Richardson GMP, Edmonton
Team members: 7
Asset minimum: $500,000
Number of households: 200
Not many advisors can call Jim Cuddy of the country rock band Blue Rodeo their warm-up act. Rob Campbell can.
“A highlight for me was following Jim on stage,” says Campbell, director of wealth management, Bosch Campbell Investment Management, Richardson GMP in Edmonton.
This happens annually at An Evening of Wine & Words, a fundraiser for the Centre for Family Literacy. Cuddy and some musical friends—bandmate Greg Keelor, violinist Kathleen Edwards and guitarist Luke Doucet—are the prime draw for a night of tunes, wine and food, as well as live and silent auctions. The artists also talk about the songwriting process.
Campbell and partner Neil Bosch launched the event in 2008 and hold it yearly for a capped crowd of 250 people in late spring or early summer at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald. The firm’s clients and contacts, including accountants, lawyers and bankers, are eager to attend and there’s now a waiting list.
“It’s good to be associated with something exclusive and high-end,” says Campbell. “That fits with the market we’re after.”
How did it start? Several years ago, Campbell was on the board of the literacy centre. He’s since left, but has stayed in touch with the organization. When they were looking for ways to raise money, he became involved.
Campbell and Bosch learned Cuddy had appeared on CBC Radio’s Canada Reads and asked if he’d help raise money for the centre. “He was supportive,” says Campbell. “While he does charge us, he does it at a substantially reduced rate.”
Planning starts nine months in advance and the event costs around $60,000. About half the money comes from sponsorships, with the Edmonton office of Richardson GMP as the main sponsor. The evening generates revenues of $150,000 to $180,000, so net proceeds donated to the literacy centre are between $90,000 and $120,000.
The pair has never tracked new business outcomes from the event because they say it’s only one piece of a larger development strategy, which includes seminars, conferences and relationship-building with centres of influence.
Anecdotally, though, they have some evidence it’s working. For instance, a banker they invited last year brought a wealthy client. “We’ve been able to parlay that initial contact into subsequent meetings and business discussions,” says Campbell. “I’m confident we’ll have the opportunity to compete for his investment business, and his liquid net worth is $25-million plus.”
But the event is primarily about long-term reputation building. “The exclusive nature of the event upgrades our image and relationship with COIs. Clients who attend are much quicker to refer to us.”
Stuart Foxman is a Toronto-based financial writer.