CHRIS MARTIN, CIM, FEA, at Friesen Capital Management with Richardson Wealth, Calgary, Alberta
“Our professional network brings absolute clarity to any challenge,
giving families valuable options to work with.”
For Chris Martin, CIM, FEA, Wealth Advisor, Portfolio Manager, and Investment Advisor at Friesen Capital Management with Richardson Wealth, going to work each day goes far beyond providing the best advice and strategies for his clients. There’s an intense purpose driving him to protect families that was sparked through his own personal experience.
“At 17 I was playing competitive hockey and life was great,” says Chris. “Then, my parents were the victims of fraud at the hands of a trusted family friend and lost a significant portion of their net worth. It was a traumatizing experience. Even at 17, I could feel the stress and burden our family was dealing with at home. There were conversations around whether they could retire now, including the lifestyle changes they would have to make after the profound impact of this deceit.”
Analytical by nature, Chris took the event as a motivator, empowering himself to learn everything he could to prevent similar financial harm for other families. “Right from the start of my career, this situation compelled me to share proactive advice families can trust and use to take action,” says Chris. “Still today, protecting our client families and their wealth is so important to me.”
In addition to that driving purpose, Chris takes a distinct approach. “We specialize in filling in the gaps to ensure our client families optimize their financial and non-financial worlds, never overlooking any opportunity. We act as a coordinator, working cohesively with a multidisciplinary team of experts. Our experts are not only at the top of their field, they must also work well with others on behalf of our client families,” says Chris. “No longer does the Wealth Advisor have to be the sole expert. Our job is to ensure our client families have all the information and answers they need to make well-informed decisions.”
Having that multidisciplinary team ensures the meticulous management of all aspects of the client’s wealth. “When we have strong connections, an incredible network, and all this expertise behind us to support these families, we always know we’ve done our best. We’ve checked off every box and we’ve provided the very best possible wealth management solutions, including proactive strategies people can use to make a substantial impact in their lives,” says Chris. “We’re proud to support families through the specific challenges they face. In doing this, we want to ensure our team can bring absolute clarity to any challenge and give families something valuable to work with.”
While Chris and his client families are thriving as part of the successful Friesen Capital Management at Richardson Wealth today, his early financial advising experience wasn’t exactly easy. In 2007/08, at just 22, he took a position with Edward Jones. “I knocked on doors for three years asking business owners and homeowners what type of financial advice they were receiving in that market environment,” says Chris. “You can just imagine the stressful conversations I was having as that financial collapse was occurring.”
On one of these visits, Chris had another memorable conversation. “I asked one individual when she last talked to her Advisor in light of everything happening out there,” says Chris. “She hadn’t heard from her Advisor. Yes, it was a scary time, but that’s when Advisors most need to put themselves out there. In this, another traumatizing financial event, I wanted to ensure people were being proactive and receiving investment advice they could act on that would impact their wealth immediately and in the future.”
That protective spirit propelled success in the early stages of Chris’ career. “I had to put myself out there, I always wanted to get all the good advice out to families that I could share,” he says. “I’ve been through this kind of stress. I’m empathetic but also experienced. I can sift through the noise. In all that door knocking, l also dealt with some rejection. That’s where I really learned how important it is never to assume and always keep asking questions. I’ve always wanted to understand the biggest challenges for each family, and that’s what we do here today.”
Today is an exciting time. The Friesen Capital Management team is navigating the rapidly evolving wealth management industry in some truly innovative ways. “I really feel the days of being an Investment Advisor and selling an investment product that is truly the commodity, these are table stakes that families expect,” says Chris. “And while clients should expect good money management, the most significant impact we can make is to guide our clients during market events. We’re able to spot their biases, structure a portfolio that supports their essential and aspirational goals, and help them avoid destructive behaviours through market timing and selecting investments based on their track history.”
There’s great advantage in being cared for by a strong team where each player brings specialized expertise to each component of the client’s wealth management needs. “Whether it’s helping them make intelligent decisions about their money, legally mitigating taxes, taking care of their heirs, protecting their wealth from being unjustly taken through litigation, creditors or divorce, and/or magnifying their charitable giving strategy, there’s a member on our team dedicated to that concentration,” says Chris.
“Our families are the CEOs in this process, casting out the vision around where they want to go,” he adds. “My job is that of a “Family CFO”, asking the questions, understanding where the gaps are, then bringing together the right specialists to present the client with viable options and solutions to achieve their desired outcome.”
Each client, including their future generations, are assigned a client service specialist dedicated as their first point of contact to ensure that they are experiencing a “wow” client service. Client service administrators also support the team’s marketing and compliance requirements and set up meetings. “Our core team here can serve our families for any need that comes up on a daily basis,” says Chris.
Chris also leads and coordinates with an expert network of trusted professionals. “This is a group of individuals we believe are the best of the best experts in any area of need we’ve highlighted. Whether it’s tax, succession, or cashflow planning, a charitable giving strategy, or the protection of family wealth, we know this expert network can handle all the technical challenges our families might have.”
It’s that “authentic collaboration” that Chris sees as essential today and for the future. “As we increasingly bring on more new families, we’re seeing that they’ve been working with one trusted professional who’s driving the majority of the planning initiatives for the family,” he says. “However, we’re working with many moving parts where each can influence the decision-making for these families. It’s so important to have the right people around the table together so everyone can collaborate to create the best outcomes and strategies for each family.”
The families who depend on Chris and his team tend to sit within three ideal candidates: families making $1 million-plus in household income; those with a net worth of $10 million-plus; and business owners generating $10 million-plus in annual revenue or is approaching one of these three benchmarks. “It’s exciting to work with these families generating wealth for multiple generations. It’s not simply having the strategies or structures in place that make for a successful transition. We are seeing more families share their family values and experiences so that the next generation can be stewards of their family’s wealth,” says Chris. “Most of these families have great complexity and don’t necessarily know exactly where they should focus in their big financial picture. They really gravitate to the quality in advice and scale of expertise we’re bringing to the conversation.”
Regardless of the family, Chris takes the time to ask questions that often reveal common concerns. For instance, a family might have worked hard to build a successful business and go through a sales transaction at tens of millions of dollars. They may have concerns that are difficult to flesh out, such as how their wealth will transfer and what will come of it when they’re no longer in control of it. “It can take a lot of discussion and questions for these concerns to surface, even when they loom large,” says Chris, adding that in these cases, a structured succession and estate plan can ensure client desires are met and provide peace of mind. “These become intentional conversations about what keeps people up at night, that’s important,” says Chris.
The fulfillment in providing such security has Chris looking to expand Friesen Capital Management’s collaborative service model to reach more families on a national scale. “COVID challenged my thinking and I’ve realized I don’t have to be in a certain city in order to work with the families I can support,” he says. “This idea of placing a supportive expert network around a family is attractive and we have proven it’s efficacy here in Alberta. They want to know with certainty that they’re getting proactive advice. They want advice that eliminates surprises. Our consultative process ensures we’re looking at every possibility. I can’t wait to see what we’re set to do on a national scale.”
Natalie Noble’s love of writing stems from her passion for hearing and sharing people’s stories. Over the years she has written for various business, real estate, and agriculture publications. At the heart of her work is a desire to continuously learn and connect.
Chris Martin, CIM, FEA
Wealth Advisor, Portfolio Manager, Investment Advisor
Friesen Capital Management • Richardson Wealth Limited
525 – 8th Avenue S.W. • Suite 4700
Calgary AB, T2P 1G1
403 776 6220