Business adviser analyzing financial figures denoting the progress in the work of the company
© Yuliya Tsyhun / 123RF Stock Photo

You’re a guardian, a protector — someone who understands the importance of family. You help clients make financial decisions that go beyond where and how they invest. With your guidance, clients can create a comprehensive plan with better results than they would have gotten if they tried to manage it on their own. The value you add makes a measurable difference in their lives:

  • A study of Canadian families confirms that working with an advisor has a positive, significant impact on financial assets.1
  • 83% of Canadians who work with a financial advisor are confident they’ll be able to enjoy the lifestyle they want in retirement.2

Forum magazine‘s editor was recently singing the praises of the value your advice brings. Deanne Gage says, “This is the time to shout from the rooftops about all of the amazing, intangible work you do for your clients beyond the standard financial or insurance planning people expect from you.” She goes on to say, “In a world of tax changes, an expanding product shelf, and newish buzzwords… you’re needed more than ever to make sense of everything.”

So how can you “shout from the rooftops” to ensure your clients and prospects know that you’re more than an advisor? It might be as simple as mastering these 3 key elements to show how your advice is beneficial, important and life-changing [tweet this].

Share your value

Share the “I’m an advisor” video with your clients and prospects to show you’re more than an advisor.

1.Truly know your clients

Your ability to know your clients in order to make personalized recommendations they want and need is crucial to our industry’s compliance with regulations. While complex and far-reaching, these regulations are driving toward more client centricity — ensuring that what’s being done is in the best interests of clients. You can add even more value for your clients by continually upgrading your education and applying your in-depth knowledge to each person’s situation. However, one of the most important — and easiest — things you can do is truly listen.

Canadians rely on professional sources to recommend customized products and services that fit their personal lifestyle. In order to successfully deliver on this, they’re looking for someone who goes above and beyond to understand them — not simply their financial needs, but also what type of person they are outside of the financial world.4

So, when clients talk and you actively listen, you learn their life story. You can gain insight through the questions clients ask and the questions you ask in return — and they learn about you. With each piece of information, you’re identifying their needs, goals and aspirations. These conversations give insight into all aspects of clients’ financial picture, as you work with them to build holistic plans that includes life, health and wealth. Of course, you still need to fill out the know-your-client (KYC) forms and complete the risk assessment questionnaires, but the conversations with clients can help provide a better understanding of what they’re really all about.

2.Speak your clients’ language

Some clients are confused by the complexity of financial strategies, while others have a deep understanding. Your conversations will allow you to gauge the level of information and amount of detail you need to provide to each client. Elevating clients’ financial literacy can help them achieve lifetime financial security — and Canadians need your help. Of those who lacked financial literacy, only 4% had saved for retirement, compared to 15% of those who considered themselves very knowledgeable.5

There’s a big opportunity for you to make a positive difference. And when it comes to financial advice, a lack of knowledge about finances makes the need for expertise even stronger.6

According to the 2016 Sun Life Retirement Now Report:

  • People who work with a financial advisor feel more secure in retirement than those who don’t.
  • 62% of retired Canadians with an advisor are satisfied with how much they have saved for retirement, vs. 38% of those without an advisor.

While many Canadians may believe they don’t have enough assets to need your advice,7 even those with a modest amount of savings can benefit from advice in the same way high net worth clients do. How?

  • They begin and develop better savings practices.
  • They accumulate greater savings over time.
  • Their benefits increase with the length of relationship with their advisor amounting to an average of:
    • 1.7 times more assets after 4-6 years [tweet this]
    • 2.9 times more assets after 7-14 years
    • 3.9 times more assets after 15 years than comparable non-advised investors.8

3.Earn your clients’ trust

If you don’t have clients’ trust, they may withhold important information from you. These gaps of knowledge can hinder your efforts to provide a holistic plan that puts clients’ needs first. Communicating regularly — in times of high and low volatility — and providing full disclosure can help facilitate open and honest conversations.

Discussing how you’re paid for your services may not be easy, but focusing on what you provide and how you provide it is key to maintaining trust and building a long-term relationship.

At the foundation of all good financial advice is a trustworthy source. Regardless of the topic, “valuable advice starts with a trustworthy and credible source that will ultimately provide peace of mind and comfort that I’m making the right decision — from someone who ultimately wants to see me succeed.”9

Proof of progress is the icing on the cake

Clients are always delighted when their investments perform well. What they’re really looking for is a progression over time that shows positive results.10 Conservative or risk adverse investors don’t expect to see huge growth immediately. Seeing progress through your communications, either in person or online, makes clients feel that their financial advice has paid off. An important takeaway for you is ensuring you accurately describe the expected performance of investment choices up front; this step is vital in setting your clients’ expectations.

Your advice goes beyond a plan

You’re many things to your clients — an educator, a coach and, ideally, a long-term financial partner. Building clients’ financial literacy includes helping them understand how your advice can improve their financial situation.

When you show an interest in clients’ lives, they’ll see you as much more than an advisor. You’ll become their trusted financial friend. They’ll become secure in knowing you’ll be there to educate and guide them throughout their life. That’s the real value of your advice.

Join one of Canada’s top 25 places to work.11 Don’t let another career opportunity slip away. Apply now to see if you’ve got what it takes to become clients’ advisor of choice.


1 Econometric Models on the Value of Advice of a Financial Advisor, CIRANO Institute, August 2016.

2 2015 Sun Life Financial UnretirementTM Index, Base: Respondents who have investable assets of $100-500K.

3 Gage, Deanne. “Editors Journal: Advice Rules,” Forum Magazine, January/February 2018.

4 Ipsos, prepared for Sun Life Financial. Understanding Advice, January 2018.

5 LIMRA. The Future of Advice, 2015.

6 Ipsos, prepared for Sun Life Financial. Understanding Advice, January 2018.

7 Mintel Group Limited. “Consumers and Financial Advice” 2016.

8 Advice and the Modest Investor: A Canadian Perspective, The Gamma Factor and the Value of Financial Advice. CIRANO (2016)

9 Ipsos, prepared for Sun Life Financial. Understanding Advice, January 2018.

10 Ipsos, prepared for Sun Life Financial. Understanding Advice, January 2018.

11 LinkedIn. Top companies where the world wants to work now, 2018.