CARLA DOS SANTOS
When her father died of leukemia, he did not have a financial plan. He left a wife and 3 young daughters, including Carla, the youngest, who was just 5 years old, to fend for themselves. The family turned to Helen, one of the first female planners for advice and guidance.
“I attended every meeting my mother had with Helen. Although I was only a little child, I was captivated by every word Helen said. I promised myself that I would become an investor because I wanted to protect myself and my family and money would allow me to do so. By the age of 10, I was not only writing monthly investment goals, I was achieving them,” says Carla Dos Santos, President of Point B Financial Inc.
Her family situation was also the catalyst for her choice of career. “After I completed my degree at the University of Western Ontario, I made an appointment with Helen. I thanked her for being there for my family. When the conversation turned to what I was planning to do with the rest of my life, I told her I wasn’t sure. Helen encouraged me to consider a financial services career. I agreed immediately. In my mind’s eye, I could see myself helping families in the same way Helen helped ours. It was one of my better decisions - I am currently celebrating my 20th year in practice.”
While she was learning the business, Carla upgraded her qualifications, and worked in tandem with other advisors. “I always dreamed of having my own practice and my own team. I wrote down my goals, defined the client group that would most benefit from my expertise, and worked with a business coach to achieve my plan,” the certified financial planner says. By the end of the process, Carla had created Point B Financial to manage the financial affairs of families and small businesses requiring holistic, sophisticated, and complex strategic planning.
Carla works closely with each client to establish achievable financial goals, and to identify opportunities, and any obstacles to achieving their Point B. She then determines suitable investment strategies and vehicles for goal attainment.
Philosophy & Approach
“Like a coach, a quarterback, or a personal trainer, I see my job as helping my clients first to clearly spell out where they are now financially – their “Point A” – and then to figure out what they want to achieve – their “Point B”. When we have defined the goal, we can plan what needs to be done to achieve it,” Carla explains.
The financial planning process involves what Carla calls a circle of trust. “I tell our clients that we first work hard to earn their trust. Then, we work even harder to keep it. We do what we said we were going to do, when we said we were going to do it. This includes responding to all emails within 24 hours. Also, I only deal with professionals I trust – all of the managers chosen to handle our clients’ money have to meet a list of very stringent criteria.”
One client who has worked as a marketer with many financial executives says, “I chose Carla as my financial advisor because she’s female, honest, connected, smart, and above all, because she listens and hears what matters to me, my family, and my bank account.”
Driven by relationships, connection, and a commitment to family, Carla maintains all of her clients’ personal records, including wills, living wills, powers of attorney, insurance, etc. “Just as Helen did for our family all those years ago, family members and other professional service providers rely on me to offer perspective and continuity. I am proud of the fact that we often work with several generations from the same family. The bottom line is this: regardless of the client’s age or stage, we want to be there for them,” Carla says.
She regularly addresses inquiries about financial planning and is committed to teaching clients one or two new things every time they meet, so that they are always expanding their financial knowledge. One long-term client describes Carla, “as much our life coach and our teacher as our financial advisor.”
“All of our follow-up processes are well established and our clients know who to talk to for whatever they need.” Carla’s office is designed as a warm and welcoming space. "Money can be a stressful subject, so we welcome our clients with a selection of beverages and treats to make them feel more relaxed when they come to see us. We have created a homey environment because we want our clients to consider us a friend that cares about them.”
Carla is supported by people who are just as passionate about client service as is she. Kelly O’Hagan has held various progressive roles in the wealth management industry since 1994. She was licensed with IIROC in 2003 and joined the Point B Financial Team in 2016. Kelly assists Carla in preparing long-term plans for clients, and in researching, constructing, analyzing and reviewing investment portfolios.
Marianne Mitchell has held a variety of administrative roles in the financial industry for over 30 years. She joined Carla’s team in 2011. Marianne handles all administrative, insurance and tax inquiries, prepares forms and processes all investment and insurance transactions and acts as liaison between clients and mutual fund and insurance companies.
Donna McColl has been in the financial services industry for over 40 years. She joined the Point B Financial team in 2016 after she retired from one of the major banks. Donna schedules all client appointments, workshops and events, and sets up client online access and troubleshoots problems. She is also responsible for the firm’s social media sites.
Up Close & Personal
Every day Carla works on self-improvement and challenging herself, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. She has participated in a number of triathlons and half-marathons. Recently she honed her podium skills at two Manulife Business Forums and The Canadian Summit for Women in Financial Planning held at the Toronto Convention Centre. Despite all of her many successes, Carla views her family and friends as her greatest accomplishments.
Carla has grown her business organically, through her hard work and referrals. Perhaps one of the reasons for her success is her attitude of gratitude. In addition to giving back to her local community by sponsoring local sports teams, and volunteering at her son’s school and parent council, she often mentors other advisors on other teams. She also makes it a point to tell Kelly, Marianne, and Donna daily, how thankful she is that they have decided to support her, and their clients, on their individual and professional journeys to Point B.
Carla has always put relationships and authenticity at the front of the client experience. As a final word, she says, “My lifetime goal has been to keep my clients on track and moving forward. Life is about making a difference and I believe that whatever you give, you get back threefold.
This motivates me to be better, to block out the noise, and to focus on helping my clients reach their Point B’s. I am so thankful for everyone who has shared the last 20 years with me.”
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides Category
Manulife Securities Incorporated
Point B Financial
244 Pall Mall St., Suite 403
London ON N6A 5P6