People choose a financial services career for a variety of reasons. Often, it is as a result of a life event, as was the case with IG Division Director and Consultant, Lee Charlton. ”I lost my dad suddenly, to a brain aneurism, when I was 9. A family friend was a Financial Advisor and made sure all of our needs – my mom, myself, my sister and my younger brother – were taken care of.”
By the time Lee was a teenager, he was actively following the stock market. He recognized he wanted to have some type of financial services career, probably as a stock trader and broker. When he was in University, Lee studied Business Administration (with a finance major) and his career choice crystallized. “I decided to focus on a career as a Financial Advisor. I wanted to ensure client families were well advised and financially secure.”
When his Mom’s Financial Advisor retired, Lee took over managing her financial affairs. Since then his Mom has always acted as the bellwether for his financial advice – if Lee did not feel a particular strategy would help her, he would not recommend the same strategy to his elderly clients.
Lee likes the IG business model because it allows him to have management responsibility and to work with clients. “I like recruiting top talent, and then training, coaching, and mentoring them. I spend half my time doing that and the other half of my time working with clients.”
When he is sourcing Consultants, Lee looks for a good track record, and individuals that can demonstrate a client focus. “To be considered for my team, potential consultants have to be in it for the right reasons. Self-gain is not one of them. Just like I take my time getting to know clients, I take my time getting to know Consultants and potential consultants. I take an interest in their lives and try and figure out what I can do to help them be better Advisors and better people. I maintain an open door policy and consider myself a safe place to vent and a sounding board for ideas.”
Philosophy & Approach
National Geographic defines an ecosystem as, “A geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscapes, work together to form a bubble of life.” A holistic IG Living Plan is like an ecosystem where the strategies involved in wealth creation, management, and protection, work together to form a synergetic whole.
The IG Living Plan is an evolving plan that changes with a particular family’s circumstances. “We let clients know what we will do for them, and focus on their goals which can be short, medium and long term. We then take a snapshot at where they are at financially today, and draft a plan that integrates their goals with specific strategies. After the draft plan is presented we clarify that the data we used is accurate, and redraft and represent the plan if necessary. If we don’t need to redraft, I explain what is needed to implement the plan. As goals and needs evolve with time so too does the plan, so regular reviews are necessary!”
Lee advises clients the same way he advises his Mom. “I never discuss specific products or returns until we get through an intensive discovery process. This can’t be done overnight. I spend a lot of time at the front end, getting to know clients personally, developing an open line of communication and building trusted relationships.” Lee is ably assisted by an Executive Assistant.
Nothing in life is stagnant. Clients are constantly changing and growing. The same is true of their IG Living Plans. There is a variety of product choices and more are coming online all the time. Choices and strategies are further complicated by evolving regulations. For example, there have been more Tax Code changes in the last three or four years than there has been in decades. A commitment to continuing education is crucial to delivering relevant and current financial advice.
Wealth Advisors are also being held to a higher standard. “I do my best to help clients make the best financial decisions for themselves and their families. I also make their IG Living Plans and financial ecosystems reflect current trends and regulatory requirements.” This involves a commitment to be a life-long learner.
In a few short years, Lee has earned his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional (CFP®), Registered Retirement Consultant (RRC®), and completed an Elder Planning Course (EPC), and says that, “It won’t end there. I like the fact that having a CFP® is now table stakes at IG.”
Up Close & Personal
Lee and his wife, Candace, have two young daughters, 2 ½ year old, Emilie, and ten-month old, Kennedy. “Losing my dad at such a young age, he was only 40 when he passed, has helped me set my personal priorities. I don’t want to miss my kids growing up and do my very best to balance time with clients with time with my wife and two daughters.”
Lee also enjoys gardening and finds watching things grow and mature very therapeutic. As a last word, Lee says, “A lot of people have confidence in us with their money. I am motivated by things like seeing clients comfortably retire or having enough money saved to put their children through University. I may not be in a position to change the whole world, but with my skills and experience, I am in the position to change one person’s world. That is what I love about this business.”
This article is a general source of information only. It is not intended to provide personalized tax, legal or investment advice, and is not intended as a solicitation to purchase securities. The content was written by Suzen Fromstein, and is based on an interview with Lee Charlton. For more information on this matter, please contact Lee Charlton.
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
LEE CHARLTON CFP®, RRC, EPC,
Investors Group Financial Services Inc.
100 - 2365 ALBERT ST. REGINA SK S4P 4K1
(306) 757 3511 ext. 330