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From left to right: Andrew Vooys, Wealth Associate; Meaghan St. Louis, Wealth Associate; Chelsea Woodman, Senior Wealth Associate; Lori Vooys; Greg Stevenson

A brokerage that’s expanding at an exponential rate, National Bank Financial – Wealth Management (NBFWM) offers advisors a chance to grow their businesses. Lori Vooys, Senior Wealth Advisor & Portfolio Manager, and Greg Stevenson, Senior Wealth Advisor & Portfolio Manager, detail how they were able to seamlessly adjust and move their team, the Vooys Stevenson Wealth Counsel, to NBFWM.

Q. What spurred you to move your business to NBFWM two years ago?

Greg Stevenson: We shopped around and researched almost every provider on the street. There were two things that made us move to NBFWM: the depth of services available and its less “banky” feel (even though it has the big infrastructure of a bank).

Lori Vooys: Yes, it feels small and intimate even though they are as big as other major bank brokerage arms. It’s the firm’s culture that makes it feel that way, and they have significantly more services available to us to support our clients.

GS: Also, these days, there are concerns about phishing and hacking into people’s accounts. We felt NBFWM provided us with the necessary IT resources that are required.

LV: Because NBFWM was already invested in defending bank accounts and other branches of the bank, we felt the IT spend simply by volume and depth of product would be better for our clients—and provide better security. Knowing that every method possible would be used to protect our clients and provide great cyber security was very important to us.

Q. What was your onboarding experience like, and how did your team adjust?

GS: We had the personal attention from our local staff and the management team. They were personally involved with our transfer and were working sometimes longer hours than we were. Having that emotional support was incredible. I felt they were in it with us.

LV: Our team of six, which includes advisors and support staff, are really, truly stars. They took a big job and wrestled through it. We’re proud of them.

GS: And they now have a defined benefit pension plan, amongst many other employee benefits, which has been really well received by our staff.

LV: That was something they got just because this was where we chose to be. It made them feel very valued.

GS: Finally, there was also some monetary support during the pandemic. NBFWM supplied people’s home offices with additional screens or chairs. It was money gifted to the staff, which is something extra they don’t usually get.

Q. How has your business grown since joining NBFWM?

GS: We’ve had an increase in referrals and, in the past year, our business has grown by a third.

LV: People are comfortable with the size and scale of National Bank. They feel confident being able to refer us now and know that all the aspects of their portfolios and security, and all the support pieces around them, are where they should be.

Q. How does NBFWM support you?

LV: We’ve got a great research department we have access to. We have a really superb estate planning team. We’ve got access to good financial planning tools. We’ve got access to traders whenever we need to call them. Really, anything we can think of, they’ve got a solution for.

And the firm embraces entrepreneurship. The compliance department has been fantastic in supporting us. For instance, if we need to open a trust for a client, rather than putting the client through all the paperwork first, we’ll call the compliance department to ensure the trust can be registered the way the client envisions.

Q. What resources does NBFWM provide that are unique from other brokerages?

LV: Something we didn’t expect to have much need for when we came was the banking aspect. We felt our clients were banking happily wherever they were, and we’d never ask them to move banks. But it has been quite surprising how many clients have called us and said, “Hey, you’re at a bank now. Could we talk to someone about that?” A number of them have actually moved their banking.

GS: From a training perspective, the HR portal guided us through necessary learning. But there are also tons of in-house videos to train us on different aspects of the NBFWM offering. We’ve been using some of them through Yammer (an internal social communication platform).

And through Axonify, NBFWM has adapted a gamified learning tool. I have used it for financial planning education, but numerous topics are included and it’s a great re-source to keep learning.

Q. What would you say to other advisors looking for a change?

GS: Shop around and do your due diligence of all firms. But make sure you check out NBFWM, because after doing all our due diligence, this was the best offering.

LV: Yes, we’re looking forward to a really bright future here. Our staff is happy. We’re happy. It’s fun to come to work.

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