- NATALIE NOBLE
DERRICK BLACK, Senior Wealth Advisor, The Black Financial Group, Wellington-Altus Private Wealth
"A crystal clear vision to building trust, providing transparency, and achieving results"
It’s rare to find, but sometimes we come across people who can turn our day right side up with a small gesture and a few words in mere moments. Derrick Black, Senior Wealth Advisor with The Black Financial Group at Wellington-Altus Private Wealth, has this gift. His daily interactions show a genuine care and interest in those around him. “In my line of work, we talk to people every day, and I’m often meeting with someone new who’s been referred to me for my advice and guidance. That’s always a bright spot in my day,” says Derrick. “It’s an endearing and humbling experience when clients are happy to introduce us to people like themselves. These relationships are really the core foundation we focus on developing.”
While that caring nature comes naturally to Derrick, seeing people face ongoing pandemic related challenges puts a spotlight on his priority to look out for others. “The last year has been hard on everyone,” he says. “I try to make each and every day better than the one before. Sometimes it’s a small change or simple gesture. If we start with the little things, it builds from there.”
Proudly born and raised in Sudbury, Derrick continues to live and work there. His love for the community, its surrounding beauty, and nearby amenities are clear to see, but he also serves clients across the country. “At The Black Financial Group, we cover a broad gamut in terms of the different types of businesses our clients run, but one thing stays true no matter what – we focus on trust as our number one concern,” says Derrick. “This is really what everything boils down to. Part of this work is being accountable to our clients day in and day out, being transparent, and making sure we’re crystal clear on what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. We work to make sure they get the results they need to meet all their goals.”
Since entering the wealth management business in 1998, in establishing The Black Financial Group, Derrick continues his people-centric focus. “We construct well diversified portfolios for them and design strategies that manage risk and perform well in always-evolving market environments,” says Derrick. “We really pride ourselves on getting to know our clients exceptionally well while digging deep to find out exactly what it is they need in life. We then use our expertise and experience to help people achieve not only what they need, but what they want in life. It’s very much focused on our clients, that’s where everything starts and ends with us.”
While strong portfolio planning and strategic investment execution are a big part of the job, Derrick places a priority on first gaining a strong understanding around what each client personally needs so his team can provide the best customized approach. “It’s about having a meaningful conversation. I need to know why they are coming to me and seeking our services. Often there’s a change, problem, or issue that’s come up,” says Derrick. “We then dive into the personal situation, including what they’re looking at achieving over time and what their family and household situation is like. Are there parents, young or older children depending on them? Do they run a business? Are they newly retired or have been for some time and are worried about outliving their funds? The dynamics and necessary approaches are very different between all of these situations.”
Approximately two-thirds of The Black Financial Group’s clients are current or former business owners and professionals, some already retired but many still operating. The other large portion are involved with medical institutions or larger bursaries and seek Derrick’s asset management services. “Each set of clients requires a different dynamic and that’s what we really hone in on for them at the individual level according to their unique needs,” he says. “We’re always working to provide a detailed strategy that continues to be customized and adjusted as needed over time. We can work with other trusted Advisors they may require such as their accountant or other professionals. This way we can cover quite a few bases for our clients from our central office.”
Being in the business and serving people for over two decades now, Derrick leans into the advantage his wealth of experience provides. “At this point, we see experiences that are similar to those we’ve supported people through before and can more easily identify strong solutions to challenges given our history,” he says. “We can bring all these decades of experience to the table for guidance. This also helps us better predict future needs we should prepare for along the way. Maybe it’s years down the road when they go to sell their business, maybe they’ll be setting up a trust for children in case something happens. These are some of the landmines we come across on people’s paths. It’s a fascinating tool and many clients find that experience and predictability illuminating as time goes on. We’re well prepared, and we’re working proactively rather than reactively.”
It’s a confidence developed as Derrick evolved with the rapidly changing industry. “Things have progressed substantially when we look at 2021 versus 2001 and back to 1981. Working through various market fluctuations, I’ve seen the value in alternative investments for my clients versus a standard stock or bond,” he says. “We incorporate different types of assets to reduce risk for their portfolio, because for most clients, at the end of the day the issue is not necessarily so emphasized on trying to make the most returns as it is on the preservation of their hard-earned capital. In times of uncertainty, we want their portfolio to continue to do well.”
It’s a responsibility and honour Derrick takes seriously. Starting out prior to the turn of the century working with people at the retiring stage, he’s helped families with estate planning for their second and now third generation. “I’m now working with the grandkids from my original clients and they’re even starting to have kids. We’re into three and moving into four generations of helping families,” he says.
With that, he takes pride in not only helping people achieve financial health, but overall wellbeing. “Doctors are always working to keep us healthy but as we all know, everyone gets older, and unfortunately we all pass away eventually,” says Derrick. “As Advisors, we take that deep dive on our client’s behalf into creating the best plans and strategies for them. We ensure their assets, businesses, and investments can pass efficiently into their next generation. We can do so much good and preserve their life’s work through estate planning, gifting, setting up a foundation, and charitable giving. There’s an incredible amount of good that comes back from all this work. That’s an extremely rewarding achievement we take pride in. I’ve always taken away great inspiration from this realization.”
It’s service Derrick looks forward to providing for decades to come. “I feel youthful in my exuberance, and I see myself being around for quite a while,” he says. “I have a thorough knowledge of my clients. I’m very familiar with what they need today and what they may need tomorrow. I can tailor everything we do towards their unique situations.”
While Derrick has come a long way and continues to look forward, everything circles back to his youth. “I remember vividly today, being downtown in Sudbury with my mother when I was really young. I saw this board with numbers scrolling across and it was really interesting to me. I found out much later this was the share price and stock ticker they used to have outside brokerages. I always found that fascinating,” says Derrick. “My parents passed on their knack for saving and investing. In my early career as a local paper boy, I put aside some bucks to save for the future too. This, along with my natural interest in capital and investment markets, ultimately led me through my education and experience to where I am to today.”
And it’s exactly where Derrick loves to be. “I get to meet with fascinating people every day – clients, referrals, new clients coming in. Maybe I’m meeting with a medical doctor, a specialist, someone who runs a business employing 1,000 people. I can glean a lot of knowledge off each of them,” says Derrick. “It’s that interaction that I very much look forward to on a day-to-day basis. I learn something new each day and sometimes that happens tenfold depending on who I’m talking to. It helps me become a better-rounded advisor and also a better-rounded person.”
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.
Derrick S. Black (Hon.) B. COMM., PFP, IMT
Senior Investment Advisor
2009 Long Lake Road, Suite 407,
Sudbury, Ontario P3E 6C3