CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional Darcy Bell made the switch to financial planning 6 years ago. Starting out in retail, he worked his way up into a management role within an independent sports retail environment and learned the ins and outs of operating a business. The switch to financial services was prompted by his realization that he could utilize his love of numbers and focus on the aspects of business management he enjoyed best.
“When you manage a small retail environment everything lands on your shoulders, so you learn all aspects of the business,” says Darcy. “When I left retail to join Investors Group (which later become IG Wealth Management), I realized that what I enjoyed most was dealing with the numbers and the financial aspects of the business – setting budgets, cash forecasts, etc.”
Darcy became licensed for insurance and investments and recently obtained his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation. Presently, his team serves the greater Calgary area which includes Calgary and its four outer suburbs as far west as Banff and Canmore. Darcy also has roots in British Columbia and extends his services to that region as he is licensed in BC as well. His team believes in a family-based approach to assisting clients with their financial needs. Together, they have more than 13 years of combined experience.
“We know our clients, but they also know us. It’s a team approach, and a family environment,” explains Darcy. “We often have joint meetings, myself and one of my associates will sit down with a client so that it’s no big deal if one of us is not available later. If I’m in a meeting or on a phone call – our clients don’t have to tell their story to an entirely new advisor because there is someone else who already knows the specifics of their financial plan. I’ve teamed up with two others and it’s not just me giving financial recommendations, it’s me plus my team coming up with the financial plan. I can’t be in the office every day of the year, if I can’t be there, someone from my team is. We never go on holidays together so that a member of our team is always here.”
Darcy and his team focus on family groups with unique situations and assets to work with. His team’s expertise is geared towards assisting generations with a financial plan that will transfer wealth from parent to child and generations thereafter.
“We focus on the mass-affluent client base with more complex cases, often where businesses are involved,” says Darcy. “We currently service almost 350 family groups and have the capacity to continue to build on that. When there is something unique or challenging about a situation – I love that. We want to work with families who need additional support with unique financial situations.”
Why IG Wealth Management?
When Darcy made the switch to financial planning, it was to create a career that would allow him to focus on helping others with the aspects of business management that he most enjoyed. He appreciates the holistic approach IG takes towards developing a financial plan.
“When I first started in financial services, I did my research. I looked around and the reason I chose IG is twofold,” explains Darcy. “First of all, overall financial planning touches on everything while moving beyond just looking at a financial statement. Second, I like that we are a whole picture financial services group who tries to take any sales bias out. We can help our clients with anything they would like to invest in, and the main purpose of our work is to develop their overall financial plan.”
Darcy and his team appreciate that communication is important and that having a network of professionals at their fingertips via IG Wealth Management is integral to providing a comprehensive plan for families.
“Financial planning is a lot more than just numbers there is a lot of emotion that goes into this too,” Darcy says. “It’s a key part of financial planning, making sure that families are taken care of. The communication piece is key. If there are communication issues, the numbers really don’t matter.”
Understanding Family Needs, Supporting Family Plans
With the IG Living Plan™, Darcy and his team are able to create a detailed financial plan that is adaptable. As life changes occur, so too will aspects of a family’s financial plan. With regular reviews and updates, plans can stay on track and financial goals can be met. By looking at a family’s financial picture in its entirety, Darcy can help clients better plan for the future. He understands the importance of family and sticks close to his roots despite moving away from his home town.
“I’m originally from Quadra Island off the east coast of Vancouver Island,” Darcy explains. “I decided in 2001 that I was going to move to a big city. I moved further east to Calgary and attended the University of Calgary. I completed an undergraduate in Urban Studies. I visit BC every chance I get, though my wife Kim and I have a young son who is keeping us busy.”
Running around the house to stay on top of life with a newborn is only natural for Darcy, who leads an active outdoor life and is a member of the Bow Valley Harriers running club and involved with the MitoCanada Foundation.
“When I moved to Calgary in first year university, I joined the cross-country running team in the fall,” explains Darcy. “Ever since then I’ve been running fairly seriously, less competitively today than I used to - but I did run competitively both cross-country and in track and field. After graduation I moved into longer distance running and have completed 12 marathons now. I’ve run in marathons as far east as Chicago, Philadelphia and Ottawa. Running, family and work keep me busy but I also enjoy the mountains to the west. We go hiking, skiing, and trail running in the summer. It’s an hour drive to the mountains so this is a big part of why we call Calgary home.”
MitoCanada is an organization that was formed in 2010 by a group of mitochondrial disease patients, their family and friends, and with the support of dedicated medical professionals. The organization exists to provide support and information to improve the quality of life and sense of community for patients coping with mitochondrial diseases. As a member of Team Mito, Darcy has been able to use his love of sport to raise funds and awareness for MitoCanada.
“We’ve done a couple of Guinness world record attempts and I am a world record holder for fastest marathon for a linked team,” explains Darcy. “There were 10 of us all tied together, running in a marathon to raise funds for charity. We raised over $100,000. I also participated in another world record attempt to raise funds for the greatest distance run on a treadmill in 24 hours. With 12 of us on that team, we took shifts to run as fast as we could over a 24-hour period.”
Running is Darcy’s passion, but so is the work and future of his industry. Financial services are entering a new era where accessibility and the ease of doing business is at the forefront of innovation and the way of the future.
“I’m really excited about where the industry is going in general,” Darcy says. “Everything is starting to go a little more digital. We have a new online portal for clients to view but on top of that we have a new back-end system which means that we can take care of all kinds of forms digitally now. If you’re in Edmonton and I’m in Calgary, we don’t necessarily have to travel to get things done. We can have face to face meetings online and sign documents electronically – it changes everything. It changes the way banking has been done for years. Now we’re finally to the point where we can do some things from anywhere in the world.”
Trademarks, including IG Wealth Management, are owned by IGM Financial Inc. and licensed to subsidiary corporations. This 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. Darcy Bell is solely responsible for its content. For more information on this topic or any other financial matter, please contact an IG Wealth Management Consultant.
April Potter is a veteran writer with expertise in financial services including nearly 15 years in debt restructuring. April has written for multiple online publications on a variety of subjects and offers a range of social media. Also a painter, her background in finance is balanced by her artistic endeavors.
Darcy Bell, CFP
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Investors Group Financial Services Inc.