1) What are your qualifications?
I'm a Certified Financial Planner CFP registered with the Financial Planning Standards Council. This is a designation only gained by having fulfilled both appropriate industry experience in combination with mandatory educational training and finally, appropriate examinations. A condition of maintaining this designation is ongoing educational training. I spent 8 years as an Investment Advisor with an international investment firm which allowed the purchase of stocks, bonds and mutual funds on most major North American indexes. Prior to founding my own firm, I worked as an Account Manager with Deluca Veale Investment Counsel (Comox, BC) providing financial planning advice to client's utiltizing discretionary managed accounts. I have been registered as a Life Agent in British Columbia since 2001.
2) Are you affiliated with any particular firm, mutual fund company or insurer?
First and foremost, I'm an independent financial planner working for you. In the course of my business I have built alliances with various firms primarily as an extension of the services I am able and licensed to offer myself. This includes the investment counsel firm of Deluca Veale specializing in discretionary managed accounts and the Managing General Insurance Agency of S&V Planning which allows access to most major insurance companies and products available to residents of British Columbia. While I have no particular preference, it is impossible to know everything about each insurer so I limit the business I do to 4-5 companies based upon the product required and any special circumstances.
3) How are my assets protected?
All cheques, deposits and transfers are made directly, arms length to a firm licensed as a trustee. Other than summaries I may provide, these same trustees produce your account statements and handle all requests for monies directly to you. The number of firms licensed to transact this business in Canada is limited and subject to strict capital requirements and regulatory oversight.
4) Do you carry professional liability or errors and omissions insurance?
Yes. In Canada, independent insurance agents must conduct business through a firm known as a MGIA or Managing General Insurance Agency. A condition of this licensing is to carry a minimum of $1,000,000 of errors and omissions insurance. I presently carry 2,000,000.
5) How are you compensated?
My primary compensation for investment accounts is fee for service. This means that I receive no direct or hidden commissions as the result of the sale of various investment products but rather, receive part of the fee charged to manage your holdings directly from the institution where your assets are invested. This compensation is to provide ongoing servicing to your account. In the case of most insurance products, (Life Insurance, Critical Illness, Annuities etc.) I act as an Agent and a commission is paid by the issuing company to me at the time of settlement.
6) What range of products are you able to offer?
Retirement and Tax Shelter planning vehicles include; RRSP, RRIF, RESP, TFSA. Life Insurance Products include; Life Insurance, Critical Illness, Disability, Annuities and Segregated Funds. Depending upon the size and complexity of your investment needs, a third party, investment counsel firm may be utilized.
7) What is your minimum investment account size?
In order to provide the care and attention that each client deserves, I will only consider new clients with a minimum of $100,000 of investable assets. However, if you have questions or concerns about your holdings at other firms I will try and assist you regardless of whether you qualify as a client today.
8) Do you have a typical client?
No. However, I seem to have attracted the following types of clients in the past; 1) pre-retirement clients with numerous investment accounts, scattered insurance policies and advisors looking to simplify their holdings and provide a plan; 2) Couples in early retirement wishing the freedom to travel without being burdened by market watching, weekly telephone calls or monthly meetings 3) Small Business Owners; 4) Single Women and Widows that want someone that they can trust and takes the time to explain terms in words they can understand.
9) Do you offer tax planning advice or prepare tax returns?
No. However, it would be irresponsible not to have a comprehensive understanding of the tax consequences of investment and registered accounts, tax receipts and their impact on your tax situation. A professional tax preparer including CGA and CA firms is both a valuable and necessary member of your advisory team. Given your permission, I am happy to work with them on your behalf for any and all of your requirements.
10) Do I have to be an investment client to purchase Life Insurance?
No. While procuring a policy is initially time consuming, the ongoing management and requirement for future meetings is minimal. I welcome your insurance business even if you have no requirement for investment services.
11) Can you provide references?
Yes. Following an initial meeting, and subject to our having a business interest, I will provide suitable references to you.