At only 44, Jamie Robb – Principal & Senior Wealth Advisor at Fiducia Wealth Management, would be considered on the young side in an industry where a lot of advisors are approaching retirement age. Yet, in his case, age has nothing to do with experience.
Since his start in 1999, Jamie has spent a great deal of time honing his professional skills and now carries an impressive list of professional designations to augment his Honors Bachelor of Commerce Degree. These include the following: CFP (Certified Financial Planner), CIM (Chartered Investment Manager), CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter), RRC (Registered Retirement Consultant), TEP (Trust & Estate Practitioner, FMA (Financial Management Advisor), and CHFS (Certified Hedge Fund Specialist). He is also a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute (FCSI).
During this time, Jamie has built his practice somewhat slowly – choosing to forego short-term profits to focus on building lasting partnerships with long-term clients.
If you ask Jamie what business he is in, he would likely tell you he is in the ‘Trust Business’. “I can’t really help people unless they truly trust me. To me, trust is earned over time by demonstrating value up-front, and setting proper expectations for each client engagement. I am happy to invest a great deal of time in my client relationships at the front-end. It’s the best way to achieve solid relationships that lead to a positive outcome for everyone,” Jamie says. “Even with a referral, which is the way 99% of my business comes to me, that trust needs to be earned.”
Sometimes earning that trust means constructively telling a client something they don’t want to hear. Sometimes it means turning away a piece of business because you feel there would be a better use of the funds in a client’s overall plan (i.e. paying down debts / mortgages). And, sometimes it means admitting that you can’t be all things to all people and telling a prospective client that you don’t think you are the right advisor for their needs.
In fact, the trust that his clients place in him is of such importance, that it forms the basis for his company name and business identity. The name Fiducia is derived from the Latin word for trust.
While Fiducia Wealth serves a wide range of clientele, Jamie finds particular joy working with Business Owners, Professionals and Entrepreneurs. The added complexity means that each new client brings its own unique challenges and the opportunity to collaborate with other professionals means there is an environment that allows him to continue to learn.
Jamie serves a relatively small client base – currently made up of about 80-85 client families. He suggests that around 100 families would represent his capacity in terms of being able to provide the level of service to which he strives.
While many advisors service a far larger client base, it is very important to Jamie that he have ample time to spend with his family – his wife and two daughters. “It’s always nice to make a little more money, but we can’t make any more time. I pause regularly to remind myself that these three ladies are really most important in my life and I need to make sure the balance swings in their favour whenever and wherever possible.”
Always kept in mind are the words of Plato – “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” When bringing in a new client, the focus is on the Discovery Process. “Quality decisions require quality data, there’s just no way around it. This is why patience and pace are vital to proper planning. Often, clients just want an answer to the question that is ‘top of mind’ for them at the moment. However, if we let ourselves rush to an answer without taking the time to properly consider the surrounding and ancillary issues, we run a real risk of sub-optimal decision making. It’s the old garbage in / garbage out principle,” Jamie explains. In his opinion, this is also a large part of what distinguishes a true professional from a product salesperson.
“The financial services industry likes to talk about being a group of professionals, but if we want to be truly be recognized as such – we need to act accordingly. Actions define professionalism, not the titles we give ourselves. Basic table stakes should include accepting and adhering to a code of ethics, taking our continuing education requirements seriously, and voluntarily setting a fiduciary standard for ourselves in our dealings with clients.”
When it comes down to it, Jamie truly enjoys the actual work – the heavy lifting of complex financial planning. “There’s always a bit of a rush of excitement when you gather all the initial discovery information and you get to dump those ‘puzzle pieces’ out on the table and start to form the image that represents that particular client’s Vision of Financial Success™.”
Jamie also strives to ensure that a family’s overall wealth is taken into account in the planning process. “It’s easy to get lost in the minutiae at times - to lose sight of the fact that the fundamental goal usually falls to continually growing a family’s after-tax Net Worth.”
He notes that there is a trend in the industry towards specialization and niche marketing. “That can be a great way to maximize sales and revenue. However, in some cases, it delivers limited value to the clients unless they themselves have the financial acumen and time available to be their own gatekeeper and quarterback.” Jamie refers to this as ‘fishbowl planning’ – decisions made in an information vacuum that often end up an imperfect fit with a client’s overall goals when viewed in the larger context.
Jamie often says he has made, “something of a specialty out of being a generalist.”
“It’s why I’ve worked so hard to expand my training and skillset – so I can see more angles and have a broader perspective to apply the full opportunity set in any planning scenario that presents itself. When you can take that approach and leverage off the specialties of other professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, I feel it leads to the most robust planning environment for the client.”
Building a Legacy of Professionalism
With 20+ years left in his career, Jamie has plenty of time to continue perfecting his craft. There is no doubt that there will be many changes to come over this time. Technology in general and ‘robo-advisors’ are altering the delivery of advice to clients and the overall landscape is changing under advisors’ feet. However, Jamie doesn’t believe that the role of the human advisor is becoming obsolete.
“There is a qualitative and emotional aspect to this type of planning that I don’t think can be replaced by a machine anytime soon. While existing computing and analytical power already far outweighs what a human can do manually in terms of number crunching – applying that data in the context of a specific family’s life and legacy goals still requires a human interpreter to achieve the best result for a human customer. I think that these technological advancements will enhance, not replace, the quality of advice that professional human advisors can deliver. It just gives us more horsepower and makes us that much more efficient at delivering customized planning solutions.”
Jamie believes this is what Total Wealth Management™ is all about – consolidating all the aspects of financial planning (investment, insurance, retirement, tax and estate planning) into a cohesive process designed to deliver a plan with the highest possible likelihood of success.
“I can imagine no greater legacy than clients that have been able to maximize the enjoyment of their wealth for themselves and their families with the peace of mind that the tap won’t run dry and the comfort that whatever is left behind will transition to their heirs in the most efficient manner to meet their own legacy goals.”
Jamie wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love my work, I love my clients, and I take the responsibility of the trust they place in me very seriously. I will continue to put in everything I have to keep on earning that trust and using it to guide my clients to success. And, I’ll continue to be grateful for the opportunity to do so every day.”
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
Jamie Robb, B. Comm. (Hon), CFP, CIM, RRC, CLU, TEP, FCSI
Principal, Fiducia Wealth Management
Senior Wealth Advisor, Worldsource Financial Management Inc.
201 – 5705 Cancross Court | Mississauga, ON L5R 3E9
Tel: (905) 361-2030 | Fax: 1 (905) 248-3300