People of different backgrounds wearing masks
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Never short of words on any topic, brokerage advisors who participated in Investment Executive’s 2021 Brokerage Report Card had plenty to say about their firms’ support during the lockdowns of 2020. Below are a selection of advisor quotes describing their experiences during the pandemic and how it affected their businesses, work habits and their firms’ corporate cultures.

On pandemic support

I’m the only one in the office now. It’s like having my own office tower. I’m happier than a pig in shit. – a CIBC Wood Gundy advisor in Ontario

I cannot say enough good things about how responsive, supportive and adaptive [the firm was] with advisors: from setting us up to work remotely to maintaining employee morale, everything has been amazing. – a TD Wealth PIA advisor in B.C.

Technology was there and running fast so we could work from home seamlessly. I had already built a home office before all this so I was ready for Mr. Covid. Didn’t know he was coming, but I was ready. – an RBC Dominion Securities advisor in Ontario

There was a lot of support where we needed it. Sanitation products that they sent, masks, etc. [It was] comprehensive. [There’s] Zoom and Webex. – an Edward Jones advisor

Very good. The technological tools, the frequency of communications, and I even have access to a wellness account to spoil myself. – an advisor with National Bank Financial in Quebec

On corporate culture

My wife is glad I’m in the office at this point, I think, and not sitting in my sweatpants. The technology doesn’t work well from home so that’s why I’m back here. 60% of my office is remote now though. – a CIBC Wood Gundy advisor in the Prairies

One of the downsides of Covid is that we are isolated from each other. Bumping into colleagues is meaningful for corporate culture. – an Odlum Brown advisor

I’m way more effective at home. Management talks to me a lot and we share ideas. I spend more time talking to the people I work with now than I did when I was in the office. – a CIBC Wood Gundy advisor in Alberta

The culture exists in the employees at all levels because we’re motivated and accountable and there’s a real sense of ownership, and the distance the pandemic has created has highlighted that culture. – a Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management advisor in Ontario

I want to work from home more when this is all over. I miss interacting with my team, but mainly it’s not a huge issue. Now clients want to meet virtually all the time and there’s no reason to be in the office for that, and I don’t have to commute either. – an RBC Dominion Securities advisor in Ontario

I miss the social interaction of the office and meeting clients. I live 20 minutes from work so it’s not like I had a huge commute before all this. I just miss hugging it out with my clients. – a Leede Jones Gable advisor

On other pressing issues

Twice a month, [a] WAAC (wealth asset allocation committee) strategy call is held and it’s basically a look from the top of the house [at] what is going on with the world. So, advisors are able to have a big picture strategy for clients. This was rolled out during the pandemic as crisis management, and will be continued when it’s gone. – a TD Wealth PIA advisor in B.C. on the positive aspects of their firm

The local guy has to jump through hoops put in place by the top guy. We had a great series of calls during the pandemic; [it was] like listening to Trump. They [top executives] were patting themselves on the back, and we [advisors] were looking at each other like, “Jesus, are they talking about our firm?” – a ScotiaMcLeod advisor in Quebec on their branch manager 

A year ago I would have given them zero. [Improvements have] all come on since the pandemic. It came right away when the pandemic started. It still amazes me how quick they were. – a Raymond James advisor in B.C. on client onboarding tools

They continue to ramp [training] up. They do it more online; the programs are easier. They’ve recognized the new Covid world and really stepped up to the plate. – a Raymond James advisor in Alberta on ongoing training

The Covid work-from-home situation warrants a fresh perspective of how a grid system works, because we’re not utilizing all the overhead. – a Richardson Wealth advisor in Alberta on compensation

[I] rely on the financial planning department for full-on, more robust plans. [There’s an] eight-week backlog due to pandemic. More people want [plans] too. They’re understaffed.” – an Odlum Brown advisor on support for developing a financial plan for clients 

We heard horror stories from other firms when pandemic hit, but started remote [here on] day one. – a Richardson Wealth advisor in Alberta on mobile technology support

During Covid, everyone really just came together. There’s not that competitive nature; we’re working together to bring each other forward. – a Wellington-Altus advisor in Alberta on their firm’s receptiveness to advisor feedback 

I’ve never thought [firm stability] was that important until Covid, and I see now what a difference it makes. – a Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management advisor in Alberta on their firm’s stability