Insights & Market Outlook

The Continuous Evolution of Wealth Management Industry in Canada


The wealth management industry continues to evolve in Canada.

There was a time when “stock picking” with a broker that charged commissions for every trade was the majority of our market. The challenges and conflicts of this structure were clear – the broker was paid for activity in an account and thus incented to keep trading.  This gave way to “fee based” services where a client pays a fee, typically based on the invested assets and this fee includes portfolio management.   The last decade has seen a significant evolution to discretionary services, where the client delegates day to day decision making to the Advisor, both for asset allocation between asset classes based on pre-defined limits, as well as underlying security selection.

The role of broader planning has been recognized as a key part of the value that an advisor brings to the clients they serve.  There is an increasing recognition that there are not significant differences between advisors as it relates to portfolio construction (the efficient market hypothesis will be the basis of a future post), and the real value lies in the ability to provide comprehensive planning to incorporate tax, estate, retirement, and philanthropy.

Where does it go from here?  We believe strongly that the future lies in the evolution of planning that goes much deeper with families on family dynamics, purpose, and true objectives for wealth.  At Delisle, we have developed an approach that is unique in Canada.   Led by Jean Blacklock, a Registered Psychotherapist, we work with our clients in understanding family dynamics and ensuring that the planning incorporates true purpose.  Research demonstrates that happiness is not related to the amount of wealth in a portfolio – it is mostly related to our closest connections.   In the many years I have worked with high net worth and ultra high net worth families, I have been continually struck by the fact that some of the most unhappy people I have met have actually been the wealthiest people I have met.

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