Trinity Wealth Partners
Trinity Wealth Partners, a family-owned financial planning firm in Bedford, Nova Scotia, offers a unique, holistic investment approach to its clients. Instead of specializing in a specific niche, business owner Rick Irwin aims to gather a team of experts to cater to virtually any financial need that Trinity Wealth’s clients may seek.
Trinity Wealth was founded in 1981 as Canadian Annuity Quotations which, at the time, focused on annuities. Irwin’s parents and founders of the company, Florence and Dick Irwin, later changed the name to CAQ Financial as the company eventually expanded to include several elements of financial planning, such as investments, insurance, tax reduction strategies and estate planning.
Rick Irwin joined his parents in 1998 after graduating from Saint Mary’s University, and he began in a primarily administrative role “learning the ropes” but soon earned his CLU and CFP, estate and financial planning, designations and began providing comprehensive financial planning and investment advice to clients. Irwin took over the business in late 2007, just prior to the market drop, when his parents eased into semi-retirement. Dick and Florence continue working independently in tax preparation services. In 2013, Irwin rebranded the company as ‘Trinity Wealth Partners,’ and has continued to expand the business, by both developing succession plans with other retiring advisors and natural growth of his client base, to double the assets under management.
Trinity Wealth currently services some 440 households, primarily located within Nova Scotia but spanning across Canada. Irwin still considers his business a primarily ‘local’ company with a main client base and strong roots within Nova Scotia.
Trinity Wealth offers services for nearly any financial need, striving towards complete service and providing holistic wealth management that includes many different elements of financial planning. The services they provide include investment advisory, insurance, estate planning, tax reduction strategies, and debt management.
The goal of Trinity Wealth Partners is to provide independent strategies to help grow and protect clients’ wealth over time. All advisors in the firm assist clients by following a simple four-step process: a comprehensive assessment of needs, providing recommendations to meet those needs, implementation of these recommendations within the context of a well-rounded financial plan, and ongoing monitoring of the financial decisions to meet their long-term goals. This process helps clients best understand their financial strategy while allowing Trinity Wealth to best serve them.
“From preparing taxes to retirement planning, clients come to us for any topic that’s money-related,” explains Irwin and continues, “we work as a team, and the teamwork has been key to our success. For activities that are not handled by Trinity Wealth Partners, such as tax preparation, we refer our clients to professionals with whom we have established a professional working relationship. This type of approach is necessary in a holistic environment. I don’t take everything on myself; rather, I employ and work with experienced professionals.”
The average Canadian change jobs about every five years, with one major career shift within their lifetime. This new type of lifestyle requires increased attention to personal income-based retirement planning (RRSPs); even more so as more Canadians are self employed and as pensions being offered by companies are being diluted or, in some cases, taken away altogether. Some clients own their own business, and Irwin recognizes the unique challenges and opportunities that business owners face when creating a personal as well as a corporate financial plan.
Trinity Wealth offers retirement income planning based on personal income and investment strategies, “If you’re young with limited resources, it might be better to take on higher risk investments for a better outcome,” Irwin explains, and when retirement is on the horizon you might want to invest more conservatively. However, every individual and family is different with varying investment styles and risk tolerance, both of which are taken into account, among other things, when Irwin makes his recommendations.
Irwin and his team are also conscious of the ‘retirement risk zone’, which is the period of time 3-5 years just before retirement or just after. Investors who experience a financial downturn during this period due to a major economic event may find it difficult to fully recover. For example, those who retired around the 2008 market crash may have been recovering from the event for years afterward. Trinity wealth works with their clients to help with making sensible financial and personal decisions that meet their retirement needs.
Trinity Wealth also needs to take into consideration unpredictable factors that may affect client portfolios, primarily fluctuations in the stock market. These fluctuations can be significantly altered through new government policies or unexpected economic transitions such as market crashes.
“You could have the very best practices and procedures. You could do all the right things for your client, and you’ll still experience these changes,” says Irwin, “This industry is extremely tied to world events, so we need to create steady, risk-adjusted strategies that can best mitigate these unforeseen events.”
A Changing Industry
The 2008 North American economic crash left several financial institutions and businesses in a painful position. Trinity Wealth helped their clients through this tough period with appropriate recommendations for their situation, yet Irwin is conscious of the still-changing market, and he continues to develop the firm in a steady market position that will assure long-term profitability and growth.
“There’s a big transition coming to the industry. The seeds of change were planted during the initial crisis, and financial regulators are soon going to require greater transparency regarding investment performance and the overall cost of financial advice. Most of the costs of investing, especially in mutual funds, are within the structure of the fund. This will include service commissions on assets under management, and various forms of purchase commissions,” explains Irwin.
The coming changes to the financial planning and investment industry may mean a change in how financial advisors approach new and current client situations. As clients grow more aware of investment risks and costs, financial planners need to emphasize their value propositions.
Irwin believes his reputation and reliability of the firm’s service will allow Trinity Wealth to continue to grow organically. The company does not actively advertise – instead, new clients are most often referred. Irwin comments, “Virtually all of our new clients come from current clients who we’ve provided excellent service for, and who know like-minded individuals with similar financial needs.”
“I’m definitely looking to grow with strategic partners, such as an accountant,” explains Irwin, “We may also be looking into taking on another advisor to work with us. We aren’t in a rush though – we’re very selective about who we add to the team,” concluded Irwin. Trinity Wealth’s team dynamic is a pivotal aspect of the company, and a new advisor on the team will be able to provide the same holistic service to their growing client base.
Moving forward, Trinity Wealth plans to maintain its holistic approach to financial planning. In the near future, Irwin and his team look forward to servicing more clients as well as expanding the business through strategic partnerships and relationships with other local professionals.