The industry of “Wealth Management” is what put me on the path of applying to become a Notary Public in British Columbia.
I have been a BC Notary for almost 12 years now. The profession of BC Notary plays a large role in the wealth management of British Columbians. Real estate is a prime component of most people’s financial plan and/or balance sheet; it is likely their most significant asset. BC Notaries play a key role in making sure that asset is properly protected.
Prior to becoming a Notary, I was a Certified Financial Planner for a large bank. In that role, I learned a great deal about wealth management, much of which I apply today with my clients, whether they are working with me to purchase real estate or make a Will as part of their overall estate plan.
Of course, BC Notaries can also assist people when re-financing or mortgaging real estate, as well as prepare Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements. Those are all services related to managing wealth.
As a Certified Financial Planner, I had an ethical duty to put my clients needs above my own and those of my employer. I was obligated to dispatch the proper advice in accordance with the client’s risk tolerance. That is extremely important as a wealth manager. Clients must absolutely understand the risk of every investment decision they make. They must be able to relate that to their specific goals and investment time horizon.
I am sometimes asked to recommend a financial advisor and/or how to choose a good one. That is an excellent question.
How do you choose a great Wealth Manager or Advisor?
- First, they must be professionally qualified with the proper training. They should have earned a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation (https://www.fpcanada.ca/) or an equivalent designation. Don’t just assume that the person you are dealing with is properly trained and has earned the proper professional designation. Ask questions about his or her training. There is a lot to know when comes to wealth management; you should work only with professionals who have taken the time to be formally educated in the field and who are keeping their knowledge in that area up to date through continuing education programs.
- Second, they must be willing to constantly review your portfolio and the associated risks regarding the investments you hold. All investments carry risks in one form or another; you must be able to fully understand those risks before an investment decision is made. Your risk tolerance will change over time so your advisor must be willing to change your holdings to match your current risk tolerance.
- Third, they must be transparent with you, especially when it comes to management costs and fees. Management fees, transaction fees, commissions, management expense ratios (MERs), taxation, and other costs all determine the net rate of return of an investment. Fees can cause a significant reduction in return over time; care must be taken to properly select investments based on their net return as opposed to gross return.
- Finally, look for someone who is willing to be vested in your goals. Great advisors are as interested in having you reach your goals as they are in reaching their own. In other words, you and your advisor become a team that works to solve problems together.
Wealth Management is a technically complex field made even more complex by the fact that the wealth a person has spent a lifetime accumulating is directly impacted by making good or poor investment decisions related to risk tolerance.
Be engaged. Be informed. Choose an advisor wisely.