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Anyone starting a wealth management firm has a moment when they ask themselves if what they’re bringing is truly different. Michaël Fortin knew that offering leading products and services, even with a strong commitment to excellence, wasn’t enough.

Michael ForbinFortin, CEO of the newly launched FORTÜNA Wealth Management, is reshaping the industry. So he created what’s known as a “shared dealer structure” — a model where advisors will get 100% of any fees they earn, with no clawbacks.

In leading the firm, he has drawn on his experience in taxes, financial planning, mutual funds, and insurance — as well as on his entrepreneurial spirit. “We’re in a position to really make a change,” he says.

FORTÜNA offers a wide range of mutual funds from leading institutions and fund managers, a comprehensive suite of wealth management services, and estate planning. The firm is based in the Greater Toronto Area but advisors, as independents, can work wherever they wish. Here, Fortin discusses why the FORTÜNA model is appealing, what kind of advisors he’s looking for, and the impact he hopes to make.

Do you think advisors are fairly compensated?

Fortin: The formula can be complicated, with different payout rates or grids, and maybe on top of that there are additional financial incentives. We want to make it simple. FORTÜNA advisors will receive 100% of the earnings generated by their business in exchange for sharing the costs of the dealer.

How are you able to offer what other firms can’t?

Fortin: Some people might think there’s a catch. But we can do this because we, as the dealer, will not generate any profit. We view the dealer as a flow-through structure, where funds are transferred to the advisors without any third party taking a percentage. If I wanted to make a difference, it had to be a big difference.

That can serve advisors, but how might your model also translate into better service for clients?

Fortin: Advisors can unlock their potential to earn substantially more for what they’re already doing. They don’t have to worry as much about growing assets under management or bringing in new clients. So they can devote more quality time to their current clients. We want clients to feel they’re getting the best advice, in their best interests.

Across the industry now, are clients as well served as they could be?

Fortin: Clients with $1 million-plus probably are. Others,  maybe not. We want a culture of professionalism, integrity, and ethics. Maybe a client shouldn’t be investing because they should be paying off a debt instead. This is about advice, not just grabbing money.

“Advisors can unlock their potential to earn substantially more.”

Compensation might be one factor advisors consider when switching firms. What else might entice someone to join FORTÜNA?

Fortin: Our back-office infrastructure will be a valuable asset to an advisor’s practice. We anticipate that will cut their administrative work by 50% and reduce their costs. That’s another thing that will enable advisors to focus even more on delivering exceptional service. Besides that, FORTÜNA advisors will have a stake and a voice in the company’s development. Their ideas and insights will influence how we develop and grow.

Your company mission talks about creating an environment where clients and advisors can thrive financially, achieving their goals with confidence. Other firms might leave it at that, but you also want advisors to be able to make a positive impact on their communities. Why is that so important to you?

Fortin: If an advisor can increase their income significantly, they can do more — for their business, their family, and their community. They can hire more, spend more, give more. It’s a ripple effect. As we say in our mission statement, “When we’re fortunate enough to have financial blessings, we believe we should raise our standard of giving not living.”

What kind of advisors are you looking for?

Fortin: [We want] those who want to shake up the status quo and who have a passion for driving change in the financial industry. We want to hear from advisors who want to be part of something bigger.