Globe Advisor’s Best of 2023: Big trends redefining the investment industry


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As clients increasingly seek financial advice and planning support for a wide range of life concerns, some advisors say they’re shifting their hiring strategies to bring on more certified financial planners.fizkes/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

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The old saying, “The only constant is change,” is apt for the investment industry, which goes through several important changes every year.

In 2023, the long-awaited merger between the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada finally took place. Rising, persistent inflation also continued, forcing advisors and their clients to review financial plans. And advisors’ roles continued to evolve dramatically.

Here are 10 articles on key trends taking place in the investment industry:

CIRO’s new dual registration process gets thumbs up from dealers, but the industry still awaits final rules

Under the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization’s (CIRO) dual registration structure, there’s a registration category specific to a mutual fund advisor, which eliminates the red tape of proficiency upgrades. “They can continue to serve their clients same as before … as if they never joined a different dealer,” says Julie Gallagher, senior vice-president and chief compliance officer at iA Private Wealth Inc. “There’s no additional supervision.”

How life insurers are simplifying the application process to increase uptake

When the pandemic hit, insurers simplified the application process virtually overnight. They began allowing electronic rather than hard-copy signatures. In turn, consumers’ expectations around fast, easy-to-access life insurance products became a driving force for changes to underwriting. The result is a new, faster application process.

How financial professionals are handling the growing need for complex cross-border advice

For some advisors, cross-border financial advice has recently become a growth area in their practice – a trend they only expect to increase as clients seek to navigate complex wealth management considerations on both sides of the border. Clark Linton, senior wealth advisor and portfolio manager at Raymond James Ltd. in Vancouver, estimates that some two-thirds of his practice’s recent client growth is on the cross-border side of his business, driven by demographic factors and the unique nature of the market.

Why advisors are using higher inflation assumptions in financial planning projections

Jason Evans, fee-only certified financial planner (CFP) at Evans Retirement Planning in Winnipeg, has opted to project inflation higher than the FP Canada guidelines, at 2.5 per cent versus 2.1 per cent, because he wants to acknowledge clients’ uneasiness in these unsettling times. “If we’re currently in the period of higher inflation, that’s going to have a longer-term impact on retirees’ ability to spend from their investments,” he says.

A pricing model is not a value proposition – here’s how to create one

Imagine someone was looking for legal services and the first thing a prospective lawyer says is how they charge for their services as opposed to what they can do and what field of law they specialize in. Yet, this approach is commonplace in Canada’s financial services industry, compounded by public debates around billing models that pit one against another for superiority. It ignores anything to do with value, writes Jason Pereira, partner and senior financial consultant at Woodgate Financial Inc. in Toronto.

Why health care is becoming a growing part of more advisors’ practices

David Christianson, senior wealth advisor and portfolio manager at National Bank Financial Wealth Management in Winnipeg, has noticed a real shift in conversations with his baby boomer clients in the past decade. While these clients once revelled in discussions about rock-and-roll music gatherings, today’s chats mainly focus on health care and eldercare issues, which he now calls the largest growing area of his practice.

Wealth management firms leverage advanced financial planning tools as battle for advisor talent intensifies

A technology arms race is underway among wealth management firms in Canada to retain and attract advisors. Specifically, they’re investing in advanced financial tools to ensure advisors can engage in more complex financial planning for clients, serve them better and gain an edge. Notably, several non-bank-owned wealth management firms are embracing the innovation fray, often able to adopt new financial planning software more quickly.

New investment industry regulator makes progress on removing ‘structural inefficiencies’

Months after the merger of Canada’s two major investment industry regulators, the new entity, CIRO, is getting down to the business of what the consolidation was meant to accomplish – improving efficiencies and harmonizing rules for member dealers and advisors. Globe Advisor reporter Deanne Gage sat down with CIRO’s chief executive officer, Andrew Kriegler, to discuss the new self-regulatory organization’s most pressing initiatives.

Why top-performing advisor teams are hiring more certified financial planners

As clients increasingly seek financial advice and planning support for a wide range of life concerns, some advisors say they’re shifting their hiring strategies to bring on more CFPs. “In the past, the focus and emphasis were often more on investment advice, and now it’s become a more comprehensive and integrated financial planning approach,” says Kurt Rosentreter, portfolio manager with Manulife Securities Inc. and president of Upper Canada Capital Inc. in Toronto.

How advisors are engaging younger clients with fewer assets

Many younger investors are interested in receiving comprehensive financial advice as the complexity of their financial situations grows along with their careers and assets. For some advisors, choosing to work with up-and-coming millennial, younger Gen X and even Gen Z clients – regardless of their assets – has meant implementing new business models and focusing on the short and long-term advantages of building these trusted relationships – both for clients and their practices.

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