A Bit About Me

Our history shapes us

The best teacher we have in life is our history. I am the culmination of my past experiences — a reflection of all that I’ve learned through good times and bad.

My History

I was born in the Edmonton, Alberta area, and I truly consider this home. I love this city, and I’m excited for its opportunities of growth, community, and leadership. Best of all, Edmonton is a big city with a small-town feel.

Growing up on a small farm and working for the family construction business taught me how to work hard and smart. I started in my teens and worked from the bottom up.

Throughout my early 20’s, I built my own capital reserves by privately purchasing and managing Alberta-based real estate and participating in the Western Canadian Road Building industry.

After a short break, I decided it was time to try something new. I wanted to cultivate and continue growing my knowledge of business in other avenues. As a result, I left my real estate ventures and the road building industry in 2007.

My Work

Since I loved business and working with people, I began to investigate many different career options. It didn’t take long before I was approached with the idea of joining a local Financial Planning firm. I knew right away the opportunity was a perfect match.

I loved sharing my creativity and the business strategies I discovered throughout my life. Financial planning provided the platform to share these ideas and strategies on a full-time basis.

In 2007, I obtained my insurance license and in 2010, I was among the first Private Wealth Advisors in Alberta to receive my Exempt Market Dealing Representative registration.

I firmly believe learning is something that happens every day. Therefore, I strive to stay informed about economic factors that influence my clients’ future. Furthermore, I am registered and licensed to do business in the province of Alberta.

My Community

On a personal level, I believe in being an active member of the community and giving back where I can.

I have been involved in a diversity of community-minded organizations and projects. These include mentoring young entrepreneurs, advocating for those with Celiac Disease, working with youth through multiple organizations, and mentoring local small businesses.

I now have three beautiful children of my own and they are my fuel to succeed.

What to look for in an advisor

Choosing an advisor is like choosing a doctor — you have to reveal some of the most intimate details about yourself and your life.

If you search Google for “how to shop for a financial advisor,” you’ll find a myriad of articles. While it may seem difficult to find an advisor that you align with, here are some key areas you should focus on to help narrow your search.

The questions below summarize many of the articles’ advice and provide brief answers for each. I also include my own take on each question to tell you a bit more about what I do, where I stand, and what kind of an advisor I am. Have a question of your own that isn’t shown below?

Just ask me!

Why is this important?

How an advisor is paid can influence their decision-making process in determining what products they use to fulfill your plans. There are three main models, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Fee-for-service. These advisors are paid either by the hour or by the task. Essentially, you pay for the time you use or the planning services you require. A true fee-for-service advisor does not sell you any products to implement your plan.
    • Pros: The primary benefit of this type of advisor is that they can be seen as the most objective. When they have no part in what products you buy, you can be sure they have no other motivation than to meet your needs.
    • Cons: You will need to find one or more advisor when it comes to carrying out your plan. If they refer you to another advisor, be sure to ask if they receive compensation for the referral or the business you place with them. If they refer you to someone who is part of the same company or if they receive a referral commission from the advisor that sells you a product, their objectivity is no longer present.
  • Salary Based. These advisors usually work for a company or bank, and may receive additional bonuses or commissions based on sales.
    • Pros: Generally you don’t pay their fees out-of-pocket. Their salaries are paid by their employer who will collect fees or commissions from the products you eventually buy.
    • Cons: You are often restricted to their branded products, which can be limiting. The employee may also change employers or take a different role in the organization making it difficult to maintain long-term continuity.
  • Commission Based. These advisors provide their services at no charge to you. They are paid when you purchase insurance or investments through them.
    • Pros: They provide their services at no cost to you. They can also be your one point of contact as opposed to having multiple contacts (i.e. your financial planner, your investment advisor, your insurance advisor, etc.) provided they are licensed to provide both investments and insurance.
    • Cons: The advisor may be influenced to sell you a product based on the commission they earn, rather than how it suits your situation. They also may not provide additional services, like building financial plans, or helping to organize your estate. A good plan can help ensure you buy the right products.

What about me?

My payment is commission-based, which occurs in two basic ways:

  1. During the course of our discussions, I will define specific programs and product solutions that apply to your situation. If my solutions meet your needs, I would like you to buy them from me. Through my various licenses, I am held to the standard of a fiduciary, requiring me to act in your best interest regardless of potential commissions. To add transparency to this process, I am required to disclose my commissions on any investment offered through Raintree Financial Services.
  2. If you are pleased with the work I’ve done for you, I would like you to recommend me to others who might appreciate the value of my services.

Throughout the process, I provide full planning services for individuals, families, and business owners. For more information on what this entails, please see the question “Can I see a sample Financial Plan” below.

Why is this important?

Licenses, credentials, and certifications can be an indicator of reliability (but not a guarantee). While obtaining a license is a big part of the equation, the current standing of the license and past disciplinary actions should also be of interest. To check an advisors license/registration status in Alberta, you can check these two regulatory bodies:

  1. Alberta Insurance Council’s registration database for Agents/Agencies licensed in Alberta.
  2. Canadian Securities Administrators National Registration Search.

Part of the problem in selecting an advisor is knowing what to ask. Here are some starting points:

  • Are you regulated by any organizations, and if so, are your licenses in good standing?
  • Have you ever had any disciplinary action taken against you?

What about me?

I currently hold three licenses/registrations:

I encourage you to check the status of my licenses by using the links above.

Why is this important?

Knowing what an advisor provides is key to ensuring your needs and expectations are met. Some advisors provide all services with the help of other professionals, some specialize in just one area, and some only sell products without much involvement (i.e. an insurance policy or an investment). Knowing what you want to accomplish will help you to find the right level of help you are looking for. Ask specifically what it is an advisor can offer you.

What about me?

I aim to provide my clients with a holistic approach to planning their financial future, which can be as long- or short-term as they deem necessary. This may include making investments, securing insurance policies, or a combination of both depending on the desired goals and outcomes throughout the planning process. Below is a summary of the services I provide.

  1. Financial Planning – In a nutshell, this generally covers planning for retirement and protection from the many pitfalls that can derail those plans.
    • Risk Assessment – Proper insurance planning will make sure you have the right amount of money in certain circumstances, and that you don’t pay too much for that protection.
    • Retirement Planning – How much do you need to retire? How much should you save today to retire at your desired age? This part of the plan helps you to know how much you need to save, for how long, and what rate of return you need to get there.
  2. Investment Planning – Diversified between Traditional and Alternative investments, as well as markets, risk level, etc.
  3. Insurance Planning – Life, Illness, Disability, Accident & Sickness, Medical, and Travel
  4. Corporate Insurance Planning – Buy/Sell Funding, Key Man Insurance, Executive Lifestyle Protection
  5. Estate Planning – Ensuring efficient transfer of the estate to heirs
  6. Portfolio Analysis – For large traditional portfolios, I will arrange an analysis to be completed by a discretionary portfolio manager from a partner firm through Raintree Financial Solutions.

Why is this important?

Like any person, advisors vary substantially. Knowing what type of client an advisor works well with is beneficial not only for the advisor, but also for the client since healthy and successful relationships are best achieved when each party’s expectations are being met. An advisor that doesn’t have a clear idea of who their ideal client is may drop clients as they begin to define their ideal customer or worse, they may keep these clients and not give them the level of service they deserve.

What about me?

While my investment services are most effective for individuals or business owners with $500,000+ of investible assets, I primarily choose clients based on four criteria:

  1. You have outstanding economic potential (i.e. qualify as an accredited or eligible investor, or are on the path to qualification).
  2. You make decisions based on facts rather than emotions.
  3. You trust yourself once you make a decision.
  4. You are the kind of person I enjoy spending time with and we enjoy each other’s company.

Why is this important?

Every individual has their own expectation with respect to meeting frequency. Some advisors have a fixed schedule, while others may make arrangements that are based on a client’s preference. Whether you a person who likes regular communication or someone who prefers a hands-off approach, be sure to ask how often you will get updates of your investments and your plan (i.e. inflation, additions to the family, salary increases, etc.).

What about me?

The frequency of meetings with my clients depends entirely on each client. While I send out updates and information periodically, I ask my clients what frequency they prefer. Most of my clients meet with me quarterly, bi-annually, or annually. Most prefer to meet annually, and depending on the simplicity/complexity of their plan we may meet more often.

Accessibility and communication are key, and my clients are free to call at any time should a question arise. I always encourage a policy of open and free communication.

Why is this important?

Some clients are sensitive about who they talk to or what they share in regards to their finances. Most people want to know if they will deal with one person or if they will see different people for different parts of the process. Banks, for example, will generally have a specialist for each separate part of the process (account management, investments, insurance, estate and retirement planning, etc.).

What about me?

In all cases, you will meet directly with me. From time to time, we may bring in experts to help us when needed, but I will be with you during the entire process.

Why is this important?

In some instances, advisors can be very much the same especially when the products they offer are the same, which can often be true of the public markets. Obviously then, advisors and the experiences you have with them differentiate with the individual advisors, the services they provide, and the products they have access to.

Whatever experience you desire will have much to do with how you relate with your advisor, what they can do for you, and what your unique expectations are. Having a good experience is important to the success of you and your advisor’s relationship, and ultimately, the success of your financial goals.

What about me?

I aim to provide an exclusive single-person experience. I look at the big picture of your financial goals and strive to create a comprehensive plan to reach those goals — whether it involves plans for mitigating risk or producing modest cash flow — it really depends on you and your objectives.

Furthermore, in addition to providing you retirement, investment, insurance, and estate planning services, as an independent broker, I can provide products from multiple sources, which gives you access to specially-selected private market investments including public market investments. My partnership with discretionary portfolio managers through Raintree Financial Solutions opens the door to some of the brightest minds in the public market space.

Why is this important?

While many advisors may focus on offering only specific types of investments or a range of products, each advisor will have a very specific approach to how they choose available investments. Knowing your advisor’s approach will help you to understand their point of view and will help you to determine if their approach aligns with your values, expectations, and other attributes that may be important to you.

What about me?

Rather than duplicate this here, you will find a detailed description of my investment approach in Wealth Management.

Why is this important?

Knowing the background and experience of an advisor can help you to understand more about what their strengths are and how they might align with you. Many advisors will have a wide range of past experiences. It’s valuable to be aware of this information to recognise how their backgrounds will complement your own personal experiences, and how their backgrounds will provide additional knowledge in the areas that are of interest to you.

What about me?

This is described in my biography, found at the top of this page.

Why is this important?

Goals are only as good as the plans created to achieve them. Without thorough discussion to understand your financial goals, and without making the proper plans devised accordingly, it will be difficult to know what direction to take to see your goals come to fruition, or even to know how to take appropriate action.

What about me?

I use a thorough planning framework that I use as a starting point for each client. But, I never try to pound a round peg into a square hole — since every client is unique, the resulting specific plan is also unique according to each client’s goals and aspirations.

On a fundamental level, my process is simple: we discuss where you are at today and where you want to be, I build a realistic, achievable plan, and then we put that plan into action.

To preview a sample of each part this plan, please visit the Financial Planning section.

Not sure where to start?

Your financial future is a pretty big deal, but it doesn’t mean we have to dive right in. I’m the kind of guy that likes to take things slow. First, we can meet for coffee and discuss what a business relationship might look like. If it makes sense, we can move ahead. If it doesn’t, then we both can walk away still having met someone new to add to our network. The end result is win-win.