- SUZEN FROMSTEIN
TAGE CAWLEY, BBA, PFP® SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT & BRANCH MANAGER, RAYMOND JAMES LTD. EDMONTON, AB
“Rescuing Oppressed Brokers From The Banks”
Tage Cawley, Senior Vice President and Branch Manager at Raymond James Ltd. in Edmonton is on a personal mission to, “Rescue oppressed brokers from the banks.” Although this remark was made tongue in cheek, it is rooted in reality.
“Often, bank Advisors and Planners are guided into what to say and what products to sell. Perhaps more importantly, at the banks the clients are not the Advisor’s clients, the person they have a relationship with. They are the bank’s clients. We have a very different business model here at Raymond James,” Tage says.
Raymond James never pressures its Advisors to buy any specific products. “Another thing that sets us apart is Raymond James Advisors own their own book of business. Should one of our Advisors decide to leave, we wish them well and he or she takes their clients with them. That’s how we demonstrate that we respect our Advisors as professionals, as business owners, and as people working hard at helping clients achieve their financial goals and dreams. Part of that respect is also having a better grid, or payout, than the banks,” Tage adds.
As Branch Manager, Tage doesn’t focus on acquiring new clients but still has a few friends and family back in B.C. he continues to advise. “My main job is to add value and help our Advisors build their businesses. This includes developing and hosting large and small client-facing events. My team organizes these events, absorbs most of the costs, and does most of the marketing. All of this is in an effort make life easier for our Advisors, help them help their existing clients, and bring in new business.”
As part of his role is educational, Tage is committed to exposing Raymond James Advisors to what’s going on out there, generating ideas, and providing education on a wide variety of subjects that are both product and life-focused.
Past speakers have included industry insiders and specialists and a variety of non-industry professionals including a sleep therapist, a nutritionist, an ergonomics specialist, and marketing and social media experts. “I like to think that our holistic approach is unique in the financial services space here in town,” Tage adds.
Management expert, Tom Peters, encourages managers to spend part of everyday walking around the office, listening to, and connecting with Advisors, colleagues, and support staff. Peters called this approach Management by Walking Around (MBWA).
“I am big on MBWA and face-to-face contact and this approach is consistent with my commitment to make our branch the best place to work in the Edmonton financial community. I can’t build relationships if the only things I do is send emails or let my calls go to voicemail. I build relationships by solving problems, acting like a sounding board, listening to ideas, reducing downtime, stick handling problems, and giving Advisors the tools they need to help them help themselves and their clients.”
A 20 + Year Industry Commitment
Tage grew up on a farm in the north Okanagan. His interest in finance and investing was aroused when he had his first paying job, selling eggs from the family’s road side stand. He was only in kindergarten when this began.
“A dozen eggs cost 25 cents. My parents allowed me to keep 12 cents for every dozen eggs I sold and this is where I learned about commission splits. The highlight of my week was going to the bank, depositing my earnings, and updating my passbook. When I had enough money saved, I invested in Canada Savings Bonds.”
When he grew up, Tage earned a Marketing Diploma from Okanagan University College in 1993, and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from the University of the Fraser Valley (major in Management minor in Finance) in 1996. One of his co-op placements was with one of the big five banks which kick-started his 20+-year love affair with the financial services industry.
During his University years, Tage spent three years in a marketing role at a local Credit Union. After graduation, he spent the next 4+ years as an Investment Executive at one of the big banks. He then spent almost 16 years in a senior role at a global, full service, investment banking and financial services company.
“Although interesting work and getting to work with some great people there over the years, things changed. That’s when I decided to switch to Raymond James, which is as far removed from the culture at the bank as I could get,” Tage adds.
When he joined Raymond James Edmonton in 2015, there were 22 total employees at the branch. Under his leadership, this has more than doubled in under five years. Tage is very proud of the fact that his branch consistently receives high marks in annual internal satisfaction surveys.
Putting the “Fun” Into Finance
“Building community and having fun together is a large part of my holistic approach. For example, during normal times, on the last Friday of the month, the entire office meets in the boardroom to have lunch together, share a few stories, and socialize together.”
“Our internal team building events are also fun. Past initiatives have included curling, renting race cars, and laser tag. The fun continues with our external events and sponsorship's. For example, over the past year, we’ve hosted 350 clients and their families at Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes in conjunction with Telus World of Science. This travelling display includes more than three hundred artifacts, costumes and props from eighty years of Marvel Studios history in movies and comics,” Tage adds with a smile.
There is no such thing as a typical day. In 'non COVID' days, Tage likes to get his work out in early and then come home to help get the kids ready for school. Then, he heads to the office. “When I get in I’m usually greeted with a line-up of people outside of my office door. It’s good that the Advisors and their teams know I respect confidentiality, see me as a problem-solver, confidante, and friend and appreciate my open door policy. It makes me happy knowing that I can solve problems and reduce stress for my Advisors and their teams. Everything I do is designed to help them professionally and personally.”
Up Close & Personal
Since relocating from Abbotsford, B.C., to Edmonton in 2009, Tage and his wife, Kim, have fallen in love with the city and all that the Alberta lifestyle affords. He spends his non-work hours with Kim running around town acting as taxi drivers for their four young kids (two girls, two boys) or cleaning up after their numerous pets. If he isn’t too exhausted after that he’ll try to squeeze in a game of hockey or baseball with his buddies.
In terms of giving back, Tage runs the Edmonton Investment Industry Charitable Poker Tournament every year. For one fun-filled night, 100+ Advisors and wholesalers get together and raise $10K for charity. If you are interested in participating in this annual event, simply email Tage at Tage.Cawley@raymondjames.ca. The event sells out every year. Tage also coaches his kids hockey, t-ball and lacrosse.
As a last word, Tage says, ““It is my goal to have the best branch in town. I don’t hire or hang out with anyone who doesn’t have the right attitude. In fact, I’ve turned away million dollar producers because they are not the right fit. I never get tired of hearing that people like and want to come to work, even when they are having a bad 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 Career Guides Category.
Tage Cawley, BBA, PFP
Senior Vice President & Branch Manager
Raymond James Ltd.
Suite 2300 – Scotia Place Tower 1
10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3R8