PORTFOLIO MANAGER and SENIOR INVESTMENT ADVISOR, Michael Sanson, found his way into Financial Services after graduating Wilfred Laurier University. Obtaining his Honours Bachelor of Business Administration in Specialized Finance in 2002, he began working as a Financial Advisor in 2006. A passion for business runs in his family - his parents were entrepreneurs. Michael and his brother once considered taking over the family business, however, Michael eventually found his true calling in managing the finances of others.
When Michael and his brother realized that they were going to sell the family business rather than run it, he learned a valuable lesson that would carry forward into his own practice as an advisor – know the value of your investment and don’t become emotionally attached.
“In retrospect, I wish that I’d had a dedicated, multi-faceted team to look out for my best interests while we were selling our family business,” says Michael. “The biggest problem in that process was that nobody was talking to each other. The accountant was filing tax returns after the fact and everybody was working in their own separate silos. Had a true team effort backed the sale of our family business, over a million dollars in taxes would’ve been saved. So, I built my team at Guided Wealth Management with that in mind. I adopted the philosophy that being a wealth management guide means walking side by side. A guide doesn’t walk 10 kilometres ahead, a guide sticks with you and points things out to you while you’re going through the process together.”
Consequently, Michael’s team-centrist approach to wealth management means working in tandem. By sticking together, his team ensures that clients can benefit from investment opportunities while not missing the most crucial steps in addressing a complete plan that includes investments, tax, insurance and estate planning.
One-Stop Financial Services
With almost 15 years in the industry, Michael spent nearly a decade of them hand-picking the team he works with today. Every member of Michael’s team has been working with him for a minimum of 5-10 years. As a result, Guided Wealth Management has become a respected fullservice provider of financial services including; investment, estate, tax, and insurance planning services for business owners and high-net-worth clients alike. Clients can count on a specialist for every need – consider it one-stop financial services for your needs.
“Every Advisor in this office has gone through a similar experience,” explains Michael. “Members of my team have watched friends or family members lose money because of bad planning. Either someone got caught up in the moment and made a bad investment or, as in my experience, worked with an accountant who didn’t provide tangible ideas as to how we could structure our business to maximize the return upon our eventual sale. My team looks out for the best interests of our clients by understanding our clients' needs and situations, and by having the right expertise in place. We can present opportunities that would have been missed by investment-only Advisors.
Financial Services – an Early Start, an Ongoing Quest for Knowledge
Michael was drawn to to the financial services industry from a young age. At 18, he was already trading on the stock market and learning lessons about managing money. He remembers “interrogating” his mother’s financial advisors before getting his start in the industry.
“One of my mom’s Advisors brought me down to a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder’s meeting back in 2004 because I demonstrated a keen interest,” says Michael. “Not long after that, I joined Berkshire Securities where I was making 300 calls a day. A year after I joined, Manulife Securities purchased Berkshire.”
Michael is constantly pursuing knowledge to stay ahead of the curve. He has earned the designations of Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute® (FCSI®); Chartered Investment Manager® (CIM®); and Certified International Wealth Manager (CIWM) along with several other certifications.
“If you’re not keeping ahead of the curve, it can be a very challenging environment,” says Michael. “Knowledge is vital if you’re going to do things right. Information comes from many sources. It’s not just reading about financial concepts. It’s about reading and finding who’s doing it the best and learning from them. It’s about implementing plans that have worked incredibly well for other people and spotting those opportunities for your clients.”
Family, Community and Giving Back
Managing finances is a big part of Michael’s life, but he acknowledges that a work-life balance is important too. Outside of the office he and his wife try to live a healthy lifestyle. His mother and sister live in Ontario while his father and brother have moved to Costa Rica. He travels to Costa Rica regularly to visit them and enjoy a vacation while spending time being an uncle to his brother’s children.
When it comes to community involvement, Michael and his team are all involved in their own ways. A member of the Mississauga Board of Trade, Michael is also an avid gardener and enjoys spending time outside hiking or lounging with his wife Sophie.
“We support the local food banks and children’s charities every Christmas,
and throughout the year my team donates their time and money to support local charities they are connected with,” says Michael. “We all get involved in different ways. It is important to be a member of a community. No person is an island. How is life enjoyable if you’re just living it for yourself?”
The Art of Earning Trust
Michael believes that earning a client’s trust begins with a clear understanding of their current situation and their financial goals. Providing the right advice for the situation is essential to helping them execute the right plan for their money.
“If you don’t understand where you are and what you are trying to achieve during the planning process,” adds Michael. “You’re planning in the dark. Once we understand the case thoroughly, we can prepare a plan that is easily understood, show the back-up plans to address opportunities and threats, and use a team of experts to address various concerns for investing, taxes, estate and mitigating the risks. Of course, having the knowledge base and designations to execute your plan is paramount.”
“We are in frequent communication with our client’s accountants, we have insurance advisors. I am a discretionary portfolio manager. Everyone brings something unique to the table,” explains Michael. “Typically, in a client meeting there is one quarterback who is the advisor, but this advisor will draw on other experts from within the office (and outside experts) to bring a holistic plan to life. Our approach has always been a more conservative investment mandate. We want to participate when the market goes up, but we try to hold on and preserve capital when the market goes down. As an advisor you must give clients the tools to trust you, you can’t just ask for it.”
For Michael’s advisory team it’s easy to relate to business owners and understand what drives the decisions they make.
“Each one of the Advisors in this office is a business owner,” adds Michael, “so, we know what entrepreneurs are going through. We understand how hard it is to invest in your business and take it to the next level – or avoid the risk because you’re afraid to lose. Our business clients appreciate that we educate them about their opportunities and we guide them in their decision making.”
Technology, the Future, and Communication
Technology makes Guided Wealth Management well-equipped for scaled growth in the future. Communication is essential during times of crisis and beyond. Michael’s team excels in both regards.
“We take full advantage of technology,” Mike says. “A lot of our work is done with technology and not face-to-face. Our CRM system is centralized so it can be viewed by anyone on the team at any time. Client meeting notes are always accessible so that any member of our team can be prepared for a meeting with a client they may not have dealt with before. We’ve also been cloud-based for 4 years and we use screen-sharing technology. Our clients are able to schedule their own meetings. We send out a lot of correspondence and education resources.”
During this time of dealing with COVID-19, Michael understands that his clients may be faced with an overwhelming amount of information.
“Ultimately, it's our job to tell clients what information is actually relevant to them because it changes by the minute,” he explains. “Younger clients may be seeing a generational opportunity to invest right now. Older clients may be concerned about their retirement portfolio and market challenges. Business owners may be faced with the fear of a decrease in demand after the pandemic ends. What it comes down to is looking after the client’s best interests, patience, and open communication. Clients need to keep their advisors abreast of life changes and changing goals or priorities. Advisors need to make sure they review, follow up, and have an interactive relationship with clients. Essentially, if we’re not communicating well – there’s no planning being done.”
A Team of Specialists Clients Can Count On
Over time Michael has learned that financial wellness is about feeling in control and taking an active role in the process with the guidance of a trusted professional team. Advisory services are only as strong as the team providing them and clients need to be able to count on their Advisors to provide the most advantageous strategy in every area of focus.
“One truth I’ve learned is that all people have a common problem,” explains Michael. “Whether it’s business owners, professionals, retirees, or new investors – too many Canadians have felt a loss of control of their finances and have felt helpless during the planning process at some point in their lives. A loss of confidence can shape how we view working with an advisor. My team of specialized experts can assist in every planning step from strategy formulation to implementation. We follow a centralized approach to ensure that we meet all client needs with one point of contact. By helping our clients see the big picture and understand all of their options, we enable them to feel confident in taking an active decision-making role in the process and bettering their financial wellbeing. My team takes pride in our client-centred, strategy-based advisory service and we know that you can count on us to address many areas of focus that reach beyond traditional broker services.”
We look forward to seeing you soon,
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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.
Michael Sanson, CIM® CIWM® FCSI® - Portfolio Manager | Senior Investment Advisor | Manulife Securities Incorporated Direct Line: 905-467-5077 | Office: 905-829-6440 | Branch: 905-822-4488 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Manulife Securities Incorporated
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