Under proposed changes, vulnerable Canadians may lose access to affordable, professional financial advice. Canadians who have less money to invest, whether seniors on a fixed-income or young people just starting to save for retirement, are most at risk of losing access.
Some Canadians who are at risk have shared their stories below.
The first few months were a blur, but having someone on my side made all the difference. My advisor handled all of the paperwork for the accounts he managed and explained how it worked. He got me in touch with other professionals when he couldn’t help me, including lawyers and accountants. He told me what to ask and was always there to answer questions.
It quickly became clear that the work my advisor did for me was truly about my family’s future. All of the advice, products and service he provided in the past, were critical to my current financial situation.
Unfortunately, my experience at the bank was not good. With the exception of my relative who worked at the branch and made an effort to help, the bank employees were very product focused. It was a question of how the mortgage would be paid out, not about how I was going to manage keeping my home. Mistakes were made and not corrected. No one took ownership or real interest in me until I deposited the first life insurance cheque into my account—then they were interested.
My advisor was the quarterback of our finances, and even though I lost my husband at way too early of an age, I can rest easy knowing that someone took great care of us before we even knew we needed it. Now I can continue to live the life I always have with one great benefit—I can spend more time with my boys as they grow up and become young men.
The trust I had built with my advisor over the years really made a difference in how the last year of my life has gone. I couldn’t have gotten through it without him."
Looking back, I am very pleased and appreciative of the time taken by my advisor to explain all of the options and potential financial impacts to me and my financial future. Now my team of professional financial advisors handle all of my business and personal needs. The key is that they look at my situation holistically and understand my long-term goals. They take the time to go through all of the benefits and drawbacks of the various products to ensure that I understand the path to reaching my aspirations. I would never invest in anything that I haven’t thoroughly investigated and they provide me with that information, which takes stress and worry out of the equation.
My wife, Janet, has been using the services of the same group of advisors for over 16 years and highly recommended the team to me years ago. The team has provided financial guidance to her over the years, and more specifically supported her through a lay-off from Nortel in 2001 and the death of her spouse in 2004. Both situations left Janet feeling helpless and confused about her finances, but fortunately her advisors stepped up on both occasions.
If we had to pay an hourly rate for the advice and services that we are currently receiving from our advisors, we would think twice before ever picking up the phone. Our advisors oversee our financial interests and we appreciate the worry-free aspect of being able to contact them anytime without having to pay an additional fee. The strong relationship we have with our advisors has been built on trust. If we were forced to pay an hourly fee, our relationship with our advisors would be negatively impacted. This type of system change would definitely not be for the better. It would be a shame if our relationship with our advisors were reduced to this type of transactional customer service.
We are confident in the knowledge that we are extremely well-served because of our unencumbered access to sound financial advice. Our future depends on it.
One of the life events that people tend to ignore until they’re faced with it is what to do when dealing with aging parents. We’re there to help with powers of attorney, beneficiary designations, and home care plans.
It can be tough sometimes. It’s emotional when a routine visit to review a client’s plan turns into a two hour conversation about the shock of a terminal illness or being served with divorce papers. Unfortunately, that’s the down side of the job.
The regulatory world believes that we sit with clients and we get into an immediate conversation about returns, fees, MER’s, prices, and value. This business has become much more than that. I listen to my clients’ concerns, what’s going on in their lives and how we can ensure that their financial plan can support their changing needs. I’m there during some of the most difficult times in their lives to carry some of their burden.
I so strongly believe in our business and what it brings to the community. Right now my clients don’t hesitate to pick up the phone to call me when they need something. If the proposed changes to remove choice in how people pay for advice are actually implemented many of my clients will be left without the support they have come to depend on.