Financial advisors affiliated with Great-West Life Assurance Company will be able to provide their clients with more comprehensive financial planning services beginning this fall, thanks to a new alliance with Qtrade Securities Inc.

Under the alliance, advisors affiliated with Great-West Life and its subsidiary London Life Insurance Company, will be able to offer their clients access to professional advice on securities including stocks and bonds, through licensed investment advisors.

Currently, the advisors who comprise these networks are only licensed to provide advice on insurance, and in some cases, mutual funds. In many instances, that restricts them from being able to meet clients’ overall financial needs, according to Michael Campbell, vice president of wealth management with Great-West Life.

“Many [advisors] have told us that they need the ability to really help their clients with a full financial planning picture, and a holistic view,” Campbell says. “But since they’re not licensed to provide advice on these individual securities, they find themselves at a disadvantage, in being able to help a client holistically.”

As part of the new arrangement, Great-West Life, in collaboration with Qtrade’s full service brokerage arm, will hire an initial roster of nine new advisors licensed with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). Those advisors will be able to provide investment advice and facilitate the purchase of stocks and bonds in cases where clients are interested in doing so, on behalf of those clients’ existing Great-West Life or London Life advisors. The new reps will be located in major centres across the country.

The alliance prevents clients from having to seek out a new advisor at a different firm in cases where they’re interested in investing in stocks and bonds, Campbell says.

“Today, since an advisor cannot provide that advice, the client is left leaving those other assets at, likely, a competitor, who is providing potentially conflicting advice,” he says. “The key benefit is that the advisor will now have a full view of the client’s financial picture…so they can be the lead provider of advice as it relates to the financial plan.”

This concept appeals to advisors, Campbell says, since it allows them to engage in more comprehensive financial planning, without having to adjust their entire business model.

“The change from MFDA to IIROC is a fairly intensive effort,” Campbell says. “Many of them say ‘I don’t need the ability to do it myself – I need the ability to incorporate it’.”

The new alliance will also provide clients of Great-West Life and London Life advisors with access to Qtrade’s online brokerage platform, for individuals who are interested in executing self-directed trades.

Great-West Life will begin the process of recruiting the new reps this summer, and plans to officially launch the alliance program in November.