Rogers Group Financial

“Know Thy Client”

Since the firm’s inception, Rogers Group Financial has grown to become one of Vancouver’s most respected independent financial advisory firms. The firm builds its reputation on confidence and trust, and on the fact that the firm is one of the few privately-owned investment companies in Western Canada.

Rogers Group Financial will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2013 and since its inception, the firm remains focused on financial planning for its clients. The Canadian Business Journal spoke to Clay Gillespie, Managing Director, and Barbara Simpson, the firm’s COO and CFO, about their clients’ financial planning.

Gillespie made a key distinction in Rogers Group Financial’s service approach stating that, while the firm holds all the necessary registrations and certifications in regards to investing and asset management, Rogers Group Financial management sees these only as mere tools to serve its clients and solve clients’ problems, as the client always comes first.

“Besides putting our clients first, we have built our firm to survive from generation to generation. We are not building ourselves up in order to sell the firm.

This is an important distinction for us. Many firms see selling its operation to a bank or such as an exit strategy, but our objective is not to do that. Our objective is not to maximize the value of Rogers Group Financial for any third party; it’s Rogers Group Financial and its clients who are important.” To this, Simpson added, “This gives us the knowledge and security to serve our clients in the long run, without the client actually being sold along with the firm almost like a commodity. While the investment banking market in Western Canada is well developed, we have seen much amalgamation and consolidation with larger firms from Eastern Canada, and these firms had become the key business decision makers. We want to avoid this and remain as an independent business, serving our clients longterm, and having the generational succession take care of our clients.”

The Firm

The firm focuses on serving individuals in their retirement planning, from the accumulation phase to the retirement income phase execution. The firm currently serves some 3,000 clients, managing a portfolio of approximately $1.3 billion. The firm has 17 professional advisors, with total staff of about 50.

Being privately held and focusing on the client dramatically changes the firm’s culture. While being profitable is important, the firm always puts the client first.

Working for the client turned the firm’s culture into a large professional family. The firm requires each of its advisors to hold industry designations to enhance customer service. While this is not usually required by regular firms, Rogers Group Financial has demanded this since its inception to better serve its clients.

“We are highly focused on doing what’s right for the client.”

Retirement Planning

To plan for retirement, the firm creates a holistic view of the clients’ objectives and realities. Advisors make sure that the clients are saving enough money and that their retirement is structured the way they need it to be structured, as well as ensuring that they have the right form of insurance. “The mistake people make is that they underestimate the value of monitoring their retirement planning. They need to constantly ask whether what they are doing in regards to their retirement is the right thing. It’s about the planning process and making sure that clients are walking in the right direction. This is where continuity with our clients comes in,” says Gillespie.

As a smaller firm, Rogers Group Financial sees each client as an individual with specific needs. The firm gives clients the opportunity to review their plan as often as needed, annually or even semi-annually. To use an analogy, Gillespie said, “If you have a nephew whom you see every six months, you would notice quite a change, while the parents do not really notice the change. For us, it’s important to monitor clients because we notice those changes. The only way a successful retirement planning will work is through constant monitoring. Another reason why clients come to us is because we are not the bank, driven by profits.” To this Simpson further explained, “We are not selling the latest product as the banks do. We always diversify portfolios, instead of investing everything into ‘the latest thing’ on the market. We see the selling of these products as a conflict of interest that does not benefit the clients, rather it’s built to benefit the sellers of these products. As an independent firm, we are not bound by anyone who sells financial instruments to push any ‘hot’ product, industry or IPO.”

The firm’s strategy of continuity and focus on long-term client profitability pays off, and 95 per cent of new clients come through client referral. Rogers Group Financial continues to deliver personalized and effective financial solutions to its long-standing clients.