WES ASHTON, CIM, FCSI HARBOURFRONT WEALTH MANAGEMENT INC, VANCOUVER
Harbourfront Wealth Management (Harbourfront), a boutique wealth management company founded by Wes Ashton and Daniel Popescu in 2013, was created to provide specialized wealth management strategies to sophisticated investors and high net worth individuals and their families.
There is one clear advantage to working with a boutique wealth advisory firm like Harbourfront - their advisors are focused on building relationships and creating client-tailored value as opposed to only achieving corporate objectives and building shareholder value.
Wes, a Chartered Investment Manager and fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute, is Harbourfront’s National Sales Manager and Portfolio Manager and oversees a majority of the firm’s clients.
Wes works closely with Daniel, the firm’s President and CEO, to mentor both clients and the firm’s team of highly educated and ethical project managers, financial analysts, accountants, lawyers, and communications and marketing professionals.
Harbourfront is a full-service brokerage firm, with access to a wide range of global investment vehicles. These include individual shares, exchange traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, initial public offerings (IPOs), new issues, private placements and equities, creditor protected investments, Guaranteed Investment Certificates Market Linked GIC’s and high interest savings accounts.
The firm’s clients – business owners, professionals and retirees – have both real estate and financial assets, and recognize they want something more than what is currently being offered by traditional investment advisory services. Wes attributes Harbourfront’s extraordinary success and cross Canada expansion (branch offices are now operating in the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario) to the firm’s client-centred philosophy and their defensive, disciplined, and holistic approach to portfolio management.
As Wes points out, “I am always surprised to learn how many retail investors, think they are already using all of the available investment and tax minimization strategies when in reality, they are not. Many retail investors do not know about or use all of the available tax and trust solutions, do not build customized, back-tested portfolios, and fail to access pension-style institutional asset management strategies that can help them build and protect their wealth. At Harbourfront we do all of this and more.”
According to Wes, “Many Canadian investors only feel comfortable ‘buying Canadian,’ and don’t diversify as much as they could or should. In reality, Canada is only a small part of the global market and investors that only buy-Canadian are leaving money on the table.
At Harbourfront we don’t get distracted by the latest media headlines. We search the globe for good companies with strong management teams and proven track records of earnings growth. We never limit ourselves to a specific country, market or product niche,” he explains.
“Our team makes a concerted effort to educate our clients on our eight-step process and help them understand their financial future. We talk to them rather than at our clients, and we consistently engage with clients through personal meetings, telephone calls and educational seminars. Our hope is that our proactive communication policy will help make our very complicated industry more accessible, more understandable, and more human,” Wes adds.
For example, the average investor will live through five to seven different economic and market cycles, which makes it almost impossible to ‘time’ the market. “Despite varying economic periods, conflicting political views, civil unrest, or the country in which you live, people always require access to certain goods and services. Harbourfront looks at trends and at macro events. We take a deep dive into allocations. We understand the type of risk that is likely to generate returns and construct efficient, back-tested portfolios. That is how we consistently build and preserve wealth, regardless of the market cycle,” Wes explains.
Fit and client service can also be a source of client frustration. Business leaders understand the importance of choosing employees based on their ability to demonstrate their understanding of, and commitment to, a company’s corporate values. Similarly, Wes believes investors would be better served if they considered ‘fit’ when choosing their professional advisors. “Fit helps all parties to be clear on expectations and to avoid making bad decisions. Most people spend more time planning vacations than they do thinking about who is looking after their money. Harbourfront’s eight-step process ensures we ask the right questions and remain focused on what’s important – our clients’ goals and the objectives they want to accomplish.”
“I’m always surprised by how many people put up with not hearing from their financial advisor on a consistent basis. Since Harbourfront only brings on one or two new clients each month we are always equipped to give everyone the time and the attention they deserve. Clients appreciate our ‘white glove’ treatment. Having grown our practice through the referrals of satisfied clients we understand the importance of offering exceptional customer service,” Wes adds.
Even the most sophisticated investors don’t know what they don’t know, especially if they aren’t involved in the financial services industry on a day-to-day basis. Clients need advice on how long to hold certain investments, how to integrate risk, how to avoid a big tax bill, how many accounts to have, when to consider alternative investments, what they can expect in terms of cash flow, and when to change strategies. Because many advisory companies specialize in just a small piece of what’s available, their advice is limited to only those products and services.
“I have always liked Dofasco’s tag line - our product is steel our strength is people,” says Wes. “I like to think of Harbourfront in the same way – our product is building and preserving wealth, our strength is the relationships we have."
Relationships with our families, our colleagues, our employees, our suppliers, the companies that we invest in, and, most importantly, our clients. When it comes right down to it, Harbourfront is in the business of people. We are passionate about sharing the happy and even the challenging moments that define and shape our clients’ lives. We think of them as family and hope they feel the same about us.”
Despite a full roster of client commitments, Wes always makes time for his family, including his daughter’s dance recitals, and lends his financial support to a variety of children’s charities including a local hospital, Ronald McDonald House, and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
If you would like to attend one of Wes Ashton’s exclusive client educational workshops, or to receive a second opinion on your portfolio, please contact Wes directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Corporate Head Office:
Harbourfront Wealth Management
MNP Tower, 3100-1021 W Hastings St.
Vancouver, British Columbia