Maili Wong felt she had outgrown the service model and technology at her previous firm. So, in 2019, her experienced team joined Wellington-Altus Private Wealth (Wellington-Altus). The Executive Vice President, Senior Investment Advisor and Senior Portfolio Manager, Wellington-Altus, says she shares a growth mindset and commitment to constant improvement with her new firm.
“We get the best of both worlds: really independent, objective advice, but with a strong foundation of big bank safety,” says Wong. “Our clients can invest with confidence knowing that we have National Bank Independent Network ensuring the safe custody of all our assets and providing our back-office services. But, at the same time, [we benefit from] a really forward-thinking, progressive and independent culture that favours objective, impartial wealth advice without sales quotas, conflicts or competing interests.”
Independence has been liberating for Wong, allowing her to access a diverse product shelf and provide the best solutions for her clients. Furthermore, because advisors have an ownership stake in the firm, she says their interests are aligned. That means one person’s win is everyone’s win, so everyone shares best practices and that, too, enhances her ability to provide an outstanding client experience.
“Management are our partners, literally, [so] if [a new idea] can lead to better outcomes, management will remove obstacles to get to a ‘yes,’” Wong adds. “One example is our CRM (customer relationship management) system. We had done the due diligence to identify really good technology partners, [and] management was willing to embrace this best-of-breed technology . . . We’ve seen that across the board with all of the technology at the firm.”
Jordy Chilcott, Executive Vice-President, Wealth Strategy and Enablement, Wellington-Altus, joined in 2020 and champions the adoption of new technologies like the CRM system. The “enablement” he’s striving for is all about streamlining the cumbersome parts of an advisor’s business so advisors have more time to build stronger portfolios, outcomes and relationships with clients.
“We don’t have a lot of legacy technology – that’s the benefit of being young – [so we can] leapfrog some of the legacy technology of our competitors and just provide a better overall advisor experience and ultimately a better client experience,” Chilcott says. “We get to dream and that’s the beauty of it. If we come across an API (application programming interface) or a software as a service that we can plug in and it’s meaningful to our advisors or our clients, we can do it quite easily. It’s not a multi-year project. It might only be a month or two.”
Helping advisors manage their practices more efficiently combined with a successful recruitment strategy, has enabled Wellington-Altus to grow and double its assets under administration in the past two years. Chilcott says it was key that Wellington-Altus was an early adopter of DocuSign, long before anyone had heard of COVID-19, which made it easier to make a seamless shift to working from home in March 2020.
“All areas of client interaction are digitized for efficiency, and that’s allowing advisors to focus on what’s important to their clients, taking away the roadblocks,” Chilcott emphasizes.
It was precisely that friction, in the form of inefficiencies in compliance, administration and day-to-day tasks at his previous firm, that led Martin Pelletier, now Senior Portfolio Manager and Investment Counsellor, TriVest Wealth Counsel, to partner with Wellington-Altus Private Counsel (WAPC) in 2020.
“The pipes and plumbing are an essential component [of any practice], but they don’t offer the highest return on investment. Freeing up approximately 40 per cent of our time by offloading those pipes and plumbing and that infrastructure enabled us to reallocate that towards existing clients and new ones,” Pelletier says.
As a result, he and his partner have added 50 percent in new TriVest Wealth Counsel business since they joined WAPC in February 2020. That’s the highest growth rate in his practice’s history and it happened in the midst of a global pandemic.
“I used to be a research analyst in investment banking, and when I analyzed companies, those that put their employees first always did very well,” says Pelletier. “When you put your employees first, give them the resources, enable them on the front lines, and empower them to make business decisions, you get a really high level of client service – and with a high level of client service, you get a high level of profitability, and your shareholders benefit from it.”
At WAPC, he says, a disruptive, innovative culture gives advisors everything they need to thrive. And, while they benefit from the depth and security of a large firm, they also retain their independence. In the end, advisor satisfaction translates into client satisfaction.
As Pelletier puts it, “The more time I spend on things that I love doing, the happier I am and the happier my clients are.”
Wellington-Altus is a wealth management firm built by advisors for advisors and we’re attracting Canada’s top Investment Advisors and Portfolio Managers from coast to coast. If independence is your future, visit www.join-wellington.ca to connect with our Corporate Development team.