2 professional women from National Bank standing outside next to each other outside the National Bank office.
Photo Credit: Zlatko Cetinic - Images Made Real. Christine Rodrigues, Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, NBIN and Jennifer Plenert, Senior Vice-President, National Manager – Ontario Region, NBFWM


There are many factors shaping the financial sector today. Over the next decade, about 60% of advisory businesses will change hands, according to National Bank. Furthermore, technology will play a key role in client retention and advice.

So, as the industry changes, how will advisors be impacted? In order to understand, let’s take a deeper look at the three main trends, and how National Bank is supporting advisors through its two business models.

Business succession

As boomer advisors continue to retire, they’re looking to pass on their legacies, while ensuring clients are taken care of. Advisors must have a solid succession plan, which includes analyzing their firm’s strengths and weaknesses, and identifying a successor before preparing clients for the transition.

“An advisor is working with their clients for upwards of 20 years,” said Jennifer Plenert, Senior Vice-President, National Manager – Ontario Region, National Bank Financial Wealth Management (NBFWM). “The best person to identify their succession plan is going to be them, and it’s going to be a combination of personality fit and business style.”

Both NBFWM’s regional management team and National Bank Independent Network’s (NBIN) leadership are active in working with advisors to help them identify and support a succession plan, including helping younger advisors acquire a book of business.

“We finance the acquisition and allow advisors to choose up to seven years of amortization period, so they can spread out their payments over a longer time period,” said Plenert.

“Business continuity is hugely important to clients, and it doesn’t happen without a strong and well-thought-out plan,” added Christine Rodrigues, Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, NBIN.

She explained NBIN supports approximately 400 independent wealth management firms across Canada. “We leverage our extensive network to facilitate connections between firms. Additionally, we provide financing options for acquisitions, or assistance with the transition should they opt to sell.”

“Clients no longer want an advisor who is just a money manager”

More technology

Technology has allowed advisors to automate a number of time-consuming, administrative tasks, such as opening new accounts. “We strive to provide solutions that allow advisors to focus on what really matters: their clients and growing their businesses,’’ noted Rodrigues.

She added, “Social media presence will only become more important as younger generations seek like-minded advisors to support them.”

Plenert agreed, “Advisors are using technology to have a presence in front of their clients and for branding purposes, whether it’s through LinkedIn, podcasts or their websites.”

NBFWM is supportive of social media, and provides advisors with the tools and training needed to maximize these avenues for continued success, she added.

Plenert shared a story of how an advisor moved to NBFWM because it supported her vision to launch her own podcast, share information with clients, and grow her business. “This is an area we couldn’t see a lot of risk and it was about trusting the advisors we work with.”

A new mindset

Clients no longer want an advisor who is just a money manager. They want someone they can depend on for their overall financial well-being. Plenert explained this includes helping clients with their retirement, estate, savings plans, and taxes. There’s also an expectation for advisors to adopt more of a wealth coach mindset because clients want to learn and be guided.

“At NBFWM, we’re lucky to have performance coaches supporting the advisory teams on enhancing soft skills and business development,” she added.

Rodrigues highlighted that advisors are frequently the initial point of contact for clients, especially during significant life events like marriage, divorce, or childbirth. “Advisors must excel in listening, being genuinely interested, and possess strong communication skills. Flexibility is crucial for advisors. They need to be comfortable communicating in different ways and be available to accommodate these discussions as they arise.”

Where to find support

These trends may feel overwhelming, but advisors don’t have to face it all alone. National Bank has developed two different business models to support advisors.

NBFWM allows advisors to become employees of the bank and benefit from its advantages. “The support as far as marketing, technology, real estate, in-house operational and compliance teams — it’s all supplied by the firm,” said Plenert.

Meanwhile, NBIN partners with independent entrepreneurs that want to run their businesses independently from the large financial institutions. “It’s the freedom to run the business as they wish, while benefiting from the security of National Bank for the safekeeping of their investors’ assets,” explained Rodrigues.

As the sector continues to evolve, both leaders invite wealth advisors take a step back and reassess their current situation. “If you’re looking for a change, whether you choose to join NBFWM or NBIN, they’re both entrepreneurial. It just depends how you want to run your business, while being able to stay ahead of the curve,” added Rodrigues.