Canadian Banks: We Love ‘Em & We Hate ‘Em

From the desk of Erin Gendron

You probably haven’t been able to avoid seeing the negative media attention (and resulting share volatility) the Big 5 Banks have been receiving over the past month. We’ve certainly taken note. The attention on the banks is due to alleged high pressure sales tactics used by under qualified advisors. These stories may or may not remind you (or a family member or friend) of dealings with the banks…but I used to work there, so I have a pretty good perspective to share.

Many aspects of these media stories rang true for me having spent the last 8 years of my career working for 2 of the largest Canadian banks.

Of course, the media does like to create a sensational story. Amidst all this noise, the banks have great employees and managers that do truly care about customers.

The parts that did ring true centered around the misalignment of the banks employee’s interests/priorities and the banks client’s interest/ priorities. These were the primary drivers that led me to leave, and ultimately join Vandermeer Wealth Management!

Where we truly differ;

“Clients really do need advice from people they can trust. If banks can’t guarantee that trust, maybe regulators must step in. In the meantime maybe customers must look elsewhere for advice they really can trust.”

By way of licensing, Brent is licensed as a discretionary Portfolio Manager, which gives him the highest level of fiduciary duty to our clients.

Being a fiduciary involves due care, loyalty and good faith. Simply put, it means legally (not just ethically) putting yourself in your client’s shoes and sacrificing your interest for the client’s interest. Bank branches and any broker not licensed as a PM do not have this same level of licensing and responsibility.

We differ in our ability to offer independent investment solutions –
we don’t have a product shelf that we “recommend as the best options for clients”. We literally go out to the universe of solutions, complete a thorough due diligence process and choose the best one. Of course, a thorough monitoring process starts right after purchase and changes are made as needed with no pressure to retain “in house” products.

We invest the time and attention that every one of our clients deserves every day. On top of that, we care. Every day, in my previous bank life, it became a frustrating conflict of interest between taking care of existing clients and the constant pressure to look for new clients or find new ways to sell more products and ‘solutions’ to existing clients. The significant financial incentives that geared actions towards the latter became an every day struggle.

All this being said, if you have friends and family being served by someone who may be less qualified, or not have their best interest in mind, we would love the opportunity to meet them, and explain how our industry works and how we could serve them better.

Didn’t catch the recent news:

Despite the ads begging for your trust, banks are not your mom: Don Pittis

‘I feel duped’: Why bank employees with impressive but misleading titles could cost you big time