Trust didn’t make the list.

When Advisor’s Edge set out to ask clients across Canada what they seek in their work with financial planners, we expected the usual stories about relationship building, trust, and the value of having someone to talk to when markets tank.

While we heard a little on that last item, those other nebulous concepts went largely unmentioned. Instead, clients told us they want critical analysis of investments, a full partner to participate in complex estate-planning sessions, meaningful tax savings and an advisor who can justify how and why he or she gets paid.

The clients we talked with are financially savvy, and they’re watching their advisors. Closely.

Play straight with me

Margaret MacGillivray didn’t hire Derek Moran at Smarter Financial Planning in Kelowna, B.C. right away. When her husband passed away, she realized the advisor they’d worked with for years had only listened to one of them. And it wasn’t her.

I do intend to retire

Nigel Chamberlain (name changed) spent 35 years serving patients in his Calgary psychiatric practice and acting as an expert witness during court proceedings. But he’d neglected the investment side of his finances.

Get on board with my priorities

Peter Mortifee, a former physician who runs the Somerset Foundation in Vancouver, is on a quest to align his investment choices with his, and his family’s, personal values—environmental sustainability, social justice and strong corporate governance.

Do your job well

Doug Norris, a retired VP at an engineering, architectural and survey materials firm who lives in Toronto’s Harbourfront neighbourhood, knows when he’s being sold and subscribes to the old adage that the easiest person to sell to is a salesman.

Only call if it’s important

Leon Mercury, a retired barrister, and wife Margaret were reasonably happy with their broker but wanted to develop long-term financial plans and never feel as if they were being sold to. And they wanted all the details looked after, with minimal phone calls to corroborate decisions.

I may outgrow you

If a client leaves, it’s likely nothing personal, notes Mortifee. Needs evolve and a person’s relationship with money is never static.