Lori Landry, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Institutional Business, Sun Life Global Investments, recently sat down with Cecelia Clarke, Wealth Sales Director at Sun Life Financial, to discuss recent market findings and key take-aways for your business.

Cecelia Clarke, Wealth Sales Director, Sun Life Financial

A shaky economy, weaker dollar and choppy oil prices: it’s a bit hectic out there and investors are trying to find their way. Recently, Cecelia Clarke, Wealth Sales Director, Sun Life Financial sat down with me to discuss the 2016 Market Sentiment Report from Sun Life Global Investments. The report reveals that volatility is having an impact but that your advice is cutting through.

Cecelia: Lori, you’ve been building brands and reviewing market research your whole career, what surprised you about this round of research?

Lori: I think the findings about young Canadians stood out the most. The Market Sentiment Report found Millennials were more likely than any other age group to predict a recession. They were also the group most impacted by volatility — 20% of Canadians reported selling investments to raise cash in the last year and one-third of them were Millennials.

Cecelia: Why do you think that is?

Lori: Half of Millennials said they sold their investments out of fear of losing money. It’s surprising because young Canadians with a longer time horizon should be in the best position to withstand more volatility. It’s a natural trade-off for achieving higher returns over the long term. Millennials also reported having 31% of their portfolios allocated to cash. The only group with more cash was their grandparents, those 67 and older.

Cecelia: Wow, that’s certainly an eye-opener. It’s something to watch for among younger clients — they’ve had a tough go, navigating a competitive job market and experiencing the financial crisis as recent graduates or as teenagers through the lens of their parents.

Lori: What’s the best way for advisors to get through to their youngest clients?

Cecelia: It’s important to coach Millennials on the importance of taking an appropriate amount of risk by showing them the benefits of their longer time horizon. I understand the research also showed that turbulent markets impacted young investors the most in terms of having more conversations with their advisor. The big take-away here is to review your communications strategy and consider increasing interactions with your youngest clients during periods of market uncertainty in the channel of their choice like email or social media. Since they have the least experience with choppy markets, hearing a reassuring voice can go a long way.

Lori: For sure. But young people aren’t the only ones grappling with fear. Of the 20% of Canadians who told us they sold some of their investments to raise cash in the last year, 31% of women answered it was because of a fear of losing money. Men were more likely to say it was because of an opportunity to invest elsewhere.

My number one reason for selling investments to raise cash was fear of losing money

Cecelia: That’s an interesting statistic really focused on those 2 emotionally charged words: opportunity and fear. These results suggest that when the markets get rocky and emotions are running high, investment education and advice that’s tailored differently for men and women could be especially important. For instance, think about exploring the root of that fear with your female clients. It could be a matter of confidence building through education.

Lori: Absolutely. Although Canadians were mildly downbeat on the economy over the next 5 years — with 42% noting they were pessimistic and 37% saying they were optimistic — the good news is advice is making it through. When investors were asked about the most valuable advice they’ve received in the last year from their advisor, the most frequent response was “stay the course.” When we asked advisors the same question, the answer was a match.

Cecelia: That’s great news! And a big positive for Canadians and their advisors. Staying invested is the best course of action when the markets get shaky and it’s great to see that advice is cutting through the clutter.

Lori: It’s certainly reassuring to see that clients are hearing what advisors are suggesting to them.

Cecelia: Given all of these findings around Millennials, what advice would you give your daughter?

Lori: My daughter is 19 and in university. Even though she might not have much to save right now, I’d tell her to start with the smallest amount. The earlier you start saving, the better off you’ll be. Automate your savings and you won’t miss the money. The other big thing I’d tell my daughter is to have the courage to stay invested when the markets get crazy because she has so much time ahead of her. I’d caution her to manage the information overload. All of the information coming at her 24/7 might create pressure to do something. Sometimes the best action is inaction. Last but not least — take advantage of your employer’s retirement savings programs. Get used to amounts coming off your paycheque early on for retirement or investments and you’ll get in the good habit of saving.


If you have questions or would like to discuss wealth strategies, please contact a member of the Sun Life Wealth sales team.

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Lori Landry is Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Institutional Business for Sun Life Global Investments. In this role, Ms. Landry is responsible for increasing the marketing and brand awareness for Sun Life Global Investments on a national scale. In addition to growing the wealth management business, Ms. Landry draws on her marketing and sales background to build the institutional business by connecting with plan sponsors, consultants and advisors.

Ms. Landry was most recently Vice-President, Marketing, Sun Life Financial Canada, leading the strategic marketing direction for all lines of business, as well as the overall Sun Life brand in Canada. She first joined Sun Life in 2003 as Assistant Vice-President Marketing and Plan Member Education, Group Retirement Services (GRS). In 2004, she was appointed Vice-President Marketing, National Account Sales and Client Relationships, where she led a team of relationship executives, national account sales, and the marketing strategy for GRS.

Ms. Landry is a former journalist, editorial director and publisher of a number of business magazines including Benefits Canada, Avantages, Canadian Investment Review and Advisor’s Edge magazines. She has also been recognized by a number of national and North American journalism awards programs, as an award-winning financial and health-care writer and commentator.

Lori holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Mass Communications from Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario.