When I joined the financial services industry 25 years ago, I was full of energy and idealism.
I am going to help people! They and their families will be more financially secure and have a more fulfilling life with my advice and support!
And then I joined the industry, and discovered that it was all about sales. One of Canada's largest bank owned brokerage firms turned down my application to become a financial advisor. They said it was because the battery of psychological assessments they had me complete suggested that I am not "sales driven" enough. That was a shock to me because I hadn't considered it a sales job. I was looking to be an advisor. Isn't that something different?
Thankfully, I found another firm that hired me, but ultimately discovered that viewing potential clients as people to be sold to, rather than advised, was deeply embedded in the culture and structure of the industry. Sure, clients would be given advice, but in the end, to earn a living required that I sell stuff.
So, in 2000, I went independent. And started a fee-only financial planning firm at a time when Canadians didn't understand the value of paying for independent, objective, holistic financial planning advice. It was a time when Canadians asked me why they would pay financial advice when they could get it for free from their current advisor or from their local bank branch.
Fast forward 17 years and Canadians are much wiser. Thanks to the internet democratizing access to information, and the financial media letting the cat out of the bag on the subject of advisor compensation, Financial Planning is considered an invaluable process and a viable occupation. It's viable as a career now because consumers will pay for it.
The problem is, it can be expensive, and not everyone needs or wants to engage in a full-blown, hands-on, customized financial planning process.
I don't like turning people away. I worry about them. I also know that technology is driving down the cost of basic services in a range of industries, financial services being on the forefront of the change.
So I partnered with a wunderkind financial engineer and together we are launching Viviplan. Canada's first product free, online, financial decision-making platform.
It's time to scale the delivery of independent financial planning advice for Canadians.
We will guide, inform and inspire. We hope that you will be a part of it by either using the service or spreading the word.
Looking forward to the journey!