Celebrating Advice: Why I’m staying with my advisor

By B.E. Simpson, Ted Barrett | September 1, 2009 | Last updated on September 1, 2009
4 min read

Finding that right fit, that right advisor takes time and effort but when things finally come together, the business relationship can become something mutually beneficial. Case or is that cases(?) in point…

B.E. Simpson, president, Vesey’s Seeds Limited, York, Prince Edward Island

Simpson’s advisor: Blair Corkum, Corkum & Associates

We first worked with Blair when he was at a large, national accounting firm about 15 years ago. When Blair decided to go out on his own, it was a hard decision to follow him. We thought we would lose the connection with the larger firm. But we decided to do it, and within a year or so, the larger firm decided to close the office in Charlottetown. We then knew we had made the right decision to move with Blair and he still has contact with some of the people [at his old firm] if he needs them. And we just like dealing with a particular individual.

We use Blair’s financial-planning and succession-planning services. We feel quite comfortable with him. We feel he’s able to talk at our level. If we don’t understand something, we don’t feel embarrassed asking him to explain something or to provide further information.

Blair understands our business, which is very important to us. Our business started as a mail-order seed business dealing with home garden and smaller commercial growers. Then we expanded into spring and fall bulbs. We print a seed catalogue, a spring and fall bulb catalogue, and a tool and accessory catalogue for gardeners.

Business varies from year to year, and over the year, Blair has helped us structure the business to become more profitable.

We have a family-owned business. Two of my children work in the company and one will take over as I move away from it. The other will work as an employee for the company, as she doesn’t have an interest in becoming involved in the financial part of the business. We relied heavily on Blair’s advice on how to move this plan forward and it’s been something we’re comfortable with.

I feel I can pick up the phone anytime to call Blair and our house accountant feels the same way. If she has questions, they are back and forth fairly often. When he’s on holidays, he says, “If anything comes up and you need me, you can always call me.” He knows I wouldn’t call him unless I needed him so we do have that type of relationship.

By Ted Barrett, retired commercial real estate broker
Barrett’s Advisor: Sandra Pierce, Blackmont Capital

I’ve been Sandra’s client for 25 years. What’s always impressed me about her is that I can trust her. I’ve also always had a tremendous amount of respect for her knowledge. And the best part is, I’m getting three advisors for the price of one. Sandy has two partners: Her husband, Dennis Fox, and Michael Segal. Normally, when you deal with an advisor, you deal basically with one advisor and his or her opinions. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but ultimately it’s one person’s opinion.

In this case, three advisors predigest the market for me and present it as a consensus of opinion. That’s is unique. I don’t know of other advisors who operate on that level. They’re in effect operating a business within a business.

I also like that Sandy and her two partners allow their clients to work with a personality that best suits their own. Normally, if you don’t happen to like the advisor you’re dealing with, it can be difficult to select another advisor within that organization. I also like working with Sandy because she has a great sense of humour. What she does for me is remove the emotional reaction of the client from the marketplace, which, in many cases, can cost the client a lot of money. For example, she said if I wanted a 15% return, there would be a lot of nights where I wouldn’t sleep. She was saying, in effect, that high returns mean high risk. She has been a great advocate of a balanced portfolio.

She never recommended putting your eggs in one basket—no matter how good that basket looked at the time.

Generally speaking, she’s managed to beat the market. That’s not to say I didn’t experience a reduction in my portfolio over the last 10 months but the fact is, so did everyone else unless they had GICs or the equivalent. Nobody escaped it. If Warren Buffett lost a few billion dollars, who am I to complain about a few thousand?

B.E. Simpson, Ted Barrett