of our meetings.
In Saskatchewan, farmers used to have the Net Income Stabilization Account, a federal-provincial program with matching government funding.
When the program transitioned in the mid-2000s, farmers had to withdraw the fully taxable government portion before accessing their contributions. We partnered with a local agriculture firm to present at one of their events, advertised heavily and customized strategies for farmers to help them avoid huge tax bills. We introduced tax-advantaged investments such as flow-through shares and limited partnerships. I met one of my biggest clients this way. The family’s advisor didn’t address that need, so his assets consolidated with me.
Kanupriya Vashisht is a freelance journalist and writer based in Toronto.