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Toronto-based Canfin Financial Group wants to make accessing a financial planner easier for investors with its new VirtualSage platform.

The online communication platform offers investors, whether they’re tech-savvy millennials who are not interested in a face-to-face meeting or time-strapped single parents, a more flexible way to work with a financial planner outside of traditional work hours.

“The advantage of VirtualSage is that it allows anyone, a current client or future client, to fit affordable, reliable, credible access to a professional wealth-management advisor around their home and work schedule,” says Tony Mahabir, Canfin’s founder and CEO.

VirtualSage is an online portal that allows individuals to start the onboarding process to work with one of Canfin’s fee-only certified financial planner or registered retirement consultants. Alternatively, investors can simply ask a few basic questions or be referred to other professionals in cases in which there are no Canfin branches or they require services the advisor doesn’t offer.

To get started, individuals can talk with a “Sage” through a virtual chat portal or set up an online meeting with an email request. These virtual meetings don’t happen on platforms such as Skype; instead, investors are directed to connect with a “Sage” by clicking on a link that connects them to a secure portal on Canfin’s website.

If the prospective client agrees to work with a Canfin financial planner or retirement consultant after the initial meeting, he or she is sent a letter of engagement, which outlines the details of the advisor’s services and process as well as the advisor’s fee. Clients can then continue to meet with the planner virtually or choose to meet in-person.

“Eighty per cent to 90% of the engagement could be done comfortably online —nobody leaves their home,” says Mahabir. “It’s totally in the control of the client’s hand, it’s client-centric.”

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