PEAK Financial Group
Everyone wants honest financial advice. In Canada, a majority of financial advising is controlled by larger institutions with their own product offerings. Many advisement dealings can seem more like sales pitches than trustworthy guidance.
The PEAK Financial Group offers financial advisors the opportunity to pursue their profession with complete independence. Comprised of over 1300 finance industry professionals across Canada, PEAK offers support in the areas of wealth management, mutual funds, securities, insurance, and mortgaging.
Members gain full-access to PEAK’s financial services. As PEAK does not have any in-house product, there are no conflicts of interest or installed sales quotas. To date, PEAK’s support has allowed independent advisors to successfully serve more than 135,000 clients.
Rising to the Top
In 1990, Robert Frances, a musician and financial planner, noticed a trend in the financial management and advising field. As computers and the Internet grew more popular, financial institutions could offer integrated, easily accessible solutions to clients. Frances noticed that new software could reduce the costs associated with traditional banking.
Frances founded PEAK Financial Services Inc. The company’s original mission was to assist employers by providing financial advice to employees nearing retirement. Yet PEAK’s growing reputation for quality service and innovative use of technology quickly attracted finance industry professionals from a variety of different fields.
By 1992, PEAK was gaining attention from financial planners from several niches. Frances decided to expand his company’s scope, becoming a mutual fund dealer registered with the Authorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and, after its inception in 2002, the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA). Prior to this, PEAK had registered with the relevant provincial securities commissions. As PEAK acquired more companies, the need for an organized unification became evident. Frances installed the PEAK Financial Group as the umbrella holding company for the various parties within the corporation.
During the following two decades, PEAK added insurance services, mutual funds, and securities into their offerings. The company also acquired several notable Canadian firms, including Greater Montreal Financial Services, AXA Financial Services Inc, Promutual Capital Financial Services Firm, and Customplan Financial Advisors Inc.
Today, PEAK Financial Group represents the largest network of Independent Advisors in Quebec, and one of the top five multidisciplinary independent Dealers throughout Canada. The firm currently controls over $7 billion in assets under administration.
PEAK’s head office is located in Montreal, QC. Company offices are also located in Quebec City, QC; Vancouver, BC; and Weyburn, SK.
Where Independence Meets Integrity
PEAK Financial Group’s core strength lies in its independence. This rare quality has allowed PEAK to grow freely over the years while maintaining its established culture and core values.
PEAK currently operates five subsidiaries as part of the overall Financial Group: Investment Services, Securities, Insurance Services, Financial Services, and Private Wealth Management. Each adds to PEAK’s ability to offer multidisciplinary services and provide holistic financial support and solutions to each client.
The company’s open structure and independent approach provides members the opportunity to offer unbiased advice and recommendations. Financial professionals can benefit from PEAK’s solutions to develop their own business practice.
“We deal with companies on a supplier-client relationship, rather than on an owner basis,” PEAK President and CEO Robert Frances explains in a May interview with CBJ, “This creates an environment where our clients know we’ll try to find the best products for their needs, regardless of the source company. The client can then decide if they wish to go with that financial institution.”
PEAK’s financial products undergo rigorous analysis prior to market approval and client availability. Investments must meet PEAK’s ethical standards and offer the opportunity for growth to be considered.
In order to remain up to date on industry trends, as well as have the opportunity to give back to the wider community, PEAK regularly hosts educational and professional development events. The company offers several training and networking opportunities throughout the year. Their core annual program, the PEAK Financial Group National Conference, features panels led by masters of the financial field and workshops to help Independent Financial Advisors hone their skills. The conference also offers distinct networking possibilities for industry professionals to build new relationships with their peers.
Meeting the Needs of the Future
PEAK Financial Group’s past success has been noted several times throughout Canada. Finance et Investissement magazine recognized Frances as one of Quebec’s top financial leaders in 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. In October 2010, The Insurance and Investment Journal noted PEAK’s unique opt-in fee system. In October 2011, Ernst & Young recognized Frances as Entrepreneur of the Year for Quebec in the Business Services Category. PROFIT 100 has placed PEAK as one of the top financial companies over six times.
PEAK is expected to continue to grow at an exponential rate in the near future. As Canada’s population grows older, more people are seeking independent financial advice. Client’s seek reputable firms when addressing their financial future, and avoid those who may be influenced by a sales quota. PEAK Financial Group offers the independent, trustworthy advice the Canadian market increasingly needs.
“I see us growing tremendously,” explains Frances, “This could be by referrals and word-of-mouth, as well as potential strategic acquisitions. The next few years will be very interesting for the industry as technology helps us do more for both the client and the advisor.”