How to coach clients

By Staff | January 12, 2009 | Last updated on January 12, 2009
3 min read

It’s amazing what you can learn from sitting down and talking to people; and we consider ourselves fortunate to be able to speak at length with top advisors across Canada.

In these Final Words, we share some of their insights into client service, and how advisor/client relationships have evolved over the years.


“A decade ago, client expectations were focused on the advisors providing financial instruments. Today, it’s much more comprehensive. They’re saying, ‘Provide me with a financial plan,’ or ‘Provide me with a trajectory.’ ” – Wade Lawrence, President, Wellington West Financial Services, Winnipeg

“I’m a GP in financial planning, because down here you have to be.” – Boyd Anderson, President, Anderson Financial Services, Moncton, NB

Keeping in Touch

“E-mail is changing things. It started out as eyeball-to-eyeball across the kitchen table. Now it’s all e-mail. I was away recently for 12 days and I came back to 1,000 e-mails and only seven phone calls.” – Wade Lawrence

Accommodating Clients

“I’m a portfolio manager and I have a discretionary platform. This works well, as most clients want professional management and don’t want to be contacted for every transaction in their portfolios, as long as a proper IPS is in place. They’re busy living their lives.” – Rob Kelland, Director, Wealth Management, Portfolio Manager, The Kelland Group, London, Ont.

“Clients are busier today than they were 10 years ago. Their commutes are longer. Their kids in minor hockey play as many games as some NHL teams. They don’t have time to come into the office for review meetings. They ask me to e-mail them portfolio reviews or to book quick conference calls instead.” – Wade Lawrence.

The Right Fit

“We have 800 households, and once a year our team has a discussion to determine which clients (generally 1% or so) would be better served by a different advisor, system, or approach. We then speak with the client. It needs to be a win/win relationship for the client and our team.” – Rob Kelland

Quelling Concerns

“You have to tell clients when there are changes in the industry that relate to them. You also need to communicate if there is the perception of a change. If there’s a merger in the industry and they own a fund, you need to call and say, ’By the way, in case you’re reading about this in the paper, the underlying manager of the fund hasn’t changed – or has changed as the case may be.’ ” – Wade Lawrence.

“Most of our clients know we strive to meet their investment goals and objectives. But, in general, our team’s client isn’t looking to turn a $1 million portfolio into $10 million. Conversely, it’s rare to see a portfolio that we manage drop to $200,000. Common sense, and diversification are important to us. We cannot control the systemic risk of the stock market but through proper asset allocation we can look to mute potential losses.” – Rob Kelland

“In this market, we’ve stressed over-communication. We’re here to talk. We’re doing something in electronic format; doing something on paper; having the administrative assistants call and say the advisors are available. All that follow-up is important. You can’t just turtle through this.

“We’re trying to anticipate what will cause our clients concern and stress. They won’t always call and say, ‘This is bothering me, but should it?’ So you have to ensure the outbound communications are made.” – Wade Lawrence

Stressing Service

“I don’t want to be understaffed. And I want nice people. If the job is worth $1, then I pay $1.10. I’ve never had anyone come in and ask for a raise; ever. I’m driven by helping people, not money. If we need an extra body on the team, we get it.” – Rob Kelland

“I enjoy dealing with my clients’ children. It keeps me refreshed.” – Boyd Anderson staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.