Scotia Wealth Management restructured its advisory services in December 2015. And, unlike some of its competitors, which are going after the wealthiest folks, the firm is catering to all levels of clients.
“What we are continuing to do is invest in technology, digitization, to really ensure the customer can determine how much advice they need and, frankly, how much they want to pay for it,” says Glen Gowland, SVP & head, Canadian Wealth Management at Scotia Wealth Management. “If you’re a customer that doesn’t have a lot of complexity in terms of your investment needs, we have low-cost, technology driven options that apply.”
Gowland points to Scotia’s iTrade service as an example, which allows investors to trade on their own.
Still, unlike when competitor BMO launched its robo-advisory platform in January, Gowland is reluctant to label their tech-driven initiatives as robo-advice. “We are looking at how technology and digitization can be brought across all channels,” says Gowland. “[What] one person may call robo, we may call a digitized front-end to allow clients to open accounts.”
Another tech service on the horizon? The chance for investors to communicate with experts via video.
For instance, Gowland wants the firm’s will and estate planners to be accessible to clients across the country. “So we’re looking for ways to electronically be able to bring [them] to rural parts of say, western Canada, as opposed to [the advisor taking a] five-hour plane ride.”
Read: New Scotia brand replaces other names
Gowland notes the rebranding was a multi-year process. The firm spent two years asking clients and advisors what they wanted. Clients told the firm they needed all the experts they’d be dealing with under one roof, “as opposed to getting little pieces of advice from a bunch of different inputs.”
So the firm amalgamated its service offerings. “We reconfigured everything from real estate out,” says Gowland. “So we actually have our teams co-located—they sit side-by-side, as opposed to in another location.”
The rebranding did not result in any layoffs. “[The advisor teams] did not shrink in any way,” he says. “In fact, we grew. We’ve been north of double-digit growth for wealth management as a whole.” He declined to give specific numbers.
Gowland adds Scotia will continue to make “significant investments in the capabilities and expertise around things like business and family advisory services, and financial planning.”
Stay tuned to Advisor.ca for interviews with the other heads of wealth management.