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CARLO GAGLIARDI, Pl. Fin., CIM Financial Planner | Portfolio Manager, GQ Wealth Management Group with 3Macs, a division of Raymond James Ltd., Montreal, Quebec


“Finding your why is the first step in achieving your goals.”

One of the most important questions anyone can ask themselves is “why?”

It’s the question Carlo Gagliardi asks his clients to think about as they work towards their financial goals. “What is the client’s why,” says Carlo, Investment Advisor/Portfolio Manager at GQ Wealth Management Group, a part of Raymond James in Montreal. “Why are you putting money away? What’s your motivation to work with an advisor? We need to figure that out.”

Carlo discovered his own “why” a long time ago: his interest in becoming a financial planner goes back to his childhood. As one of four children growing up in a family with a stay-at-home mom, money was tight. His dad’s salary provided for the family, but at the end of the day, there wasn’t much left over. In those days, saving for retirement and financial planning was not on his parents’ radar.

“It upset me as I grew older that no one ever took time to explain to my dad, this is an RRSP, this is a GIC,” says Carlo. “Or, for example, having someone show my dad how putting away a small amount, say $50 a month, would help him build some wealth… but no one ever took the time to explain this to him until, and by the time I was old enough to help, it was too late. He was in his early seventies and retired.” Carlo vowed that he would do his best not to let that happen to others.

“I will always help anyone who wants to improve their situation. I want to make sure that somebody’s father or mother is given the information they need to make the right decisions with their finances. Not because they have a million dollars but because it’s the right thing to do. For me, that’s my why.”

For the next 25 years, Carlo worked as an advisor at a couple of bank-owned firms. As time went on, he realized the banks’ approach to financial planning was no longer matching his “why.” The focus was becoming more about sales and profits and less about helping people. When he was told to let a client go because her wealth didn’t match the bank’s threshold, he knew it was time for him to go too. It was a scary move, but thanks in large part to his wife’s strong support, Carlo knew it was the right one.

“You’re taking a leap of faith, hoping clients will follow you. If it doesn’t work, you are not earning a living anymore. It was her encouragement that pushed me to take the leap. She would say, ‘It’s not right what the bank is asking you to do. Your clients have been with you for a long time. I’m sure many will follow you if you decide to move to Raymond James.’ She was right.”

The trust Carlo had built with his clients led most of them to follow when he started a new practice as an independent advisor with Raymond James. And trust continues to be the cornerstone of the practice he shares now with partner Peter Quarles. They formed GQ Wealth Management in late 2019. Together with their Associate Portfolio Manager, Michael Slawaska, and sales assistant, Joelle Beaudet, they continue to focus on offering the best service/advice they can with the motto of “always doing the right thing for the client.”

Peter Quarles, Carlo Gagliardi & Michael Slawaska

Discovering your “why”

Carlo helps his clients discover their “why” by actively listening and having deeper conversations. Before they begin, Carlo and his clients need to agree that they will focus their energy and efforts on:

1. What they can control

2. What’s important to them

“In today’s world where information is available around the clock, it’s easy to get caught up with the ‘crisis of the day.’ This is why we keep bringing it back to what can we control and what’s important to them,” says Carlo. “There’s not much we can do about interest rate movements or geo-political issues. But we can control how we react to them.”

These deeper conversations help Carlo learn more about the client’s family, their occupation, and their recreation/hobbies – their “why?” – which could mean, for example, saving for their kids’/grandkids’ education, a career change, or a dream vacation. Then, Carlo helps them with the money aspect. “How are we going to help them achieve their goals?” Using this process helps Carlo and Peter’s clients remain focused on the objectives they set out to achieve.

What it really comes down to is getting rid of the noise. “Let’s focus on what we can control and take the noise out of the equation,” says Carlo. “It’s not overreacting to what’s going on in the markets or what the central bank says. It’s taking a step back and being patient. A lot of people think being patient is not doing anything. Sometimes, not reacting is the best course of action.”

That calm and patient approach has helped build a level of trust with clients that Carlo takes very seriously. And that goes beyond their finances. Sometimes, he says jokingly, they are more like psychologists. “If a client is having a hard time, we are here to listen. It’s a humbling feeling to know we’ve built this trust,” he says. “They can open up to us because we’ve got their back.”

Trust is everything

That’s something his clients say sets him apart. “From what my clients have been telling me over the years, they know I have their best interests at heart. They know they can trust me. And I take that very seriously. The best feeling in the world is if someone refers a friend or family member. What they’re doing is telling you they trust you. You’re doing the right things for us, and you’ll do the right thing for my child, grandchild, my nephew, my sister, my neighbour.”

Carlo also likes to do what’s right for his community. With two young children, he and his wife don’t have a lot of spare time, but when he can, Carlo still contributes to causes he cares about. His father passed away of Alzheimer’s in 2019, and since then, Carlo has been helping the Alzheimer’s Society of Montreal with their annual golf tournament. He supports Kids Help Phone, and he has also raised money for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society of Montreal by running half marathons. That’s something he intends to do again once the kids are older and he has more time to get back into training. `

One thing he also plans to do: remain focused on his “why.” For Carlo, that means helping clients discover their own “why” and enabling them to achieve whatever matters most to them. After nearly three decades in the industry, what matters most to Carlo is repaying the trust his clients have shown him by doing his best for them every single day.

“It doesn’t matter how long you do this. It’s been almost 30 years, but it’s a feeling that doesn’t go away,” says Carlo. “Actually, it gets better. It has nothing to do with the investments. Sure, you always hope every investment we purchase goes up 200 per cent. Clients are happy, you’re happy. But the best feeling in the world is when a client says, ‘I want you to look after my kids. If something happens to me, I know they’re in good hands.’ Nothing tops that.”

Janice Tuff is a professional writer and communicator who got her start in radio copywriting.

Three decades later, she continues to draw upon the valuable lessons learned in her radio days: grab your audience’s attention quickly and always tell an engaging tale.

Raymond James Ltd., Member - Canadian Investor Protection Fund.

Carlo Gagliardi, Pl. Fin., CIM

Financial Planner/Portfolio Manager

Raymond James GQ Wealth Management Group

1000 de la Gauchetière, Suite 2600

Montreal, Quebec, H3B 4W5

TF: 1-800-567-4465

Tel: 514-394-4634


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