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The wealth management industry is undergoing major change and firms must be ready to embrace it, says Jordy Chilcott, the new president of Wellington-Altus Private Wealth and Wellington-Altus Insurance Inc.
Above all, advisors are looking for more independence so they can serve their clients better, says Mr. Chilcott, who took the helm of the two businesses in March after joining Wellington-Altus as executive vice-president of wealth strategy and enablement in 2020.
“We’ve been seeing advisors in the U.S. leave wirehouses to go to the [registered investment advisor] marketplace to control their own future, destiny and products. We’re seeing the same thing here,” he says.
Mr. Chilcott spoke with Globe Advisor about the major challenges affecting advisors, how technology can help manage client relationships, and where he sees Wellington-Altus in the next five years.
Where do you see Wellington-Altus’s place in the industry given the fierce competition and changes taking place?
We have wonderful competitors in the Big Five [banks], but they have different drivers for shareholder value. So, some of the largest advisory [practices] in the country are looking to Wellington-Altus and a few other groups as another option.
We not only allow them to plan their succession, but we also encourage them to do so because they own their books of business.
The other big driver now is control of your product platform so that you can continue to build the outcomes you’re comfortable with for your client.
[These advisors’ current] businesses are driven around [limited] product [offerings] or more related products or services that they feel may not be in the best interest of their clients. [Some advisors could have] sales quotas that aren’t planned and are outcome-driven. We have none of those things.
The last thing I would say is ownership. That drives a different behaviour, which is a willingness to share, grow the firm, and also uphold the brand. It becomes very near and dear to you as an owner.
What do you think sets your business apart in the industry?
We’re in a very fortunate spot and one of the reasons is clearly technology. It’s a difference-maker in our industry.
We have a [repository of raw] data and are using [application programming interfaces] to plug in the best-in-class technology that’s available in the wealth advice industry to help advisors be more efficient in the delivery of outcomes.
We’ve partnered with Envestnet Inc. on our reporting and trading. From a reporting perspective, you’re able to show clients what their entire position is with the firm [i.e., the performance of their assets]. It reduces the administrative burden on our advisory teams by giving back 20 to 30 per cent of their time, which they can then spend with clients or on creating new relationships.
Wellington-Altus is coming to its five-year anniversary. Where do you see it going in the next five?
We’ve had phenomenal success recruiting advisors and lines of businesses to our platform in the past five years. I say advisors but they’re really functioning businesses when you’re bringing over people who are managing $250-million, $500-million, $750-million in client assets. That’s quite different from bringing over an individual advisor.
I believe we have a relatively clear sightline to the $50-billion assets under administration in our [Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada] platform and a significant presence in our [investment counsel portfolio management] strategy on our Wellington-Altus Private Counsel business. This is smaller right now, but a focused area for growth for us. That’s a pretty clear path that’s not stretching the limits and is very much within the realm of doability.
You’ve worked on the asset management side of the business. How has that helped you in wealth management?
I actually see those worlds converging over time because it’s ... about driving outcomes for clients that are in their best interest.
We will continue to build out our asset management capabilities but we’re not seeking to replicate something that’s already out there, maybe cheaper and even better.
We want to provide a platform to make it more efficient for advisors to build a better outcome. Having an investment fund manager or asset management registrant allows us to build some pretty exciting stuff. This would still be subadvisory, but put them on a platform on which we’re able to make the execution of those portfolios easier for advisors.
This interview has been edited and condensed. For more from Globe Advisor, visit our homepage.