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This article appears in the February 2021 issue of Advisor’s Edge magazine. Subscribe to the print edition, read the digital edition or read the articles online.

Mark Walhout

5 years in the industry

Mark Walhout,
Walhout Financial and Investia Financial Services, Markham, Ont.

What attracted you to financial services and how does that attraction influence your practice?

I’ve always been interested in reading about investing and legends like Warren Buffett. Learning about the impact of the 2008 financial crisis also drew me in.

When I started considering my career, I saw huge opportunity in financial planning. Financial needs weren’t being met with products; you can invest properly for a client only after effective planning that incorporates goals and dreams. The potential to combine professional investing and planning ultimately attracted me and still drives me.

Within planning, I’m focusing more on risk management — maybe motivated by the pandemic. Are clients prepared for illness or death? Do they have insurance and a will? Although I’ve always considered these things, I’ve become more persistent about them. And, because of 2020, it’s easier to bring these topics up; clients are more willing to acknowledge that the unexpected can happen quickly.

Dawn Hawley

40+ years in the industry

Dawn Hawley,
Angus Watt Advisory Group at National Bank Financial, Edmonton

What attracted you to financial services and did that attraction prove lasting?

Early in my career as an estate administrator at a law firm, I was often left with a mess — incomplete wills or a failure to name beneficiaries. I had to process these documents as they were, when changes would have made a huge difference to the family or other survivors.

When I collaborated with an executor who was a certified financial planner (CFP), he encouraged me to become a planner too. I liked the idea of building on the knowledge I had. I became a CFP and, shortly thereafter, a salaried planner at a firm — rare at the time. When I became a regional director, I helped train other planners and also taught courses toward the CFP, which made me a better planner.

The attraction has lasted: I make a difference in people’s lives by designing and implementing estate plans for smooth execution.