- APRIL POTTER
Andrew Bay BA (Econ), RRC®, CFP® Executive Financial Consultant, Bay & Associates IG Private Wealth
“Plan by design, plan with confidence – discover a truly
synchronized approach to protect and build your wealth.”
Executive Financial Consultant Andrew Bay has a personal philosophy to “plan by design” and deal with finance holistically. His risk reduction, capital preservation and tax reduction approach suits engineering professionals and incorporated individuals working within highly specialized fields. For more than 20 years, Andrew has served countless professionals, developing a strong reputation and experiencing a surge in demand for his valued advice.
Prior to beginning his career in financial services, Andrew obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in economics, from the University of British Columbia. After graduation he relocated to Seattle, Washington and got his start in the financial services industry.
“My financial planning career began in a small boutique firm called Penn Mutual out of Kirkland, Washington,” says Andrew. “I learned the ropes there as a young Canadian living in the United States. It was challenging to attract clients while I was young and inexperienced, but I learned a lot from that. Ultimately, my wife and I decided to move back to Canada, so I had to look for a new firm. I researched firms in the BC lower mainland and spoke with a friend’s father who was a director at IG Wealth Management.”
As a result of his conversation with IG, Andrew was both encouraged and convinced that the firm could offer him the training and mentorship he needed. Looking forward to the opportunity to build a long-term future in the industry, he decided to join IG.
“I was still relatively new to my career at the time,” explains Andrew. “Having good mentorship, leadership and educational opportunities was something I felt was really important while growing a practice. IG was offering more support than other financial services firms that I spoke with at the time. So, I started with IG and I’ve been with them ever since. My wife Kimberly and I have made a great life together, with our son Carson and daughter Taylor.”
While he has had continued success in the industry during the past few decades, Andrew says that it was about six years ago that his practice really began expanding across the province.
“We started out doing a lot of work with incorporated professionals – specifically engineers and engineering firms,” explains Andrew. “Our services started to spread out to include other professionals and I had to grow a bit of a team to handle the work, which has been great. About seven years ago I made the decision with my family to move our headquarters from Vancouver to Kelowna.”
The Benefits of Working with a Team
Andrew credits the success of his clients to the team-centric approach of his practice. He says that to do the tremendous job they do; it takes more than one person to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.
“We’re not just one person, we have a dedicated team,” says Andrew. “Everyone within our team is integral to supporting the needs of our clients. I may be the team lead, but I’m certainly not the star because we’re all equally important. Our clients wouldn’t have the level of success they have without the entire team.”
Andrew says that Bay & Associates clients welcome and embrace the assistance of a network of people working in their best interests, relying on accessibility as a cornerstone to meeting their financial needs.
“I think it’s reassuring for clients to be able to pick up the phone and reach a live person right away,” explains Andrew. “Regardless of which team member they reach, they’ll be assisted and supported immediately. We can guarantee adding value simply by promising a dedicated group of talented staff are available to them – especially today when many people are feeling so isolated. Beyond that is the frustration of being stuck on hold with financial institutions for hours on end trying to get answers to important and often time sensitive matters. People should have access to real people who can help them when they need it most. So, if the answer to fixing that problem means working with someone who has a team structure like ours – well, we’ve already proven that’s how things should be.”
Working with Engineering Professionals
Andrew has been affiliated with the Association of Consulting Engineers since 2001, serving British Columbia’s ACEC-BC’s member firms across the province. Andrew and his team cover advanced compensation arrangements, pension planning, group benefits, and individual wealth management.
Andrew admits that planning for engineers can be specialized work that requires expertise few planners might have.
“We ended up specializing with engineers early on,” says Andrew. “Many of them are incorporated and that requires a lot of corporate planning work – which requires a specific level of expertise. Engineers are generally quite technical, so they like to look at their numbers and have faith that a proper analysis has been done. We learned to do our homework and provide these clients a very in-depth analysis.”
Providing an in-depth analysis and ensuring that “due diligence” is complete for every client has proven to be a piece of cake for Andrew, who has always believed that it’s part of good decision making.
“Engineers are very good clients to work with because they require all of the facts and so they’re good at making decisions,” explains Andrew. “They’re also very focused on achieving personal goals in tandem with their professional goals. I really enjoy working in this segment of the market. While we don’t work exclusively with engineers anymore, we do work with likeminded professionally incorporated individuals. We assist a mix of physicians, engineers, dentists, and architects – a lot of the financial planning for these groups follows a similar structure.”
Andrew adds that while these professions are diverse, the income levels and financial needs of these professionals can be similar – especially while setting up family trusts, tax and estate planning. The skills he honed working with engineers have been transferred to his relationships with other professionals.
The Importance of Financial Literacy
One of the critical components of the work done at Bay & Associates is financial literacy. Andrew believes that financial literacy is a key component to successfully navigating changes in life.
“We have delivered over 200 corporate financial literacy workshops in over 80 companies,” says Andrew. “The workshops are primarily held at the workplace during breakfast or as a lunch and learn. We do a lot of group benefits for clients and it’s important for employees to have confidence in us and their own financial management skills.”
Andrew also includes a lot of financial educational materials for all ages on his website and social media. He believes it’s important for individuals to be in control of their own financial decision making and that extends to people in all stages of their lives.
“Even if someone cannot implement their financial plan without help from a firm like ours, they should have confidence in their financial decisions,” explains Andrew. “It’s important to us that the clients we work with have a good solid understanding of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”
Financial literacy is as important to Andrew at home as it is in the office. He and his wife are parents to two teenagers and the couple recently travelled to Ontario to deliver their eldest son to the University of Waterloo where he will pursue a degree in engineering. Andrew says that they have “raised savers” and this will help position his children to be free of student debt when they graduate from post-secondary school.
“Obviously they’ll have a little help from mom and dad, but they’ve got long term savings of their own and they make their own fiscally responsible decisions,” says Andrew. “And they’ve learned not to jump into situations in the future like buying their first house or car. I think as a parent if you can teach good money habits and a belief system early – you can feel good about how your kids deal with money and you know you’ve done a good job as they sail off into their twenties and thirties debt-free and with clearly defined financial goals.”
Community Support and Life Outside of the Office
In his spare time, Andrew is an avid fly fisherman, golfer, skier and rugby coach. However, charity and volunteerism are also close to his heart. He supports Alexandra House, the Alzheimer’s Society of BC, BC Cancer Foundation and Kelowna General Hospital Foundation. He is the Founding Sponsor of the Annual ACEC-BC Meritorious Achievement Award. Inside the office, through clients, he and his team are very supportive of grassroots initiatives.
“The IG Wealth Management planning teams support us across Canada if we have a particular cause in our local communities that we’d like to help,” explains Andrew. “Our team has been actively involved with the Alzheimer Society, the BC Cancer Foundation, and the Make A Wish Foundation. It’s been very rewarding. We’ve participated in a couple of 72-hour extreme makeovers in the lower mainland which was a lot of fun. Included was one for Semiahmoo House Society and one for Alexandra House, both located in White Rock.”
Andrew says that Bay & Associates is hoping to find an opportunity to do something similar in Kelowna but knows that it must be a realistic project.
“We’re a bunch of financial planners as you know,” adds Andrew. “So, we don’t necessarily have the skills to be operating heavy equipment or doing electrical work for a renovation project, but we still like to volunteer, pull up our sleeves and pull together to make something great happen.”
Growth, the Future and a Plan Designed with Confidence
Andrew says that his team has grown from two to five over time. He credits their continued growth and success to the fact that they are a great functioning team who also knows how to have a little fun.
“The type of planning that we do is comprehensive and holistic – meaning that we will handle almost all aspects of financial planning for our clients,” explains Andrew. “We do all of the tax planning, retirement planning, corporate planning and estate planning for our clients. We’re a full-service one stop shop. In order to do that effectively, I can’t do it alone. I have a great team of support staff and planners working with me to deliver the level of service that our clients have come to expect from us.”
The team at Bay & Associates takes a proactive approach with clients, they bring things clients need to know to their attention before they even realize they need to know about it.
“Clients know we’ve got our eyes on the ball,” says Andrew. “If there’s anything that needs to be changed or taken advantage of, we’re going to point that out. We pay attention and our clients are used to hearing from us several times a year. We reach out for regular reviews, updates on what’s happening in the markets – sometimes that’s just information, sometimes we need to take action.”
Andrew says that March 2020 is a perfect example of a crucial touchpoint with clients.
“When the pandemic started, we were on the phone to all of our clients to check in with them and make sure that they were ok,” Andrew explains. “We especially wanted to check in with our retired clients to make sure they were safe and to reassure them that we’re here to help and that everything would be fine with their plan. Some of our clients took this time as an opportunity to make a few strategic changes to their investments – taking advantage of market volatility in a proactive way. Regardless, we want our clients to know that whatever it is – we’re on it, we’re handling it and they don’t have to worry. Our main philosophy is to ensure that our clients are comfortable and have the confidence to know that we are handling “it” for them. We like to say, “plan by design” and this means planning for contingencies. So, if you’ve got a plan that has accounted for many different possibilities, you won’t need to worry about what will happen in the future – because you’ll always be prepared for it.”
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. Andrew Bay is solely responsible for its content. For more information on this topic or any other financial matter, please contact an IG Wealth Management Consultant. Mutual funds and investment products and services are offered through Investors Group Financial Services Inc.
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.
Andrew Bay, BA(Econ), CFP, RRC.
Executive Financial Consultant
1631 Dickson Avenue, Unit 600,
Kelowna, BC V1Y 0B5
250.762.3329 | 877.541.2255