- ANNE POTTER
DAVID STEVENS, CFP®Senior Executive Financial Consultant, IG Wealth Management, Medicine Hat, AB.
“Raising the bar on your financial future – investing in you.”
Senior Executive Financial Consultant, David Stevens is an award-winning, gold-standard, Financial Planner with a history of working with business owners, professionals, and people seeking a better financial future. David and his team are specialized in the art of Financial, Retirement & Goal Planning, Investment Strategies, Risk Management, Business Succession, Tax and Wealth Management.
After attending college and subsequently volunteering as a missionary for two years in the United States, David got his start working in the restaurant industry. He married young at age 22 and has always had a “knack for numbers”. Ultimately, David knew that working in finance was the right fit for him, so he decided to apply for jobs within financial institutions.
Early in his career, David made many sacrifices to get ahead. He dedicated himself to learning as much as he could – as soon as he could. His efforts were rewarded when he was hired by TD Bank as a Financial Planner in 2011. David’s drive to succeed helped him to move up the ranks at TD very quickly, impressing supervisors and colleagues alike. David was recognized as one of TD Wealth’s top 50 Financial Planners in Canada and received TD’s “MERIT Award” on three separate occasions - a distinction based on a combination of customer satisfaction surveys, quality of financial planning and business results.
“Traditionally people would stay in their roles at the bank for a lot longer than I did,” explains David. “I was continually moving up and getting promoted. I pushed to get my investment licensing as well as other specialty licensing in pursuit of my CFP® designation, which I later obtained in 2015.”
Financial education has always been important to David; he has always been interested in the pursuit of financial knowledge. In addition to his professional licenses, he has developed an interest in the digital side of his business and evolving his practice to embrace new technologies.
“I’m always trying to find a way to be able to use new technology,” says David. “It’s important to advance in order to better help clients and to make my practice run more smoothly and efficiently as well.”
A Client-Centric Approach – Do the Right Thing
David admits that building a client base organically took time and getting to where he is today involved a lot more than just finding the right clients to develop his business.
“I was willing to do things that the average person might not do,” explains David. “For example, studying on top of working a 10-hour day. I did everything I could to better prepare myself for the things that life throws our way so that I would be better equipped to help clients do the same. I found that I was able to succeed because I genuinely cared about people and wanted to see them do well. I was always more concerned about what I could do to better a client’s situation than I was concerned about personal gain. My objective has always been – if you do the right thing for a client, the universe will take care of you.”
Eventually David’s client-centric approach to wealth management would steer him away from working within a banking institution. Making the tough decision to leave, David wanted to work in an environment where the focus would be more aligned with his approach – and less aligned with metrics.
“I noticed that the bank I was working for was going in a direction that was not in line with how I wanted to care for clients,” explains David. “At times I felt as if the business was running my practice instead of vice versa. My role was more reactive than it was proactive. To me, it felt like I owed much more back to clients. It did not happen overnight; it was gradual and slow over time. I realized that I had to make some sort of transition and began looking for a place that would be a better fit. I also wanted to make sure my expectations were realistic and that clients could have the level of service I wanted to provide.”
David’s expectation that clients have a high level of communication with their Advisor was not only realistic but very much in line with his next career move. In 2019 he joined IG Wealth Management, leaving his tenure with TD behind to pursue his client service goals.
“It was definitely a stressful and tough time,” says David. “I had a huge client following and a sense of accomplishment knowing I would be able to enhance services and offer clients more while hopefully also reducing their costs.”
Moving clients from one institution to another requires a lot of faith and confidence for an advisor. David is thankful for the smooth transition he experienced, crediting the strength of client relationships for the ease of the changeover.
“I guess you truly understand how much clients value your service and value what you do when something like this happens,” adds David. “For some of them it wasn’t even a matter of thinking twice – they trusted my judgement and wanted to stick with me regardless of where I was going. Clients recognize that I’m not like any other advisor they’ve dealt with and it’s really touching to know that the long hours and everything I’ve given up by putting clients first has really paid off.”
A Future with IG Wealth Management
With IG David can offer a wholistic approach to wealth management. In his new role he has also made enhancements to his advice on a wide variety of financial concerns.
"Not only can I offer the best of myself – I can also offer the best specialists within my practice,” explains David. “With outside support, I’m able to build my practice in a different way than I envisioned 2-3 years ago. I have been able to bring lawyers and internal accountants into the mix and make the advice that clients receive that much more valuable and accurate. I can be more definitive on strategies a client should take regarding estates, succession planning or a professional corporation and tax strategies. When the market gets turned on its head as we have recently seen, it’s important to remain in contact with clients and offer them a deeper level of investment planning to help them meet their immediate and future needs."
When times are “not so good” it is important to keep those long-term goals in mind. David helps clients resist the urge to make financial decisions that could be regretted later.
“I believe this is when and where an Advisor can truly show their value,” adds David. “It is great to be there for a client when times are good, but it is essential to be there when times are not so good to show them that their long-term investment goals and plans are still viable. I have always based the financial plans that I create for clients on more than just chasing a return. The foundation of our relationship is that I understand their long-term goals. To me, it is always great to have solid returns but that cannot be all that we are focusing on. When we set our clients up to pay attention to just the return on investment, they may start to make decisions that are not in their best interest because they are “chasing the return” instead of chasing their goals. Warren Buffet once said, “The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.” – I like this advice.”
Community, Family, and the Financial Plan
In his community and with other members of his team, David has sponsored free outdoor movies to the public during the summer months in past years. His team also gives back to their community by donating and working closely with the YMCA. David is also a member of the Kinsmen Club of Medicine Hat.
“By dealing with the YMCA we are able to give back to those who have fallen on hard times,” says David. “We may not be making financial plans for them, but this is our way to reach out to them and touch their lives.”
David and his family do a lot with their church in Medicine Hat and like to stay involved with church activities. David’s family also enjoys waterskiing and wakeboarding and have purchased a used boat to spend their summers on the water.
“My wife and I have two children, a 12-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter whom we adopted 2 years ago,” says David. “We were foster parents in our area for 8 years and were blessed to have looked after 30 children over that time, recently we decided to take step back and focus even more on our own children. Foster parenting was a great blessing for us because it gave us the ability to experience what life would be like as a large family, it was difficult to say good-bye to those you cared for, but very fulfilling. Fostering gave us an even greater appreciation for what we have – our family. Patience’s is a valuable feature as a parent, and we are always committed to doing what we can to help others – even when things may be out of our hands. Like investing, sometimes you cannot control the day-to-day outcomes in the market – so a plan focusing on your long-term goals, all while remaining patient and flexible is extremely important. As a foster parent you do not control the decision making for the children you care for, so you focus on helping each child plan for their own journey of life and hope that your time with them left a lasting, positive impact.”
David’s son’s athletic pursuits feature prominently in Stevens family life. Excelling as a RASC Team soccer player means many tournaments, practices, and games to attend. Indoor soccer has also made the sport more of a year-round activity than a seasonal one for his son. As a couple David and his wife like to go on regular date nights which he says, “maintains a healthy balance between the chaos of life and a married relationship - keeping the two of us intact.” David and his wife also ensure that they and their children spend a lot of time with extended family members whenever they can.
“It’s important to spend time with and enjoy the people who brought you into the world and who will be with you through thick and thin,” says David of his parents and in-laws. “We do a lot of things with our extended family, including my siblings and my wife’s siblings. We believe having a strong family foundation helps facilitate the discovery of personal goals.”
Multi-Generational Financial Planning
David knows that tough conversations about life and death are an important part of the financial planning process for many clients. Despite the need for things like life insurance and a will, he says that some people have preconceived notions about working with a financial advisor and investing in the products that they offer.
“Financial goals can be multi-generational,” explains David. “But it can be challenging at times to work with multiple members of a family. Of course, we try to focus on the future, and it has come up a lot more with the Covid-19 pandemic. People are thinking about making sure everything is set up appropriately just in case something should happen to them. Multigenerational and estate planning tends to be a good portion of the business I do with business owners, professional corporations, doctors, and lawyers. I find that most professionals understand that we provide them with a complete, in-depth, and well-explained plan. We provide them with a direction where in the past they may have dealt with someone who only answered a portion of the questions they asked. We find that we are dealing with high-income earners who are unsure of what the future looks like other than the fact that they know it’s important to invest and put money away.”
David believes in making sure that clients understand how their families will be well taken care of. He develops a plan that involves investment strategy, tax strategy, and whatever it takes to ensure that things are done the “right way”. He also cautions people that when it comes to a financial plan – particularly a retirement plan – the right way takes time.
“Unfortunately, you can’t say – I’m thinking of retiring next month,” explains David. “A plan in many cases requires strategies that may need time to implement to get the best outcome. You cannot just sell off assets without understanding the repercussions. You will want to have tax plans in place especially if you own a business or a farm. It’s always best to be prepared.”
Raising the Bar – Putting Plans into Action
By making the switch to IG Wealth Management, David has elevated his personal brand and raised the bar within his own practice. In his first year he qualified for President’s Academy status making him one of the top 50 Advisors in Canada with IG Wealth Management. During his second year he made it to President’s Council and was among the top 100 within IG Wealth Management. His business has grown exponentially and so has has his team. David says that he is now attracting top tier staff to work with his clients exclusively.
“I think we’re a unique team, but I recognize that some people may expect all financial advisors to follow the same playbook,” explains David. “It’s important to keep an open mind when we seek advice about our money. Once you have found someone you trust, it’s important to listen to and take into consideration the recommendations they make because they are offering them to better your situation. It’s important to act on advice you trust sooner rather than later. Over time I’ve learned that no one wants to wait too long to put a good financial plan into action. We want our clients to experience a high level of enthusiasm – and we hope that shows.”
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. David Stevens is solely responsible for its content. For more information on this topic or any other financial matter, please contact an IG Wealth Management Consultant. Trademarks, including IG Wealth Management, are owned by IGM Financial Inc. and licensed to its subsidiary corporations.
Anne Potter is a veteran writer with expertise in financial services.
Anne has written for multiple online publications on a variety of subjects.
David Stevens, CFP®
Senior Executive Financial Consultant
Investors Group Securities Inc.
1324 Southview Dr SE,
Medicine Hat, AB T1B 4E7
Bus. Mobile 403-928-4545
Office Assistant 587-914-2424