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Farha Salim

Farha Salim

Partner at Field Law, Calgary

I appreciate when advisors take the time to learn about me as a referral—what I can do, what I can’t do and how I do it, and also approximate cost and timelines. Knowing these things helps establish a good relationship between me and the client. Some of my most successful client relationships have started with an introduction from the advisor.

Advisors should feel free to ask me directly about my work and what type of clients I work best with, including personality fit. After all, making a good referral speaks to advisors’ own reputations and advice. I don’t have a preferred client type, but as I work with more and more clients from a particular advisor, I tend to get better at serving them, as these clients tend to have similar concerns.

Sheryne Mecklai

Sheryne Mecklai

Tax partner at Manning Elliott, Vancouver

When advisors understand clients’ big pictures, including their needs, objectives and family situations, that helps me develop clients’ tax plans. Revealing such things as objectives can require advisors to have personal, awkward conversations with clients—for example, they must discuss intentions at death, and perhaps discover that a client wants to treat children beneficiaries unequally.

Clients can be in complicated situations, including having structures such as trusts or partnerships. Good advisors know when to rely on their referral networks by being aware of these complicated situations and identifying when there are potential associated tax or legal issues.

Robyn Graham

Robyn Graham

Managing director of wealth management and portfolio manager at ETF Capital Management, Toronto

Advisors should develop relationships with investment managers to understand what differentiates them when it comes to investing style and philosophy. Knowing managers’ differences allows for a better understanding of a portfolio and its potential for diversification and style optimization.

For example, my firm does tactical asset allocation; in contrast, many Canadian equity funds focus on picking stocks, with heavy weight in financials and energy. The two styles together offer greater diversification.

Outsourcing investment management based on performance or brand isn’t always best. Advisors should instead look at, and explain to clients, risk-adjusted returns and how they differ among managers.